As staffing agencies prepare for digital transformation and increasing automation in their processes, change management Is Imperative.
Every staffing professional knows that the best workforce programs as those designed to evolve. They also understand that we’re living and working in an increasingly digital world, where technology has transcended its role as a boon to become a necessity. Despite a bounty of tools that have flooded the marketplace over the past few years, staffing agencies and recruiters continue to rely on manual processes for imperative functions that could be automated—things like onboarding, vetting resumes for matches to job descriptions, interview scheduling, compliance documentation, and more. The reality facing the industry in 2020 is this: embrace machines and integrate tech into the organization or fade away. A full-scale digital transformation, however, doesn’t come without obstacles. So let’s talk about the ongoing importance of change management.
Speed Bumps on the Superhighway to Digital Transformation
Most companies, regardless of industry, have recognized the paradigm shift from people processes to digitally enabled people processes. Automation has undeniably enhanced the ways in which staffing firms, recruiters, and managed services providers (MSPs) tackle projects that have consistently grown in complexity and scope. Despite their progress in moving toward cloud-based platforms and electronic media, they still confront a host of persistent hurdles. “In fact,” noted SmartBrief, “81% of respondents in a recent Couchbase study reported seeing their digital transformation projects fizzle despite their best intentions.”
There are five primary challenges that companies must overcome, according to SmartBrief.
”Your employees might feel threatened or concerned about the organizational change and how it may affect their jobs,” wrote SmartBrief. Poor communication, lack of inclusion, low adoption, tenuous sponsorship, and the absence of transparency can lead to employee pushback and plummeting morale.
Without a clear strategy, uniform vision, alignment, and buy in from company leadership, transformation efforts may never see the light of day. Failing to consider the needs of customers, talent, and internal teams can degrade the experience while complicating the ease or effectiveness of the implementation.
Multitasking doesn’t work. Nearly every major psychological and neurological study undertaken on the topic has proven that the human brain simply isn’t wired to efficiently juggle a multitude of conflicting, incongruous, and simultaneous tasks. Cleveland Clinic doctors Cynthia Kubu, PhD, and Andre Machado, MD, summed up the dilemma well: “The neuroscience is clear: We are wired to be mono-taskers. One study found that just 2.5 percent of people are able to multitask effectively. And when the rest of us attempt to do two complex activities simultaneously, it is simply an illusion.”
It should then come as no surprise to implementation teams that assigning a part-time staff to the project, rather than dedicated resources, will compromise results. As SmartBrief explained:
If employees on the digital transformation team are splitting time between digital initiatives and their regular jobs, they’re likely to be less successful at both. Having a dedicated leader of the digital team is the most effective way to overcome this challenge, according to a Deloitte report titled “Thinking Big With Business Transformation.”
A Vision Too Bold
Almost as problematic as no vision is a vision too broad. If the transformation will affect several departments or is planned as an enterprise-wide initiative, a big bang implementation could dilute the outcome by attempting to solve too many, or unrelated, problems concurrently. “For example,” SmartBrief offered, “if your main aim is driving growth, you shouldn’t also be trying to reduce costs at the same time, and vice versa. If you need to drive growth and reduce costs, try to address the most pressing challenge first and then tackle the second afterward.”
Communication is vital to the success of the implementation. While they help to promote awareness, standard forms of information dissemination (e.g., emails, memos, and other written correspondence) generally won’t suffice. Personal gatherings that facilitate dialog and exchanges are vital to the process. Those include townhall style talks, roundtable discussions, stakeholder meetings, employee forums, conferences with vendors or other program participants, and trainings.
Transparency and Collaboration: Chaos into Clarity
One of the most important lessons we have learned is to avoid unnecessary pitfalls, thereby eliminating challenges that could become roadblocks. Seasoned leaders understand the importance of facilitating change across their client, employee, and contingent talent communities. They avoid working with poorly executed communications plans, and they involve key stakeholders or those who understand the business needs of the user community in every step.
Communications across all levels of the organization must be carried out in a manner that prevents disruption to the daily workflow. The most common obstacles to identify include:
Unclear roles and responsibilities
Hiring manager resistance to program participation
Delays in providing critical business data
Receiving incomplete data
Vendor or employee resistance to program participation
Scheduling conflicts with the client’s other strategic initiatives
A successful transition requires a thorough understanding of potential roadblocks, having resources who can execute thoughtfully, and forging a collaborative partnership with stakeholders to manage the project.
Benefits of Formal Change Management Processes
One of the biggest advantages change management brings is that it establishes a conceptual framework for people, processes, and the enterprise. It’s a support mechanism to help everyone understand the change, its effects, its benefits, and the reasons for embracing it.
When change is planned and managed, bolstered by collaboration and cooperation, its benefits are uncovered before the process even begins. This gives everyone the opportunity to explore and comprehend the change, motivating them to participate.
Change management helps align all the parties involved.
When change is formalized as a process, organizational leaders can respond faster to client requests. They can also better assess the overall impact of the change to anticipate and prevent obstacles.
Through proactive communication, cooperation, and collaboration, the change can be implemented without disrupting or degrading the daily operations of the existing program.
Organizational efficiencies can improve because the concerns of the stakeholders have already been acknowledged and incorporated into the plan before any actions are taken.
The time needed to introduce the change decreases substantially. More importantly, the potential for success soars.
Performance increases among all stakeholders because they feel supported and understand the process about to occur.
Preventative maintenance is inherent in change management: implementation leaders can easily anticipate challenges and respond to them promptly.
Formal planning decreases the risks associated with change.
From a financial perspective, change management helps contain costs upfront and increases the return on investment.
Change management is also a continuous improvement effort, allowing the company to develop new best practices, study lessons learned, launch leadership development initiatives, improve team performance, relationships across all groups in the program, and more.
Change Management Advantages to Individuals
Establishing a formal change management process supports a smooth transition from the familiar to the new, preserving morale, generating excitement, maintaining performance, and enhancing the image of the company. It also provides a wealth of benefits to employees and other stakeholders on an individual level.
Change management hides nothing. Its visibility brings support and understanding to individuals about their concerns with the change.
Change management lays the groundwork for effective, ongoing communications strategies.
A well-fashioned process promotes the ideal perception of the change to internal workers, contingent talent, and customers. In this manner, it greatly reduces any resistance to the change.
Including everyone in discussions of the change, as well as in the process itself, strengthens morale, cooperation, collaboration, communication, productivity and the quality of work.
Through a carefully planned and articulated approach to upcoming change, business leaders can mitigate stress and anxiety before the process begins, encouraging loyalty to the program and making individuals eager for the outcome.
Change management focuses on positive experiences. It emphasizes opportunities and progress rather than discord or unfamiliar aspects.
Creating a Change Management Plan
An effective process of observation, analysis, reporting, and execution defines a seamless change methodology. Here are some best practices for creating a change management methodology from a leading workforce consultancy.
Successful change management requires acceptance from all stakeholders.
People accept change better when peers provide leadership during the change. As part of the change management program, leaders should continually seek opportunities to involve relevant stakeholders and to transition ongoing activities to these professionals or teams.
Because change is individual as well as organizational in nature, leaders should take great care to ensure that all stakeholders transition smoothly through the phases of change: awareness, understanding, involvement, and ownership.
Design the sponsorship model
Conduct stakeholder impact analysis
Deliver training schedules
Critical Success Factors
Organizational buy-in, leadership support from clients and employees
Consistent, clear and timely communications
A formal change management process ensures that clients, staff, contingent workers and all other stakeholders understand and support the change. It’s the final building block that brings cooperation and collaboration together. And this support is what makes change possible, driving innovation, competitive advantages, progress, and new opportunities for growth.