Sean: “I have supervised many transformation projects at mateco. Because we bought a number of domestic and overseas companies a few years ago, we underwent an international increase in scale. The challenge was to get all these companies on board with the digital transformation. Our approach was to align for 85% to the business group and give 15% local freedom.”
How do you bring people with you?
“We did not want to force the local Country Managers to switch to the central processes. Across the countries involved, we wanted to appoint a number of Business Process Managers at corporate level. Ideally, we wanted to bring these people in from the sector because they are familiar with the best practices and would be able to convince the local Country Managers and the users of theapplications. But in reality? We couldn’t find anyone from the business. So we assigned project managers to those places. They lacked the finer points of a planner or a technician and had a hard time talking to someone who is used to the day-to-day work. They encountered resistance and we wanted to do something about that.”
“We did have a change manager, but if your idea is that ‘our change manager is going to solve it, I don’t have to do anything else’, you won’t get there. The change must come from within, from each one of us. With the then CIO, we started looking for a course that would provide an answer to this. That is how we ended up with Prosci and Erik from The people side of Change, because Prosci is one of the most proven models. You will be given a toolkit that you can use. It is very comprehensive, without having to use all of it. As the conversation progresses – are you experiencing a lot of resistance, little resistance – you can decide which tool to use in order to get the person across the table to join you.”
ADKAR as guide
Sean: “One of the tools I regularly use is ADKAR, one of the most successful change models because it is so widely applicable.” ADKAR stands for:
- Awareness: Why is this change necessary for the company?
- Desire: What is in it for the employee? You can do it in such a way that they look forward to it.
- Knowledge: What is going to happen?
- Ability: This is about new competences and training so that everyone is capable.
- Reinforcement: Applying the change permanently. This requires regular supervision: is everything still
- okay? You cannot simply implement the change and be done with it. It is all about monitoring your KPIs: is the use of the new tools proceeding as planned?
- What’s in it for me
According to Sean, the company’s goals of ‘being ready for the future’ and ‘being ahead of the competition’ are not enough to excite employees. “As a member of staff, you want to know ‘what’s in it for me?’ Will this entail extra work or in fact less work? The D of desire is too easily ignored in change processes where in fact I think it is very important. One example: AI allows us to automatically read emails, reducing the amount of work for our people, and freeing up time for targeted communication with customers. That is a big step forward. Things like that are best explained, otherwise people think you’re taking away their jobs.”
“We are now three to four years later and have successfully rolled out our platform in five countries. ADKAR has certainly contributed to this,” continued Sean. “All member of staff who are partly responsible for the roll-outs have come to realize that the change is in each one of us. Talking to people pays off. That is how we started managing resistance. Another example: in the past, truck drivers had to do a lot of paperwork, while now everything can be arranged via their smartphones. That was quite a change, not easy for people from the Czech Republic or Poland close to retirement. Change is not easy, we know. But they can also benefit from going digital: the schedule in their smartphone is always up to date, we can call them or send them a text message if something changes and there is no more need for papers to be signed.”
For every type and size of company
Sean: “We are a multinational organization, and at the same time a conglomerate of companies, larger, smaller, central, decentralized. The Prosci methods are very scalable, that is true. On a large scale, you can take surveys. I’m happy to leave that to the change manager! If anything comes out of that, in-depth interviews on a smaller scale really pay off. Personally, I’m a fan of the latter. I want to sit down with people, talk to them, feel what’s going on, even if it’s in Hungary. What does the person sitting across from me expect? How do we respond to that?
Understanding the why
“I started talking to employees even before I got to know ADKAR. Erik made this more concrete: I now understand why it works and is needed. This way, I can also convince other colleagues of this approach, supported by a cast-iron international model. Erik does that very well, he breathes change management, so I recommended the Prosci training to HR for new members of staff. Erik gave a three-day in-house training here. He focuses on your company and breaks it down to the specifics. You can present difficult cases and get an answer to everything.”
Two Key Learnings from Sean Hauge, Business Process Manager mateco
- Change does not come from the change manager alone, it is in all the people involved in the transformation.
- What makes people get out of bed? Change is not only about the company, but also about the person.
- Do not forget the person sitting across from you at the table.