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Establishing Change Management KPIs 

As with any endeavor, key performance indicators (KPIs) are critical to understanding and communicating progress toward the stated objectives. Every organization has leveraged KPIs in evaluating performance against success. Key performance indicators are monitored in a business environment and can conversely be found in our personal lives.

Professional athletes employ KPIs to measure and evaluate their success each season. Professional golfers like Rory McIlroy are evaluated on how well they perform in the major golf tournaments each season, including event wins, top ten finishes, and cuts made each tournament. McIlroy’s strokes under par each tournament round can be defined as a KPI. Professional basketball players like Steph Curry are measured on points scored per game, shooting percentage, and assists per game. Curry’s 3-point attempts compared to how many 3-point shots attained throughout the season can be defined as a KPI. Other KPI examples include Apple and Garmin smartwatches monitoring steps toward a daily fitness goal or maintaining a home renovation budget.

With KPIs visible in personal and professional settings, why is it challenging for businesses to define and integrate KPIs into their strategy for change management?

Why are Change Management KPIs Important?

Organizational Change Management (OCM) is the practice of applying a structured approach to a firm’s transition from the current state to a future state to achieve the project’s expected benefits. Change management aims to reduce the disruptive effects intrinsic to change and increase the likelihood of change adoption and benefits realization. With any organizational change, stakeholders need to understand what changes are ahead, who is impacted by the change, and how will the new change and enable them to perform more effectively by embracing the change – whether it’s merging two organizations, implementing an ERP system, or transitioning to a new HR platform. Effective change management ensures a seamless transition for all stakeholders involved.

I’m cognizant that KPIs aren’t always absent from change management. KPIs are commonly included in a new project’s Statement of Work (SOW). The challenge is developing KPIs to ensure they are understood and will resonate with the organization. In my change management experience, KPIs are often viewed as a destination, not a journey. KPIs are metrics for measurements; they aren’t goals. Instead, KPIs provide organizations with the metrics to monitor progress toward achieving set goals. Key performance indicators must be evaluated regularly to determine if those metrics are being met; otherwise, the business may need to adjust the KPI or introduce a mitigation strategy.

It’s critical to begin defining and measuring KPIs as early as possible during the implementation to gauge the efficacy of the change strategy and ensure the business benefits specified in the project charter are realized. KPI metrics should drive the right behaviors, focusing on the outcomes, not the effort. Additionally, metrics should be specific and quantifiable so the organization understands what is expected. Stakeholders will often be more committed and exert more effort in attaining KPIs if they have suggested or contributed to the development of the KPI. As a change manager, I find it essential to collaborate with key stakeholders in the business to define KPIs before developing the change management strategy to increase awareness, buy-in, and support from the organization.

Lastly, it’s essential to not only determine the mechanisms in which the metrics will be developed but to consider how the data will be collected and outline the requirements for reporting during the implementation. With any change management plan, businesses must assess and monitor KPIs throughout the entire change management journey as they work toward a successful implementation and the desired future state.

Examples of Pre-Go Live Change Management KPIs:

  • “As an organization, we want to increase project awareness in the first quarter by 20%.”
  • “We want 70% of employees to open and read the monthly project newsletter.”
  • “For each functional workstream, 95% of the impacted employees must be trained a week before go-live.”
  • “Employees need to have a minimum training proficiency score of 75% before system access is granted.”

With direct feedback from employees, including surveys, focus groups, or stakeholder interviews, organizations can measure progress toward the desired 20% project awareness goal. Informal and formal employee feedback should be collected frequently and at appropriate intervals to monitor the effectiveness of the KPI. Additionally, by including specific metrics for employee training, businesses can monitor the training process to ensure employees comprehend the information provided and are prepared to go live. For example, measuring the training program’s success demonstrates whether the employees have learned the skills needed for adoption.

Examples of Post-Go Live Change Management KPIs:

  • “In the first month of go-live, there should be no more than a 10% drop in employee productivity from current levels.”
  • “We want technical support calls related to the new solution to decrease by 20% after the second month of go-live.”
  • “As an organization, we aim to have a 75% employee satisfaction rating for the new tool.”

Simply stating that the business would like minimal disruption to its daily operations isn’t a quantifiable KPI that can be measured. Outlining definitive metrics for tracking performance and productivity, technical support calls, and employee satisfaction provides the business with insight into employee adoption of the tool. Developing and monitoring KPIs in the change management strategy can assist in measuring execution and tracking improvement throughout the implementation.

Navigating Change Management KPIs 

Key performance indicators are designed to be a measurement and not an end, and they must be given a chance to work within your change management plan. By including change management KPIs, you can reduce the implementation gap with measurable insights and efficiently make data-backed decisions to achieve your strategic goals. Moreover, a structured change management approach can assist you in navigating change and accelerating employee buy-in. For strategic advice on establishing change management KPIs to drive successful change adoption in your organizational change management strategy, contact us today to learn more about our Change Management Consulting Services.

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Contributions from Clarence Thomas

Tags: Change Management