Human Side of a Transformation
If you are embarking on a large-scale Digital or Agile transformation, this is going to impact people. There is no doubt about that.
There may be an organisational or departmental restructure. People’s roles would change. Some people might even lose their jobs.
I have seen whole departments being made redundant.
These are practical aspects of leading a transformation. Apart from amazing products and fantastic benefits, there is a real human cost. This in my experience is grossly underestimated.
Now don’t forget, it’s the same people who are impacted are going to be the ones who are the doers of the initiative. These are the ones creating new customer experiences, creating new products. Think about what’s their morale and level of motivation? And how will that effect the outcome?
People who are staying are going to need to learn new skills. You need to keep context in mind. Certain groups in the workforce might find it easier to adopt, to learn new skills. They are likely to be more excited by this. The UK and most western countries have an ageing workforce. It may be harder for them to upskill. I recognise this is a massive generalisation and it may not true in every context but the key point is that different people react and adapt to changes in different ways.
The reality is that you are running a transformation with a workforce which by definition lacks capability and potentially capacity too. They’ll learn and adopt over time but they are not there from day 1 and transformation can not stop and wait for them to catch up. You’ll recruit of course but that takes time.
Essentially, you are running a transformation with people who might be experiencing different and in majority of the case difficult emotions, lack the required skills and capability, and are likely to be lacking capacity too give the business as usual (BAU) activities. No wonder a large proportion of the transformation do not realise the intended benefits.
The main take away os that it is important to recognise the human side of a transformation and create plans that takes these dynamics into account.