Change management as a discipline has been known to mainly focus on the people side of change and as change managers, one of our challenges is being able to provide hard data as evidence for driving specific behaviours to align with the change. In this age of technology, where organisations depend on the internet and data science to help them make informed business decisions, we too as change managers need to see data science as not just a nice to have but a necessity to help inform our change management approach. As a result, the ability to analyse the data to provide our clients with concrete change intelligence, fact-based decision making on our change initiative and possibly change management ROI, becomes a critical skill for change managers.
This article will explore examples of key areas where data science can bring value to change management.
Communication strategies in change management is the first key area where data science can provide valuable insight informing the best communication approach for the target audience group. An appropriate example would be the use of Sway, an Office 365 application that allows you to create newsletters, presentation and any communication intended to drive key messages. This application provides detailed analytics such as how many readers opened the newsletter, how quickly the reader scrolled through the text, as well as how many readers interacted with the content to understand the material. The detailed analytics provided will even track how far readers got through the material. These granular analytics can be beneficial in giving us detailed insight on whether our communication approach e.g. monthly newsletter is really landing with the target audiences or if we should tweak the approach to ensure the message is landing.
To take it a step further, one could incorporate Waggl, a real-time employee feedback platform used to create ongoing conversations with stakeholders, drive high engagement and suggestions on the types of content and communication mediums that appeal to and land with your target audience, the type of content that would land with that particular audience (e.g. less newsletters and more infographic messaging etc.). The data extrapolated from Waggl can continuously provide insights to better understand stakeholders and make fact-based decisions in improving change initiatives.
The second key area is workshop engagement sessions. This is one of the more common methods change consultants use to drive key messages, desired behaviours, facilitate dialog around the current change and challenges being experienced. Sessions are typically ended off with feedback surveys (either manually or online survey platforms) to give a high-level report on the effectiveness of the workshop session. Although this can be a great way to engage your stakeholder, it doesn’t provide detailed data that can be used for fact-based decision making on the change initiatives.
Workshop engagement sessions are a great platform to incorporate digital tools such as Poll Everywhere to help gather meaningful data and get so much more from these sessions. Poll Everywhere is an audience response system and can be used to capture real-time responses. Change managers can leverage the use of Poll Everywhere strategically to gather data on focused areas by asking questions such as “Is the change being equally received across all business area in the organisations”, or questions around the effectiveness of communication campaigns and mediums etc., or even feedback on other change interventions leading up to the workshop. Gamification can be integrated into Poll Everywhere, which is a great way to keep your audience engaged. The analysed data can provide insights to better inform the next steps in your change management approach, taking the guesswork out or applying a one-size-fits-all approach that is not backed by data and may not be effective for that specific stakeholder group.
Although change management focuses on the people side of change and driving behaviours, it is important to incorporate data science, where possible through the available technology, to assist in gathering and analysing the right data. This will help inform our decisions for change initiatives, provide fact-based recommendations and provide insight that will inform and enable customised change strategies for organisations