Transformation is all over the business headlines recently. Digital transformation. Organizational transformation. Leaders from all sectors recognize that the way work is being done is changing, and that organizations need to change as well, or be left behind. When planning your organization’s transformational moment, it’s crucial to ensure that you are transforming your organizational culture as well. Otherwise, nothing else you attempt will stick.
No one knows that better than the 2019 Chief HR Officer of the Year, as recognized by CHRO.NL. Maryjo Charbonnier, Chief Human Resources Officer of Wolters Kluwer, led the very successful digital transformation at Wolters Kluwer by listening to employees and making operational agility a key part of the overall transformation.
“The voice of our employees [helped] to shape the change,” says Charbonnier. “Through our employee engagement survey, we learned that they expected us to be more agile as a company, needed better tools and resources to do their jobs, and wanted to develop their skills and careers.”
Today, 91% of Wolters Kluwer’s revenues come from their digital products. This successful transformation would not have been possible if their employees had not bought into the transformation and had felt left behind.
Organizational Transformation and Employee Engagement Go Hand In Hand
Just like at Wolters Kluwer, employee engagement and organizational culture should lead your organizational transformation efforts. To begin, you should have a way to measure and improve employee engagement, so you know what needs to be addressed. According to a recent Deloitte survey, almost a quarter (22%) reported they had a poor program to measure and improve engagement, or no program at all. It’s no wonder that only 13% of the global workforce reports being “highly engaged.”
Any transformation effort has failed before it’s begun if you have no way to measure your starting point and what pain points your employees may be feeling before, during, or after the transformation. That’s probably why McKinsey’s research shows that 70% of change initiatives or digital transformations fail. Success hinges on employees engaging positively with the transformation, and leaders have to know what employees are thinking throughout the process.
The other key part to an organizational culture transformation is leadership buy-in. Leadership drives organizational culture and they need to be the ones leading the change and ensuring that employees are engaged throughout the process. Communication is key to this process. The three Cs should be honored throughout this process: clear, consistent, collaborative.
The 3 C’s of Organizational Transformation
Leadership communication should be clear; employees should be able to quickly understand the point and any key take-aways they need from that message.
Leadership communication should be consistent; it should appear in the same places and on a regular schedule so employees know when they will hear from you.
Leadership communication should be collaborative; there needs to be a way for employees to respond to communication. This will also help with employee engagement efforts as you move forward with your organizational culture transformation.
Your organizational culture will dictate how successful transformation will be, but the good news is that culture can be changed through clear planning, consistent employee engagement, and solid communication from your senior leaders. Employees are the main audience for any transformation your organization attempts. It’s important to keep them in front of mind as you move forward with any organizational transformation.