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Sustaining Change: Ensuring Long-Term Results and Continuous Improvement

Once organizations have taken significant steps toward change, they must consider how to manage that change to the greatest effect.

It's a fact: many organizations don't give change management a second thought after their project goes live. After all, from leaders’ perspectives, the organization has reached the finish line after a series of short sprints; their new Salesforce framework is in place, and all else should be smooth sailing. 

In an ideal world, this would be the case. However, the reality is that once organizations have taken significant steps toward change (like solution implementation), they must then consider how to manage that change to the greatest effect. 

Any Salesforce consultant will tell you that while technology is a significant component of digitalization, transformation is a more all-encompassing initiative. The re-evaluation and refinement of processes and technology is a team effort, and leaders will need the support, investment, and feedback of employees and stakeholders to ensure long-term success. 

However, securing employee investment is a challenge in itself. 38% of employees see widespread organizational change as an inherent threat, with noted reasons for resistance including job security, a lack of recognition/reward, and a climate of cynicism and mistrust. This resistance to change is often cited as a significant reason why 70% of change initiatives fail. In contrast, research from McKinsey found that if employees are encouraged to invest in an organization’s change initiative, it is 30% more likely to be successful

To ensure long-term success and continuous improvement, organizations must prioritize change management. But as they attempt to define their organization’s strategy, leaders will wonder: what techniques have worked well for others? In this blog, we’ll outline some low-lift, high-payoff change management strategies (our “three G’s”) that we have utilized to help smooth adoption for our clients in the hope that we can provide the knowledge needed to advance yours. 

1: Gamification

A little bit of healthy competition can inspire employee investment. In a nutshell, gamification is the application of game-playing elements to encourage engagement and reach an objective. While suggesting that gamifying solution training will drive results may seem somewhat silly, various modern use cases suggest otherwise. 

Gamification: not just a fad

  • Research shows that gamification can increase student learning by up to 89% when compared to lecture-based learning
  • About 68% of students reported higher motivation to complete gamified courses
  • 82% of employees stated that gamification helps provide a greater sense of meaning and purpose in the workplace

Instead of having the employee passively absorb material via lecture-based learning videos, organizations can leverage gamified elements to encourage employees to participate in their learning actively. Elements such as levels, badges, and scoreboards inspire a bit of friendly competition within departments by highlighting top achievers, all while rewarding employees for the learning they’ve done – and encouraging them to go deeper. Gamification also helps break through a culture of cynicism, as it both adds an exciting sheen to the act of training and practically shows employees how newer systems will serve them better. 

2: Gifting

Whether the gift in question is a monetary bonus or company swag, gifting can be a good way to boost employee morale amid a change initiative. Gift-giving shows appreciation from management to employees and, when done correctly, can encourage employee re-investment in company goals. You don’t have to break the bank by any means; even something simple can help reinforce the idea that this type of change is exciting and that you appreciate (and encourage) employees’ contributions to the initiative. 

As such, the efficacy of gift-giving will largely depend on when and why you choose to do so. Here are a few key moments where we’ve found that giving gifts can push employees toward embracing change.

  • At the announcement of the change initiative
  • Rewarding individual accomplishments (re: gamification)
  • After each “phase” concludes
  • Recognizing team performance (group goals for learning/participation)

3: Gratitude

Recognition matters for the on-the-ground employee. An organizational pivot of such magnitude is bound to affect their day-to-day operations, and employees' efforts to adjust, learn the ropes of the new framework, and then maximize value must be continually recognized. Failure to do so demonstrates that leadership isn’t paying attention, which will naturally cause employees to reconsider their investment in the initiative (and maybe even regress to using older systems). 

To create a culture of recognition that inspires employee investment, try:

  • Shouting out top learners via Slack, or during Town Hall meetings
  • Creating a peer-to-peer recognition system
  • Awarding badges, trophies, and special perks to high achievers

Do you have a strategy to manage change?

To sum up, managing change is about letting each employee know they are seen and heard; and that their participation is not only welcome, but necessary to the success of the organizational pivot. By leveraging some of the low-lift, high-return strategies above, organizations can craft a framework where each employee recognizes the value of their contribution and is encouraged to drive change in their role. 

Interested in learning more about what a successful change management strategy looks like? Give us a call to speak with one of our consultants or visit our Change Management microsite! 

About the Author

Keisha Ruggs

Director, Change Management, Gerent

Keisha Ruggs is an accomplished “change whisperer” who specializes in helping people understand, engage, and adopt change in their day-to-day work activities. She loves to guide clients through these transitions with minimal resistance by encouraging leadership alignment, understanding organizational impacts, and developing appropriate interventions.

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