Technology is changing, the workforce demographics are changing as well as your customer demands – how do you keep up with it all?
Imagine this – you have a great idea, new technology that will improve productivity and sales. You and the leadership team have been planning this, you researched the best technology provider and even invested in consultants to help with integrating it into your current system and processes. Then….it happens….you find that 6 to 12 months down the road this great new idea is not turning into the silver bullet that you were sold. You are not getting the ROI you expected, employees are dissatisfied and most of your employees are using work-arounds instead of the new process.
Sound familiar? You are not alone. McKinsey estimates that 70 % of change programs fail to achieve their goals, in large part due to employee resistance.
One of my recent clients is a manufacturing company that was four years into implementing an ERP system that was not only having technical issues but employees were resisting in every department from sales, finance, IT, engineering and operations. There was resistance and frustration from the shop floor to the leadership team that was causing missed shipments, frustrated customers and excessive overtime. The main frustration for the executive team was that they were not getting the ROI they expected and they were faced with a decision about needing to upgrade the ERP system.
The CEO realized that the smaller problem they had was the technology and the bigger problem they had to solve was the engagement of the whole team to make the ERP work. The people side of the change needed improvement – and that is when they called me.
The first thing we did was start with the basics – asking how well all the employees impacted by this process (which was almost every employee) know WHY the change was made and the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?)? At first the leadership thought this was well understood but after surveys and focus groups were conducted we found that the message was not clear from the leadership team down to the shop floor. They had been offering lots of training and told them what they needed to do but training focuses on the WHAT and if your employees don’t understand the WHY and the WIIFM, it is often ignored.
This was a big surprise for the leadership team and we went to work on a plan. They created an elevator speech – a common way for everyone to talk about WHY this ERP system was needed, how it will help the company, the customers and all the employees. They created cross-functional teams who helped to design specific WIIFM statements for each group that helped them understand how their specific role in the process helped the overall organization and how it would help them be more productive, get more sales and/or eliminate last minute overtime requests.
They made it personal for each group. They shared how they were using the reports from the ERP and how important it was that there was a common approach to looking at the metrics – as well as talking about the negative impact of using the ‘old-way’ of doing things. They also found that although there had been training, there were changes made and new employees onboarding that were never trained so they created a standard approach to training and onboarding employees. Another great strategy added was weekly stand-up meetings where they shared the progress in full utilization of the ERP, asked for feedback of what was working and what wasn’t and took actions where there were gaps.
Three months after this we surveyed again and found a huge improvement in the awareness of WHY and WIIFM. Comments were positive and they were improving in all of their metrics. They continued to keep the weekly stand-up meetings to make sure they didn’t lose momentum and found that by keeping this a constant focus reinforced that this was important to the leadership team and the organization.
One of the key factors that made this successful is that the executive team was highly involved, vocal and LEADING this change in a very visible way. Leadership is critical and taking the time to make sure everyone understands the WHY before moving to HOW is a proven way to get alignment, engagement and full adoption of any change.
Jill will be presenting a Manufacturing Works webinar on March 21st at 11:00 a.m. to share techniques companies can use to help with change and communicate it in a way that engages and motivates. Jill will also be hosting a Workplace Coffee Talk Series and this topic aligns with that event - Today’s Successful Companies are AGILE: Creating A Competitive Advantage by Building a More Agile Organization. You can sign up here: https://agileculture.eventbrite.com - Use the code MFGWORKS for a $20 discount.
Jill Windelspecht, owner of Talent Specialists Consulting has spent over 20 years working with leaders at all levels, across multiple industries and countries helping them lead change, make better decisions, implement and create strategic plans that work, become better leaders, develop and motivate talent, and create environments where people and organizations thrive. Leveraging her Masters in NeuroLeadership and Organization Effectiveness she applies science to the workplace in a way that makes it easy to connect, influence and grow your business. If you would like to learn more about how you can improve your change efforts, reach out for a free consultation: https://bookme.name/TalentSpecialistsConsulting