Managing change inside your enterprise can be challenging. Organizational change management (OCM) can be part of that problem by becoming business prevention. Organizations going through digital transformation need to put their business users first—unfiltered by an OCM team and processes—to ensure they are moving ahead to improve their operations. Here’s how to make that happen.
Recognize OCM as Potential Business Prevention
OCM teams and processes aren’t necessarily bad, but sometimes they aren’t good for your organization. Even the most well-meaning OCM professionals can become an additional filter between your IT department and business users during a digital transformation. For example, while OCM is expertise unto itself (or so I’ve been told), OCM professionals aren’t experts in your industry and don’t possess the tribal knowledge of your long-time business users.
Please take a minute to listen to your business users about their experience with OCM during their career. If their experience has anything in common with what I’ve experienced and heard personally, they’ll talk about how the OCM team was detached from the business. Activities such as engagement surveys and focus groups are easy to ignore for business users who have a job to do serving customers.
Muster Your User Community
Sidelining your OCM team and its traditional OCM practices isn’t possible without summoning your user community to action. Find the right allies—the mid-level managers, project leads, and power users who’ve had issues in the past with traditional OCM. The trick here is to not just let the complaints and insights idle. Instead, you need to figure out how to best integrate these people into your change activities. Here are some steps to rally your user community:
- Identify business users with the skill sets you need.
- Get management sponsorship that enables your change efforts to tap into the talents of the people.
- Get a budget to pay for those people’s time, and develop a project plan.
- Assign those people to projects that match their skill sets.
- Communicate internally about the progress of your change efforts.
In the end, you need more than buy-in from your user community. You need their time—and the budget to pay for it—to put users first in your transformation efforts.
Elevate Users in the Change Discussion
Looking at the future of digital transformation provides ample opportunities to elevate business users in the change discussion, giving you better insights into your users and helping you manage change. Here are some examples:
- Embed software developers directly in business units.
- Implement low-code/no-code software development tools (and training in their use) for your business units.
- Use solution architects to work internal digital transformation projects where business users get direct access to technical expertise without having to work through an intermediary group.
Notice that each of these examples places the business user a step closer to the act of change—no focus groups, employee engagement surveys, endless brainstorming sessions, or lengthy fact-finding expeditions.
Rethink Internal Content Development
When it comes to putting users before traditional OCM teams and practices, renew an emphasis on content development inside your enterprise. Put your internal communications team, service desk team, and technical writers to work creating stories and other content that support your change efforts. Here are some examples of how this could work:
- Marketing and internal communications staff provide intranet and chat content support communicating about changes and innovation.
- Technical writers create job aids and other just-in-time documentation for more technical audiences.
- Marketing creates internal presentations and videos to communicate significant milestones of your change efforts.
Find True North with Your User Community
This article isn’t about throwing OCM out the door; rather, it’s about putting your business users on the front lines of digital transformation and reducing the bureaucracy that comes with that transformation. When you involve your business user community in your change efforts at a deeper level, you have additional insurance that your efforts are on target.