The Enabling Technologies Blog


Christine Esterling / / Categories: Organizational Change Management

With Change Management - Timing Is Everything

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It’s not enough to simply assess the internal culture anymore, in an era where news, fact or fiction, is at our fingertips, in an instant, means greater challenges ahead for those managing change. It’s simply not enough to take a focused lens to managing a single change. Instead, organizations should look at both internal and external factors that can impact the success or failure of change management efforts.

For example, in a long-term partnership with one of our clients, we’ve worked on several projects to focus on the staff (or user) experience, ranging from Office 365 to Organizational Newsletters and everything in-between. A recent area of focus has been on managing a change introducing this organization to robotic process automation (RPA).

Managing resistance and acceptance of initiatives like RPA can be tough. Our approach to change management includes highlighting the ‘what’s in it for me’ or WIIFM benefits. There is an abundance of benefits for an organization such as:

  • Increased productivity, flexibility and reliability
  • Decreased cost/expense when compared to a human conducting the work

These are great benefits for any organization, but not necessarily the ‘sales’ pitch I’d encourage clients to use when introducing their staff to RPA. I encourage clients to take each of the above and transition the messaging to benefit the individual staff members, for example:

  • “RPA offers you (the human) an opportunity to offload repetitive and time-consuming tasks and focus on tasks or projects you’re more passionate about.”
  • “Have confidence in the reliability, accuracy and consistency of tasks that are automated.”
  • “Spend more time delivering results tied directly to organizational objectives or goals.”

These are all ‘wins’ for the employee, but when care is not taken to consider the employee point of view there can be significant risk. For example, one minor change to the verbiage can have detrimental impact:

  • “RPA allows you to focus on more valuable work.”

This comment can quickly send things spiraling out of control, a typical employee response might be:

  • Anger, sadness or frustration
    • Are you saying the work I do today is not valuable?
    • What more could I possibly do to add value?

Timing is Everything.

Additional considerations come from external sources, for example, in a recent MSN News article, Citi was highlighting the use of RPA and as a result announced the possibility of a headcount reduction of up to 50% of 20,000 IT jobs in the next five years.

Consider the impact of the above article spread virally over the next several days, with additional organizations releasing commentary or similar information as a result, while at the same time, your organization is ‘introducing employees to the benefits of RPA.’

As an employee it would be hard to recognize the benefits in the wake of news articles like this that explicitly call out the elimination of up to 50% of a single department with the use of RPA…Timing is Everything…In any customer partnership we are constantly considering impacts to the change and adoption of the change from all angles, including the external ones. Introducing employees to RPA within days of a news article like this can wreak havoc on adoption of the change and on morale associated with the change.

With information and news at our fingertips - faster than ever - we must consider external and internal factors in any change. To ensure our message lands with the desired impact, plans may need to be adjusted based on what we know now.

The beauty of Enabling's Change Management Methodology resides in its fluidity. Don’t get caught up in rigid timelines and linear process flows, but rather, focus on the freedom of adaptation and most of all, timing.

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