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The Power of Analytics in Driving Change: Five Tips to Get Started

by Tashira Bommer and Josh Kuhlman

Leaders often ask, “How do I know my efforts to drive adoption are working?” The short answer is, you get what you measure. The longer answer is monitoring change readiness and measuring its impact in a structured, purposeful manner will help you:

  • Better understand workforce readiness and where to take action
  • Allocate resources to areas that will deliver the biggest return on investment
  • Identify potential challenges earlier to make mid-course corrections

Data collection is a key part of successful change management. From pulse surveys to change impact and stakeholder assessments, strong change management relies on information to inform decisions. It also contributes to a change management strategy that fits the organizational culture and specific project. Information collected is used to understand the people, reactions, attitudes, motivators, resistance, potential barriers, and influencers that will contribute to or impede successful transformation. Through information gathering, organization leaders can frame the complexity, size, scope, impact, and considerations of the project in context of the culture.

While survey and assessment data is important to create the initial change strategy, leaders often underestimate the impact of change on people and seldom capture and analyze information they can use to lead the change. Imagine knowing based on data that a specific group is not supportive of a change and therefore at higher risk of attrition. Imagine being able to see the trend of support increase overtime. Or being able to look at numerous changes impacting a specific group in context of change saturation and being able to time new initiatives, so they are less disruptive.

Many leaders are embracing the power of a data-driven culture, and tools like Tableau, to make decisions about change management tactics. Being able to measure how different parts of your organization handle change, adopt to change, and what levers of strategy are most effective allows you to provide better support to individuals navigating change and make meaningful adjustments to the change strategy. Measuring change impact and being able to respond to business and individual needs drives the results you expect to achieve through the project implementation. Integrating change analytics into your program can feel daunting but the insights delivered through data are empowering. Here’s how you can get started so you can realize the power of your data.

Identify Success Metrics and Measurement Early

Determining how you are going to measure change early in your transformation is crucial to success. This allows you to build a baseline that you can then measure against. It helps to get insights as to how you are progressing and what adjustments you may need to make to your strategy, sooner. While you can start measuring change at any point within your project, the earlier you do so, can save time, money, and frustration in the long run.

Ensure Your Data collection Plan Spans the Life of the Project

Outline a plan early in the project to include continual measurement throughout the project lifecycle and at least 90 days post go-live. Organizational change does not happen in a linear progression. One group that might be doing great with the change last quarter, may struggle this quarter. Having a data collection plan that spans the life of the project and at regular intervals will ensure that you have consistent visibility throughout your transformational journey. Aligning a plan to share the results on a regular cadence with leaders and stakeholders can foster conversation on the role that various groups play and how they can support change adoption.

Think Beyond Surveys to Leverage Various Data Sources

Surveys are a great starting point for your change analytics program, but they are just that, a starting point. While surveys allow you to get a glimpse into what people are thinking, thoughts and words can differ from an individual's actions. Think about ways that you can leverage analytics to measure the actions you want to see as part of change and incorporate that into your measurement plan to ensure that you are painting a well-rounded story. This can include adoption measurements of a new tool, communication open rates, and training completions, and other analytics.

Leverage Leaders to Drive Data Collection and Supplement Data

Leaders, whether formal or informal, can help support your change analytics approach in several ways. One challenge many organizations face is low survey completion rates. Low completion rates lead to a lack of insights which limits the ability to make informed decisions. Leverage leaders to drive completion of surveys and to help remove barriers that make it easier for employees to participate. Additionally, seek opportunities to have a two-way dialog and collect feedback on the program that supplements what you are capturing with qualitative insights.

Measure Change Even After the Project Has Closed

Organizations change for a reason and the change management effort is not finished when the project closes. If anything, your change management effort begins in earnest at go live. Measuring change after your project is complete helps to support sustained adoption. Ensure that your data collection plan includes multiple intervals past the official go-live date. Additionally, just because you meet your target agreeability on a set of survey questions or see good adoption levels of a new digital solution, it does not mean that there is no need for continued measurement. Measuring data points after targets have been achieved allows you to sustain change and adjust where needed.

Transformation is inherently complex. Leveraging change analytics can provide the insights needed to navigate new ways of working and to achieve intended outcomes.

Is your organization in the middle of a transformation or about to embark on a change initiative? Want to discuss how you can incorporate analytics to drive insight, understanding, and better decision-making? Reach out for examples of how our clients have used data and analytics to drive project success through people readiness and change management strategies.