Five Steps to Measure Change Management Effectiveness

“If you can't measure it, you can't improve it.”

Attributed to management expert Peter Drucker, this quote reflects the soul of a data-driven approach to business management. Yet, it merely scratches the surface of the complexities that arise once you set out to measure the effectiveness of change management.

Change initiatives require organizations to evaluate their impact on various aspects of business operations. From assessing employee resistance and measuring baseline Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to numerous cycles of analyses and adaptation, measuring change management effectiveness often involves several intricate steps.

With this in mind, let’s dissect the change management process and design the ultimate blueprint for how to measure change management effectiveness.

1. Assess Employee Change Resistance

The first step is to figure out if your organization is willing to change. This is perhaps the most crucial (and most overlooked!) factor when considering change. Why is that, exactly? Most leaders simply take it for granted that employees are on board to welcome yet another change initiative. The numbers, however, tell a completely different story. According to this Gartner survey, employee willingness to support organizational change collapsed to just 38% in 2022, compared to 74% (yes, you read that right) in 2016.

Employees' willingness to support enterprise change collapsed to just 43% in 2022, compared to 74% in 2016.

Assessing the willingness to change is best achieved through an approach that involves gathering employee feedback and educating employees about change goals and processes. This endeavor is nothing short of crucial if you want employees to feel like drivers of change rather than passive passengers.

2. Tie Change Implementations to Business Goals

After determining that your organization is ready for change, the next step is to define clear objectives for change management to focus on. These must align with overarching company goals and the specific results you hope to achieve via the change.

The rule of thumb here is to ground the objective with concrete numbers by outlining specific goals such as “Increasing customer satisfaction by 10% in the next two quarters.” Something like this works much better than a more vague target (e.g., “Increasing customer satisfaction”). Moreover, it's crucial to align the change initiative, desired outcome, and company goal in a unified way. For instance, linking a 10% increase in customer satisfaction to a 5% sales boost — while working towards the overarching company goal of delivering the best customer service in the industry — can arm change managers with a clearer sense of purpose in their work.

3. Establish Measurable Change Initiatives

The next step is to ensure change processes are not only easy to measure but also simple to follow. With this in mind, break down the change process into actionable roadmaps for your employees. Help them understand exactly what action steps to take, how to complete tasks, by when, and who to reach out to for clarifications or support. Not only does this help you identify key performance indicators (KPIs) but it also minimizes uncertainty while providing a clear path for employees to follow.

Doing this is super simple with the innovative Changeflow Builder on Volonte’s enterprise change management platform. With Changeflows, you can easily break down any change process into a guided roadmap of bite-sized tasks that can be assigned to any number of employees. Even better, you can track employee progress in real time for instant analytics!

4. Monitor and Analyze

Welcome to the action; your initiative has now transitioned from the planning to the implementation stage, and you have identified your KPIs while also sharing action plans with employees. However, this does not mean it’s time to let off the gas with respect to strategy. On the contrary, you need to rigorously monitor, analyze, and adapt in the days and months ahead.

With the right tools, you can track your key change metrics in real-time and gain true visibility into change at the organizational (as well as employee) level. However, it’s now up to you to engage in further analyses and then adapt quickly.

At this stage, it’s important to continuously redirect your strategy based on data: meaning this phase may comprise several cycles of data analysis and strategy evolution.

5. Evaluate Overall Impact

Congratulations! You’ve successfully implemented your change initiative. Things are different now — but are they better? The only way to know is to compare post-change metrics with baseline measurements to determine the extent of change as well as its impact. Perhaps KPIs were achieved in the desired time (and to the extent) you had predicted — or maybe not.

However, focusing solely on KPIs is not seeing the forest for the trees; even more valuable is identifying the areas that require adjustments or further attention and using the feedback and insights gained to refine your change management approach for the sake of future initiatives.

When all is said and done, it’s human nature to shun change — and organizations typically reflect a high degree of inertia. Yet, the best-performing companies put great emphasis on change as one of their most pressing needs: meaning developing change readiness in your organization is the key to propagating healthy adaptation effortlessly. If your organization is change-ready, employees won’t feel anxious or burdened the next time they hear about another change initiative. Remember: the more you change, the less you’ll fear it moving forward.

Want to simplify the people side of your change implementation, streamline and track progress, and build change readiness, all at the same time? We can help! With Volonte’s comprehensive enterprise change management software, you can effortlessly track your organization’s change progress, define clear roadmaps, and empower your employees to shape organizational changes. Take the first step toward seamless change implementations: schedule a demo today.