In an age where business is constantly evolving, change has become the new normal. The chances are, your organisation is going through or preparing for some sort of transformation right now.
Driven by technologies and by the way people live, work and consume globally, organisations face constant re-evaluation just to keep pace.
Those that successfully reach the other side will do so because they’ve taken their people with them. In a report by McKinsey into the impact of people on transformation, this statistic stands out:
“Among respondents whose companies’ transformations failed to engage line managers and frontline employees, only 3% report success”.
Business success means evolving
So, what do we mean by transformation? It could be anything, from digital transformation or business rebranding to organisational restructuring or culture change. Or it could be a response to a specific business challenge, such as rising customer expectations, increased competition, tougher regulation and higher scrutiny of corporate social responsibility.
Most business analysts and futurists agree that those unwilling or unable to continuously monitor strategy and transform accordingly, will struggle to survive.
On the other hand, companies that manage change well will reap the benefits. In the case of digital transformation, research indicates that digital reinventors are seeing higher earnings than those lagging behind. They’re also equipping their organisations for continued success by building agility into their business models – models that can anticipate and be ready for future change.
People are the power behind transformation
There are three big truths about organisation change: it isn’t easy, it never really ends, and it can be unsettling for the workforce.
According to KPMG, more than half of organisations who’ve undergone transformation have failed to achieve their desired business goals. One of the major reasons for this failure rate is that they have not adopted a holistic approach that puts people at the heart of the transformation process.
Whatever the transformation, for it to succeed, everyone – and we mean everyone – must be supported with a sustainable programme that allows the workforce to adapt through the change. There are five essential parts to this.
1: Communication – Change success relies on people recognising their roles and responsibilities, knowing where they’re heading and understanding the benefits.
2: Culture – A positive attitude across the business is needed during transformation too, which is where company culture fits in.
3: Upskill – Employees at all levels are likely to need new or different skills, while enhancing leadership skills is also a key priority. Managing talent is essential and the training must involve everyone.
4: Meaningful – For multiple location or global businesses, transformation must make sense across regions, cultures and territories, so translation and localisation of learning campaigns is needed for organisational impact.
5: Continuous – Transformation is not about a quick win, it’s about ongoing change that requires continuous learning to reinforce knowledge and improve skills over time.
Empowering everyone – here’s how
Like so much in learning, a single approach to change management isn’t enough. Businesses should customise training to meet the differing needs of their workforce, from senior managers to frontline teams. Take these examples of two of the best-known global brands as inspiration.
With GlaxoSmithKline, Sponge created a learning programme that combined immersive simulation and face-to-face experiences to upskill and inspire staff at locations around the world. And the ultimate global brand, Coca Cola, used our bespoke gamification learning to instil brand information and values across thousands of employees at the company’s Coca Cola European Partners.
The key to the success of all learning programmes during transformation is ongoing support. If your organisation is on a journey, don’t leave your people behind. Take them with you by ensuring everyone has the same opportunities to understand, upskill, improve and evolve their knowledge. So that they can all thrive through change.