In any change management project, providing employees with on-site support translates into a significant ROI in terms of revenue and employee commitment
Over the course of a mandate to implement a business solution on behalf of a leading financial company, I came to appreciate the extensive advantages of leading a mobile support team. I’m talking about empathetic consultants who guided managers and employees in the field during a multiple-site deployment. Aside from being guides who provided training on new tools and processes, these experts served as catalysts to accelerate adaptation to change.
The new business solution involved making major changes to work organization, roles, and responsibilities, as well as a major shift in attitude, behaviour, and ways of doing things. All of these changes had a profond impact not only on each resource, but on the entire organization as well.
The ultimate project objective was to free up time for a category of employees working in various sites so that they could focus on business development and thus increase corporate revenue. The solution was implemented over an intense three-week period under the full-time guidance of a dedicated mobile support team.
Our mobile team applies continuous improvement principles with each deployment to a new site.
Over the three-week period, employees’ state of mind evolved as follows:
Week 1: Distress and some tears following the introduction of the first phases of the business solution.
Week 2: Awareness of the real impacts of their work on their colleagues and organization; signs of some resistance along with questions revealing a genuine interest in the solution.
Week 3: Employees refined their questions, seemed to better adapt to the change, and some even spoke of ways to improve the solution.
During the deployment of the network service points across the multiple sites, the state of mind of site employees evolved similarly, giving the mobile team a hands-on learning experience.
Here are two key factors for a successful deployment.
Understanding how the state of mind of employees evolved during deployment, the project management team, together with the consulting mobile team, concluded that a successful deployment depended on the following two key factors:
- Showing employees the quick progress of their situation by providing them with weekly (or more often, as necessary) tangible results following the daily deployment measures put forward by the consulting mobile team
- Being more concerned about the human aspects rather than the technical aspects.
As managers, do you prefer managing change in the field or in a conference room?
Employees who resist, who are scared, who resist because they are scared, don’t learn. Their insecurities must be addressed before they can acquire new knowledge.
Be aware that your employees aren’t really interested in spending three hours in a conference room, in hearing about all kinds of details about a change that they haven’t yet embraced. It’s quite a challenge, especially when considering that the change may well affect them personally. Be also aware that, once deployment begins, they may have forgotten most of the information.
Daily 45-60 minute, one-on-one meetings with a trained consultant was an effective means to help employees quickly adapt to this intensive change period. Sound advice and tips, as well as a gradual and structured approach to training over a three-week period, proved to be a winning combination for all involved.
Support from their manager and a dedicated team who understood them was infinitely more reassuring for employees than a PowerPoint presentation and the distribution of a 100-page “Technical Guide for Employees” about the business solution.
As well, employees’ understanding of the impact of their contribution to the collective effort was a crucial and motivating factor to successfully bring about the change. With ongoing support in their workplace, all employees could quickly step up to their assigned role. The proposed solution was eminently successful.
Enlisting the input of a mobile team to deploy change entails more intense and sustained activity, but the ROI makes it worth the effort.
During this three-week mandate, we were able to more than double the number of client meetings through improved work organization to free up time, thus generating substantially more revenue without increasing the number of employees.
Without hesitation, I can say that our dedicated mobile team proved to be a profitable investment for our client.
This may be something worth considering for your next change project involving multiple sites.