A toolkit for people change

| 1 October 2019

Gemma Lee, Head of Transformation at Konica Minolta, explains how a people-centric change management strategy rewards first movers and some superfast followers.

In this era of rapid and relentless digital transformation, every company is becoming a software company. Banks, retailers, airlines, telcos and more all have software at the heart of their business to become more agile, innovate and grow.

Your people need to be at the centre of this change. Employee engagement is the key to building the commitment and ownership that connects people’s daily work to your digital transformation strategy. Now is the time to involve your people in building the future employee experience, shaping your vision, and enabling them to be inspired by seeing the opportunities ahead. 

A people-centric change strategy isn’t an option – it’s a business imperative. According to Forbes, 84% of digital transformation strategies fail because the organisation’s people are not prepared to change their behaviour. They see change as a threat to their future; they resent it and will potentially act against it.

It is perhaps unsurprising then that change management came out as the top challenge for HR in People Management’s ‘The Challenges and Opportunities Facing HR in 2017‘ research report, with 39% of respondents citing it among their top three standout challenges in 2017.

Automation is a key influencer of change. The global market for robotic process automation (RPA) software and services is expected to grow to $1.2 billion by 2021. The move beyond basic automation using RPA to intelligent automation, incorporating AI and cognitive capabilities, is dependent on developing ways for people and robots to interact. 

This will require organisations to rethink the roles their human workforce performs as they evolve to focus on more value-add activities. Up to now, this is something many companies haven’t even started thinking about. A recent study by HfS Research found that only 44% of enterprise leaders have definitive plans to retrain staff impacted by their current automation investments.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Change management tools can be used to aid your thinking and digital strategy planning to maximise success. A well-planned communications plan will prepare the people impacted by change

and ensure the change is achieved with minimal business disruption and risk to your risk.

This toolkit can help you create people-centric change:

1. Ensure the business joins your journey

All change should be aligned to your business transformation vision and achieving the end state. Benefits should be measurable, tracked and shared in order to determine success.

2. Keep stakeholders abreast of change

Assess who your stakeholders are and identify those impacted by the success of your change – including customers. Apply a ‘traffic light’ system to help determine what level of communication is required – red is face-to-face, green is infrequent. And create a communication plan to ensure you influence all stakeholders internal and external.

3. Make certain the change is sustainable 

Understand what is changing and the readiness, willingness and ability of your people to adopt new ways of working. Ask yourself and other key stakeholders the impact questions to determine what is changing.

4. Say it again and again

Create a communication strategy to ensure everyone is well informed about and involved in the change. You can never do enough communication! At an internal level, drive buy-in and commitment by informing and involving colleagues at all levels the right way and at the right time – via the most effective channels. Externally, build customer commitment to changes involving them at the right time at the right time – again through the appropriate channel.

Digital transformation rewards first movers and some superfast followers. A people-centric change management strategy will bring your people with you on the change journey, ultimately enabling your business to pivot at speed and grow faster. 


Gemma Lee

Head of Transformation, Konica Minolta

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