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Change Management: Results With and Without. A Case Study.

22 February 2022

Same change, same time, two different approaches, widely different outcomes.

author picture Article written by Nelly Tire and Vincent Piedboeuf

Nexum's case studies offer practical insights for organisations wishing to make changes that stick.

Executive Summary

Why should I read? To get a real-life example of what can happen without a structured approach to managing the change. We uncover the difference in outcome between two organisations seeking to deploy the same technological solution to a recurrent and common issue in the personal care service sector.

Highlights:

  • In one case, the implementation phase proved much longer than expected. Only half of the staff was or stayed on board. The gulf between the target set and the number of people proficiently using the change kept widening every day.
  • The second case shows adoption and utilisation rates close to 88%. A clear CM plan with actionable strategies delivered expected results on time.
  • For a complete overview of what a successful CM plan looks like, please see Keys to application. 

Background 

Year – 2021.

Sector – Personal Care Services.

Who – Two non-profit organisations offering social services such as childcare, home nursing, special assistance to vulnerable people, heavy-duty housework, etc.

What – In a nutshell, outdated paper-based management and monitoring systems generate errors, poor responsiveness, and late payments while also causing the organisations and the sector to miss out on new opportunities. The new "Mobile Teleprocessing System" attempts to leverage technology to optimise the provision of existing and future services.

Type of change – See below. 

The challenge (why the change?)

Baseline. Managing and controlling provided services happens through a two-fold mechanism of phone check-in used by staff members in the home of users (elderly, physically- challenged people, etc.) and paper-form shift sheets subsequently signed by users (date of the month, number of hours).

Internal reasons to change. Both entities sought to provide practical solutions to recurrent problems reported by frontline employees/account services. Climbing on the train of digitisation was also expected to raise the sector's attractiveness. More specifically, both associations faced the following issues:

  • The excessive shift sheet volume led to repeated data processing and validation delays, pushing back invoicing and wage payments to 15 days the following month.
  • Frontline employees (caretakers) found it challenging to check-in using the user's phone landline.
  • There were problems managing shift sheets/forms, sometimes signed by disabled or vulnerable people (users), by staff members themselves, when not simply lost.

External reasons to change. The availability of game-changing technological solutions, which could also respond to concerns related to funding, turned the change into a pressing issue. The mix of specific requirements and opportunities included:

  • system loopholes – the phone clocking in/out mechanism could only be used for some services.
  • technological developments and new apps designed to smooth out the problems of bureaucracy and speed up data exchange.
  • requests from funders to better control the use of resources allocated to the associations and allow real-time communication with home care services. 

The solution

This set of external and internal drivers led to "Mobile Teleprocessing" project. The overarching element of the action plan was the switch from the aforementioned "point system" (fixed phone system and shift sheets) to the use of a particular app running on a professional smartphone and connected in real-time with the all-in-one software for planning/accountancy. This advanced solution could also help manage instant alerts in case of a change in the internal working schedule. Sending off invoices would be just one click away. Other apps responding to specific health and care issues were also under consideration. 

Expected benefits ranged from shortening processing times and reducing errors when logging data to improving communication with frontline employees and funders. 

Keys to application – 1st case

Highlight: The first organisation implemented the solution within one month, impacting 500 employees. The plan was based upon Prosci's best practices and ADKAR model for individual change. Here is an overview of the main items:

a. Sponsorship, the face of change.  

Active and visible sponsorship throughout the whole duration of the project is the number-one success factor of any change initiative. In this case, the Director-General was designated as the primary sponsor. Beyond its involvement in the early phases, he was provided with data fresh from the field to remind people of the rules and communicate results. 

b. Bringing in Change Management resources.

The association allocated resources to CM, setting up a dedicated team with a change practitioner and a network of change agents.

c. Evaluating impact.

The organisation identified the groups impacted by the change (frontline employees, team leaders, accounting services) to prepare targeted training sessions.

d. Creating Awareness and Desire.

Before moving any further along the change journey, the association communicated extensively around the project and the strategic reasons underpinning it. They proceeded to:

  • Convene and conduct a meeting to introduce the project and CM plan to team leaders and super-users.
  • Get executives and team leaders actively involved with CM and fully committed to the process.
  • Circulate a promotional film featuring the change and its rationale, along with footage of an employee using the new tool.
  • Disseminating information on the intranet to communicate with frontline staff (caretakers operating in users' homes)
  • Send mail communications to present the "Mobile Teleprocessing" project to users and employees.

e. Building Knowledge and Ability.

After completing the impact analysis and conducting preliminary campaigns to raise awareness and desire, the organisation started to prepare the people for the change. They did so by:

  • Delivering 21 training sessions to 500 collaborators
  • Choosing instructors among expert users
  • Designing high-quality training materials, with a strong focus on user-friendliness  (practical exercises, quizzes, appropriate evaluation forms, ….)
  • Systematically collecting and analysing feedback to improve materials
  • Creating FAQs on the intranet
  • Uploading Video tutorials on the association website
  • Developing memos for teams on specific topics
  • At the end of the project, team leaders took over the role of instructors for new employees entering the application.

f. Reinforcing.

To ensure long-lasting results and effective use of the phone and app, the association proceeded to:

  • Collect info on clocking in/out processes and the remaining volume of shift sheets.
  • Hold a special briefing on results, including a quick review/reminder of the rules (main sponsor).
  • Diffuse reminders on the intranet.
  • Issue warning letters to people tricking the system by logging incorrect data, holding multiple broken phones, or repeatedly losing them.

Keys to application – 2nd case

Highlight: The size of the change was even more significant in the second case, impacting about 800 employees. The expected time for completion was one month and a half. But unlike its counterpart, this association did not implement any structured Change Management plan. Team leaders viewed the technical solution as an easy fix.

Items: Team leaders were tasked with demonstrating how the application worked, with the following consequences:

  • Employees complained that they received poor guidance and struggled to use the phone or the application.
  • Employees perceived the new tool as a "policing instrument."
  • The roll-out proved difficult, triggering resistance among staff and causing the training modules to be delivered late. 

Results and Takeaways

Clear differences in outcomes show the importance of adopting a structured approach to managing the change. The implementation lasted one month without any significant setback in the first case. Not only did this association meet the deadline. Adoption and utilisation rates after four months were close to 88%. In contrast, implementation suffered from major delays in the second case. While leaders had planned on a one-month and a half roll-out, deployment was only complete after six months. Moreover, adoption and utilisation rates proved grossly insufficient, with a more modest 50%.

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If all the above-described Change Management items account for what did go well in the first case, what went wrong in the second one?

A common mistake is to jump right into equipping the people without raising Awareness and creating Desire. This second case study clearly illustrates the consequences of not laying the foundations for the change. Omitting this part led to early resistances, crystallizing without any strategy or capacity to mitigate them. The new system was seen as a policing maneuver of sorts.

Furthermore, there was no attempt to create engaging training materials, leaving team leaders without a clear roadmap or tools to deliver Knowledge. Frontline employees lamented the lack of information or guidance. Issues with the phone connection in some rural regions also meant that employees were unable (Ability) to use the solution. The new system, first seen as a quick fix, created distrust, and with nothing being done, the snowball effect sat in.

Change cannot be left to chance.

Check out our resources to learn more about Change Management and stay updated!

 


 

PROSCI Methodology in action

PROSCI's impact analysis provides a very accurate overview of the kind of change involved. The following "radar graphs" identify how the project "Mobile Teleprocessing" affects the three main target groups: Area Managers, Domestic Helpers, and Accounting Services. Most dimensions are self-explanatory[1], but let's point out that processes, systems, tools, and critical behaviours – heavily emphasised in this case study – refer to:

  • the "action steps to achieve a defined outcome" (processes), or how the provision of care services will be managed and monitored from this point on.
  • the "combination of people and automated application" necessary to meet a set of goals (systems), in this case, all stakeholders and what is expected from them in terms of promoting, showcasing, and or being able to use the new "Mobile Teleprocessing" system.
  • "an item used for a specific purpose" (tools), that is, a professional phone and related app to clock out, report, or log other relevant information.
  • "a specific response to a stimulus" (critical behaviours), in this example, the consistent and proficient use of the professional phone and app.

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[1] PROSCI's change impact model offers a robust framework to define the change along 10 dimensions that may impact people involved.  These dimensions or areas typically include Processes (1), Systems (2), Tools (3), Professional Roles (4), Critical Behaviours (5), Mindset/Attitudes/Belief (6), Reporting Structure (7), Performance Review (8), Compensation (9), Location (10). To learn more: https://www.prosci.com/resources/articles/defining-change-impact

 




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Nelly Tire is a PROSCI certified change manager and an independent consultant. She has supported many public and private organisations, in France and abroad (Australia, United-Kingdom) through their transformations, with one objective: supporting individuals throughout the change while helping organisations achieve their goals. 

After having managed a large number of changes in a wide range of business sectors, Vincent Piedboeuf dedicates his time helping managers to optimise their return on investment through effective integration of the people side in their change projects. He is one of the most active Change Management instructors and certifies hundreds of people in Prosci methodology every year.

Picture this. Two organisations are facing exactly the same problem. One uses Change Management, the other doesn’t. What happens? This unique case-crossover study gives you the answer. Same change, same time, two different approaches, widely different outcomes.

Nelly Tire and Vincent Piedboeuf

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