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February 6, 2023 – Duration 00:25:38
Your customer experience (CX) is evolving. Maybe you’re moving to the cloud, incorporating an employee experience solution or going big on artificial intelligence (AI)-powered self-service. Whatever move you’re making, you anticipate significant benefits. But does everyone in your organization see it that way? And how can you get them all on board? Jodi Thompson, Business Consulting Director at Genesys, lays out a clear and compelling case for making change management an integral part of your CX evolution strategy. Generate support, overcome institutional inertia and accelerate both implementation and adoption. Plus, you’ll learn why resistance to your plan is a gift you shouldn’t ignore.
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Business Consulting Director
Jodi Thompson joined Genesys in 2006 as a strategic business consultant, supporting strategic accounts in North America, Ireland and the UK. She advises government agencies and other public sector organizations on creating directional roadmaps to refine and achieve their vision in a dynamic customer experiencer (CX) and workforce landscape. With decades of work for contact centers, she has built deep expertise in solving unstructured problems so that clients don’t replicate existing inefficiencies going forward. By sharing her knowledge of best practices, Jodi helps clients understand why they’re in their current situations and how to get going on the best path forward. Jodi is a Certified Prosci Change Practitioner.
Here are conversation highlights from this episode, edited and condensed. Go to the timestamps in the recording for the full comments.
Jodi Thompson (01:41):
I’m with the strategic business consulting team and one of the things I’m really interested is understanding change management and educating Genesys and our clients and prospects on its value and how it’s often overlooked when introducing something new to an organization.
Jodi Thompson (02:14):
There are many definitions for change management because there isn’t just one methodology. But one of the first things I share with people is change management is not the same as project management. Project management is about on time, on budget and having a finish line, whereas change management focuses on individuals, groups, teams and an organization and getting them to adopt and embrace something new, something different, and letting go of the status quo.
Jodi Thompson (02:54):
Studies from different researchers have shown that when organizations communicate about change early and often as part of the program of introducing something new, they’re six time more likely to have success — meaning that employees have embraced and adopted the new change versus having to go back and address resistance to change or individuals that are regressing back to, “This is the way we always used to do it.”
Jodi Thompson (03:55):
It’s hard for some organizations because it is about people versus a product. And when you’re focusing on people, the number one thing they’re always going to ask is, “What’s in it for me?” — also known as WIIFM. They’re also comfortable and familiar with, “This is how I’ve always done it. I’m very proficient in how I do it this way.”
If you haven’t as an organization expressed the why — “This is why we’re changing” — the value and the benefit and given a clear vision of what the future will look like, there’s really no reason for people to become invested in doing something new and different.
So, as you’re bringing along your project plan, you need to ensure that you’re bringing along the people, reinforcing what’s in it for you, your team, your organization, answering why and articulating what the vision is of this future.
Jodi Thompson (05:05):
You need buy-in from everybody down to the frontline person interacting with the customers to your technical department that maybe has to do things differently. You need to make everyone aware that change is coming, reinforcing that this is the new way of doing things. And you need change agents.
Those change agents can be anyone in the organization who are the champions, the ones out there communicating, “This is the why we’re changing” and advocating the benefits and advocating that we don’t expect change to happen overnight.
Although an implementation might be an end state or a finish line, doing a process differently does take time. The value of change management is closing that gap because people need to acclimate to the new way of doing things.
Jodi Thompson (06:25):
They’re very important to it. But the key point is making sure the executive sponsorship is walking the walk and talking the talk, that they’re active and visible to everybody and communicating about, “This is the investment we’ve made, this is why we’re changing, and I’m committed as the executive sponsorship of this change — and I’m going be along for the ride with you.”
Jodi Thompson (07:00):
Too often it’s about overcommunicating and getting everyone to training on the new way things are done. But you need to take a step back and start to understand the possible areas of resistance to change. And I believe we should embrace resistance. There’s something of value to individuals saying the new software doesn’t address something that’s important to them.
Maybe they don’t have the desire yet to change, even if they said they’ll change. And that’s where the change advocates come into play. And when you start looking at why are people resisting, it might be, for example, that change is moving too fast, and maybe it needs to be slowed down a bit.
When you start looking at the factors of the resistance to change, it opens your eye as to what you’ve overlooked in making this new investment, including and what is the good you want to want to carry over and what are the successes that you’ve had that you want to make sure are accounted for.
View resistance as checks and balances to make sure you’re moving forward, building on your success and not losing something that’s important to you or your customers.
Jodi Thompson (09:11):
If you’re not addressing why there’s resistance to the change, there are outcomes that might not be expected. Such as, you may find that the project has unexpected delays because of the resistance. There may be an increase in indifference. You may see people feeling uncertainty about their job. If they’re unsure as to why you’re changing and what’s in it for me, they’ll keep asking the same question. You may see an increase in reluctance to actively participate in the change and potentially could have a drop in employee satisfaction.
You have to consider the culture you’re in. Are you dealing with change fatigue?
When you start looking at why you should implement change management, it’s to mitigate some of these negative responses. If you haven’t brought change management along with the project management, people are caught off guard.
And always come back to “what’s in it for me” because all it takes is one person that is maybe the saboteur. Often, if you speak with that individual, you’ll find out that there’s something important to them and they felt as though it hasn’t been acknowledged or addressed. Maybe something that’s been overlooked in the overall process.
I go back to “embrace resistors” because those people are extremely passionate about what’s going on.
And remember, if you’re changing things internally, you’re changing it for your customer, as well. So, it’s important to always keep pace with the change that’s being introduced, making sure there’s ample time for people to adopt the change. That might be three days, three weeks, three months or even longer. But it doesn’t happen overnight.
And if you have new KPIs, you have to give people time to adjust to that, as well as make sure they understand what, if any, metrics no longer are applicable.
Jodi Thompson (12:49):
I’m a big fan of having a dedicated a change management team. It’s a wonderful skillset for any organization to have.
I do want to advocate that there is no one single methodology to follow. There are different methodologies out there. Each organization needs to decide which methodology is right for them or come up with their own approach to it.
And then you start having those change management practitioners, whose job is to advocate for the individual, group and customer while working in conjunction with the project plan and making sure that as you introduce something new, it’s being embraced. They can help keep all the different roles and activities in line with each other as to the change and ensure everyone is working in tandem.
Jodi Thompson (17:56):
That’s a tricky one. Unlike a project plan, where you’re looking at “on time and on budget” and key milestones and due dates, when you’re looking at change management, you’re looking at how long will it take for adoption of a new process or practice to become fully integrated.
You have to look at your metrics and question if they’re still relevant. You might have been transactional — “I completed X number of pieces of work.” But now with all these new proficiencies and new enhancing technology, you’re focused on how you resolve a customer’s issue and spend the time with them that’s needed.
It really is about the culture, but I do not advocate that it would be an overnight change of metrics. The leadership needs to provide a good timeframe to make the transition. Consider how long it takes for adoption, look for the leaders and the laggards and what works and what doesn’t, and how to get everybody to embrace the new way of doing things.
Jodi Thompson (20:35):
That type of frequency of updates and change is why it’s important to have a change management team that you’re always going back to. They’re continually reassessing how ready the organization is to consume the next innovation. Change should always be viewed as ongoing.