The people who have used change management ROI (CMROI) to make the case for change management are achieving results. Today, we share how they are using the CMROI framework to bring validity to not only change management but their own roles as well.

Not sure how to calculate the contribution your change management efforts bring to a project? Read this Calculation Guide, or trial the CMROI Calculator, a cloud-based tool that makes uncovering this number simple and easy.

Get a Seat at the Executive Table

Because of their limited time, it is critical to make a high impact in conversations with executives. This is where the CMROI calculation comes in handy: it provides a clear framework for a conversation, is interactive, and frames change management in a language that resonates with executives by focusing on organizational performance and ROI.

So how do you leverage the calculation with these business leaders? One project leader told us that she explained the framework to her executive sponsor and then let him type in the inputs of the CMROI Calculator. It was a succinct, effective way to have the conversation. After that interaction, the sponsor required a weekly meeting to discuss change management strategy and measure progress.

Get a Seat at the Project Table

There are times when change management is viewed as an extra expense that will slow projects down. This perception of change management is what can cause change management to be “LIFO’d”  (last in, first out). To prevent this, use the CMROI calculation with project leaders to first dig into the objectives of their projects, starting the conversation with what they care about, not what you are bringing as a change practitioner.

By asking project teams to describe their project’s objectives clearly, including any key performance indicators they are responsible for achieving, you have put the conversation into their terms. Only once you’ve framed the conversation in terms of project objectives should you then ask the question “How dependent is achieving each of these objectives on people adoption and usage?”

By connecting people adoption and usage to meeting the project’s objectives, you can then more easily make the case for how change management, which drives adoption and usage, is a critical part of the project plan. It will be now seen as essential, not extraneous.

To Get Funding for Change Management Training

A U.S.-based healthcare organization used the CMROI calculation to evaluate their Electronic Healthcare Records project. The multi-year, multi-million dollar project did not have any change management resources or funding as a part of the plan. The Organization Development Department of this company was able to walk the project’s leaders and sponsors through the CMROI calculation. By defining the primary objectives of the project and demonstrating that most of them were very highly dependent on people adoption and usage, the OD group was able to obtain funding for change management training for change practitioners on the project.

The CMROI Calculator

Calculate the people-dependent ROI for an unlimited number of projects and quantify the need for change management with the CMROI Calculator, a cloud-based tool that allows you to easily walk through the ROI calculation process.

“The CMROI Calculator is a valuable tool. It re-frames the conversation around the ‘people dependence’ of project benefits in a way that is visual and compelling. As a result, change management funding decisions can be tied directly to benefit realization at the scale appropriate for the change initiative.” – Karen Strong, Managing Director, Change Management Practice Lead, Gimmal

To Sell Change Management to Clients

If you are selling change management to your clients, putting project benefits first can be pivotal in providing an “aha” moment that no other sales pitch could achieve. Walk your clients through the CMROI calculation for a project and watch how quickly they will see the value you bring with change management application.

“The CMROI Calculator helps us make tangible for our customers why change management is important and what the return on investment is for change management. When selling change management, it helps a lot to make this ROI clear for sponsors and executives. And when we are selling change management, this tool helps show customers that we will produce financial results, not only human changes.” –Pedro Barbosa, Project Director, People Change


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Written by
Tim Creasey
Tim Creasey

Tim Creasey is Prosci’s Chief Innovation Officer and a globally recognized leader in change management. His work forms the foundation of the largest body of knowledge in the world on managing the people side of change to deliver organizational results.