Effective change management always includes reinforcement, but projects often overlook this step, even though it is critical to the long-term success of a change. In reality, your entire change management plan should include reinforcing efforts from the very beginning.
The Communication Plan, Sponsor Roadmap and Coaching Plan all directly influence reinforcement at the individual level. The daily work you do with sponsors and managers reinforces messages about why the change is happening, how it impacts employees, and why the change is important. The integration with your project team to understand where the project is, what milestones are coming, and how the project is evolving provides you with opportunities to continually reinforce the value of change management and focus on how projects impact your people.
Implementing corrective actions and celebrating success
Let’s talk about the first stage of reinforcing change, collecting and analyzing feedback. Its three steps are:
Listening to employees and gather feedback
Auditing compliance with new processes, systems and job roles
Analyzing the effectiveness of your change management activities
1. Listening to Employees
It's important to follow up with employees to understand how the change is working. Many teams fall into the trap of completing their change management checklist without listening to what employees have to say. The feedback you gather will be helpful in developing corrective actions and post-implementation change management activities.
You can gather feedback in many ways. Prosci's employee feedback template is based on the ADKAR Model, and includes targeted questions that reveal key insights about how employees view change.
2. Auditing Compliance
Changes are successful when they are fully implemented and the organization embraces them. Auditing performance ensures that the change is taking place and the business is realizing full benefits from the new improvement.
The way you audit compliance is specific to the change you introduce. The project team can define what these new processes, systems and roles look like and specify the key metrics to measure after implementation. Methods for measuring compliance include:
How often employees still use "the old way of doing things"
3. Analyzing Effectiveness
Simply conducting change management activities is not enough. You must evaluate the results of these activities, diagnose gaps, and implement corrective action. When asked what criteria they use to measure change management effectiveness on projects, participants in a recent Prosci research study listed:
Overall project performance
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Remember to track metrics before the launch and at key milestones throughout the project, as well as at the end of its lifecycle. For additional information about how to reinforce change and measure your change management efforts, explore the Best Practices in Change Management research report. The research includes the latest methods, data sources and timing for measuring results and reinforcing change.
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.