The problem with change management metrics

The problem with change management metrics

“As change practitioners we often hear that Change is intangible and hard to measure – A key concern with change management metrics. As a result, the discipline is often perceived as less value-adding and less critical to the business and program performance. We work with technical, finance, process, and operations specialists who often donĂ¢t get what we are on about.

A typical scenario that Change practitioners often complain about is that they are in a typical project meeting where everyone is consumed with technical defects, testing data, project cst and delivery resource requirements. From an analytics and reporting perspective, I often hear how hard it is to highlight and position the importance of Change data. But, as a part of Change delivery we do produce various data to track progress. Why are we still not able to be at the centre of the table?

The problem is that most of the data we produce is data that is not positioned to link strongly to ultimate business outcomes. For example:

Employee feedback

Employee opinions are useful and insightful, however this often reflects what stakeholders already suspect.
Change readiness surveys
Again, potentially useful and insightful. But, is agreeing to the statements in the survey equivalent of actual behavior change? (i.e. knowing vs doing) Does positive survey results guarantee business impact and full benefits realized.

Training completion rates

Training completion rates may be a minimum requirement to ensure the knowledge transfer has happened. However, will the behavior change? What is the impact on the operations?
What we need is to focus on the critical business outcomes and be able to demonstrate how change data provides leading indicators to 1) the likelihood of realizing initiative benefits, and 2) impact on the business.

For example, if an organization is focused on improving customer experience, then we need to demonstrate how initiatives could impact their experience. Firstly, we need to work out to what extent the customer cares about the effects of the initiative, the magnitude of the impacts on customers and whether the impacts are positive or negative (from the perspective of the customer). The following diagram is an illustration of how the experiences of a particular customer segment are forecasted to change with the various roll out impacts of initiatves (using the Change Compass tool).

In this way, we have demonstrated the importance of managing change impacts over the timeline since any increase or decrease in customer experience could equate to hundreds of millions of dollars (according to Forrester research). Suddenly, we are now talking about top-line revenue impacts that will put us in the centre of attention. What has been your experience in linking change data to business results?