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The people side of change management in sustainability transformation

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Sustainability and Change management

Welcome back to the second installment of utilizing digital learning and analytics for a successful sustainability transformation.

In our first part of the series, we discussed how a bottom-up approach increases success when implementing sustainability. This second part will focus on why considering the people side of change management is important for sustainability transformation and how digital learning and analytics can be used to overcome resistance and create awareness and ownership.

Implementing sustainability means change for employees at all levels. One aspect of change management is to ensure buy in from employees to support the change. The people side of change management has been a growing topic in recent years and more companies are reporting the importance of a change in culture when it comes to implementing sustainability. But why has this soft side of change management gained so much attention?

Projects are more likely to be successful if employees support the change

75% of all change processes in companies fail and integration of sustainability falls in this category. The initiatives fail due to wrong diagnosing of the problem, internal resistance, or lack of awareness and ownership of the change within the company. These soft issues have gained increased interest from leaders due to the importance of employee support. In a global study by McKinsey 44% of executives said they would move faster to neutralize resistance to change, when asked what they would do if the transformation happened again.

75% of change projects fail

Digital learning and analytics have the power to change soft issues to opportunities. By promoting learning and opening up for feedback e-learning helps you increase your team’s internal ownership of sustainability and helps lower resistance by including everyone actively in the process. The data on the other hand gives you an analytical background for assessing sustainability problems and opportunities within the company. Increasing the impact and success rate of your sustainable change projects.

Ignoring soft issues can be costly

As 75% of change projects fail, corporate sustainability projects therefore have high risk, and are potentially expensive for companies. In the last years focus has been on the soft issues of change management, culture, leadership, and motivation, and for good reason. When the people side of change is ignored or poorly managed, the project and the organization take on additional costs and risks.

On the contrary, companies that are highly effective at change management are three and a half times more likely to significantly outperform industry peers. Additionally, successfully implemented sustainability projects have a positive impact on business performance. Companies have reported improved risk management, innovation within the company and supply chain, increased customer loyalty, improved financial performance, more engaged employees, and even becoming more attractive to new talent.

…initiatives fail due to wrong diagnosing of the problem, internal resistance, or lack of awareness and ownership.

If your company is undergoing sustainable change projects one of the most valuable things you can do is to gain the support of your employees. They are the ones that will continue the development over time after initial targets have been reached.

The process of building engagement and gathering feedback can also be made more efficiently with digital learning and analytics. By digitizing the process your company can reduce the resources used resulting in lowered costs.

Overcoming resistance can open up new opportunities

Most of us can relate to resisting change. More likely than not we’ve been the person resisting and can empathize with these feelings. Resistance is a common reaction when people experience a lack of information and quite frankly, just don’t get it.

Insufficiently explaining the change can cause a project to fail. Resistance can mean that a strategy is carried out but if not a part of the culture or if seen as a short term project, eventually fades. As implementing sustainability is a long term project that requires constant development over time, the importance of employees actually understanding the concept becomes even more crucial.

Using digital learning can benefit your teams to overcome resistance and prepare your people for the transformation that is coming. E-learning modules are a convenient form of education as employees can finish on their own pace and schedule learning to fit their schedule. The modules are used for education on the subject in order to increase understanding and avoid negative presumptions on the matter. On the other hand, opening up for feedback allows your team to give their opinion by which the data collection can identify issues  important to them and opportunities missed by management.

… failing to explain the change is the beginning of the end.

Learn more

Making sure to address resistance, create awareness and ownership when implementing sustainability makes your company better equipped for a sustainable change project. This is due to the involvement and support of your team that will execute the strategy.

Using the software from Incept Sustainability is one way to successfully address the people side of change management. Incept sustainability helps companies with the change process. Not only by preparing all organizational levels for the changes coming but by involving employees with engaging learning modules, collecting feedback and suggestions and presenting data analytics for action. The software is a holistic cost effective approach providing a core focus on increasing the impact and success rate for sustainable change projects.

If you haven’t yet signed up for the software of Incept Sustainability, contact us to learn more.

Stay tuned for our last part of the series, focusing on why sustainability matters and how to utilize digital learning and analytics on your company’s journey.