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The Keys to Successful Organizational Change: Engaging an OCM Consultant

Of all the challenges the pandemic has brought since 2020, changes in the way we do business have been significant. Whether that means preparing for a hybrid or 100% remote workforce, updating systems to support a remote workforce, or other structural realignments, change is upon us.

As the first installment in The Keys to Successful Organizational Change blog series, we are going to discuss the benefits of engaging an organizational change management (OCM) consultant to help plan and execute a successful organizational transformation. These blogs will cover the number one factor successful organizational change has in common, achieving a high return on investment (ROI), and the costs associated with OCM consultancy.

Engaging an OCM consultant is critical to success

70% of change programs taken up by organizations fail. Of the 30% that succeed, only 15% meet or exceed change objectives (Prosci and Harvard Business School).

Whether you are planning a change or are in the beginning stages of one, these stats are truly disheartening. Organizations positioned lower on the change management maturity scale often struggle with stakeholder groups and change initiative sponsors who do not understand, nor value, change management as a critical component for success. Likewise, organizations that have experienced organizational change failure in the past may edge away from a second attempt or believe a consultant would not be beneficial.

However, engaging a consultant to plan and lead your organizational transformation can be the difference between a failed and a successful transformation – no matter what type of change you are undergoing.

The benefit that enables OCM consultants to lead companies to a successful transformation that exceeds expectations is that they are a third-party entity. While internal leadership may see the adoption of an OCM leader as a threat, in reality, they are not. In fact, 70% of all change programs fail due to employee resistance and lack of support from management (McKinsey). It is incredibly difficult to be a part of a company structure and see it from a fresh perspective. Perception is key, and a third-party OCM consultant will provide a fresh perspective.

OCM consultants as communication masters

A change management consultant will, first and foremost, communicate at every step of the transformation with key stakeholders and foster a culture of communication across all levels of your organization. The OCM consultant understands the requirement of dissimilar internal audiences and how to contextualize relevant information to these audiences. Many organizational transformations fail for reasons that can find their roots in poor communication.

Statistics show us:

  • 45.6% of employees experienced information overload during a change, and 35.6% faced challenges adapting to digital trends and new technologies (Gartner).
  • 73% of employees affected by change experience elevated stress levels and perform 5% worse than the average employee (Gartner).
  • 62% of employees do not like leaving their comfort zone (Forbes).

One goal for OCM consultants is to ensure these types of issues don’t arise during your change process. By communicating the relevant information to the right people at every step of the process, no employee will feel overwhelmed by the changes happening around them, rather they will feel like an integral part of the transformation. Not only is this good for the overall success of your transformation, but it ensures productivity levels don’t decrease as a result of the change process.

In addition, OCM consultants will be open, honest, and straightforward about your organization’s ability to adopt the changes successfully and, if not, what needs to be adapted to do so. Another one of their goals will be to uncover problems that are currently limiting your organization’s ability to change or problems that may arise in the future. Instead of hiding these problems or trying to avoid them, an OCM consultant will face them head-on and bring them to your attention to be addressed.

OCM consultants as strategic thinkers

In addition to being expert communicators, planners, and project managers, most OCM consultants are also phenomenal strategic thinkers. As visionary strategists, they should create a roadmap to support current strategic change plans, drawing on internal and external resources and organizational change methodologies to support future transformation and growth.

Long-term thinking and perspective are key when designing an organizational change roadmap. Not only do they determine what needs to happen or be addressed during the initial change, but also what will need to happen to continue the successful adoption of the changes long-term. Strategies could be as simple (but impactful) as enacting training programs for employees or as complex as updating positioning.

OCM consultants understand that often the most straightforward solutions can leave a lasting impact. For example, 69% of successful change programs reported offering training before and after go-live (Google). Easy to implement solutions like these are essential to the success of an organizational transformation, and an OCM consultant will help you recognize the solutions and implement them. Solutions like this will also help employees feel integrated into the change and mitigate employee resistance.

OCM consultants lead the path to successful organizational change

Whether the pandemic brought change to your door or change has become necessary for scaling your business, an OCM consultant is critical to achieving successful organizational transformation. Their role is never to compete with leadership but to shine a light on both good and bad practices, so successful change is possible. With an OCM consultant, your business will have a better chance of being part of the 30% who see a successful transformation!

Read the next blog in The Keys to Successful Organizational Change series.

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