Change is a funny thing. It happens all the time, but people often resist it, particularly if they feel change is being ‘done to them’. As a result, most workplace change initiatives fail – 70% is the number that is regularly bandied around, potentially originating from research by McKinsey & Company.
Global pandemics and geopolitical tensions aside, technology is driving a lot of the change happening today. Digital transformation, hybrid working, the Fourth Industrial Revolution – it’s all tech powered and learning technologies are at the heart of it. But, it’s very easy for learning teams and business leaders to get caught up in the whirlwind of tech innovation, forgetting the number one rule: your technology has to work for you and your organisational needs. You can’t enforce change - your technology needs to enable change to happen, otherwise you end up in the 70% bracket of failed change initiatives.
At Learning Technologies 2022 on May 4th and 5th there will be lots of interesting topics covered, including change management. Our Head of Product, Duncan Barrett and Head of UX Jim Banks will be running a session about 5App Hub and enabling transformative change on day 2 of the show.
What is workplace change?
Workplace change covers a multitude of things. It can be moving into new markets, growing your business or changing the way you do business, for example. It can be a programme of restructuring or the arrival of new management. It can be adapting to different ways of working and learning – digital, remote, hybrid, agile, continuous learning. It can be floating on the stock market through an IPO. The list is endless.
Whatever change it is that you need to effect as a business, there is always one commonality: cultural change means engaging with your people. You need to take your people along with you on the journey. You don’t ‘do change to them’, give them a destination and expect them to get there without any help. Change is 30% more likely to happen and to stick when employees are invested in it, according to the McKinsey Changing Change Management piece.
Technology enabling change
The right tech is also critical, of course. Your learning technology needs to be easy to use, accessible, engaging and intuitive. That sounds simple enough, but research by HR analysts Fosway Group indicates that many organisations feel let down by their existing learning platforms. The research Don’t believe the hype: The realities of digital learning and how it is impacting your learning system options found that 65% of survey respondents in 2020 didn’t think their current learning platform was fit for the modern workforce, a significant increase on 50% the year before. That left 29% saying it was (34% in 2019) and 6% saying they didn’t know (16% in 2019).
What does a learning platform that is fit for purpose look like? What does it do and how does it enable change? As mentioned earlier, it needs to be easy, accessible, engaging and intuitive. But, that’s just for starters. It needs to connect people, to each other, to the organisation and the organisational purpose. It needs to foster communication, collaboration and knowledge sharing. It needs to give people all the resources, content and tools they need to do their job and to keep learning in order to do their job better.
Our research and conversations with customers tells us the same story as the Fosway research: for a lot of people, their learning system is not fit for purpose. They:
- feel disconnected from the company and its goals
- they are unsure where to go to find the information they need
- they feel they are not supported in their development.
A platform to drive change
Learning teams need to really understand the power of tech to enable change and how that relates to the organisational environment and needs. What is the change that needs to happen? How does it need to happen? What does the workforce need to do and how will you engage them? You need to make it as easy as possible for employees to engage with what you are trying to do and why. What’s in it for them? How will using this technology help them do their job better? How do playlists work? How will sharing their knowledge help the organisation?
Here at 5App we help organisations achieve transformative change. The 5App Hub has played a pivotal role in enabling change at numerous organizations, but the important thing to note here is that no change initiative is a one-off event anymore. Change is constant – it’s the new normal, so organisations need a learning platform that enables change on a continuum.
The real estate management company Greystar came to us because it was looking for a platform that would drive change and enable a learning culture. Employees were not engaged with learning, which Greystar needed to address in order to achieve its ambitious growth targets. In collaboration with 5App, it launched the Greystar Business School and the L&D teams introduced features such as playlists. The results? A very significant proportion (89%) of the workforce were accessing the learning, plus there was a 24% improvement in performance and productivity, a 90% increase in the understanding of Greystar goals and objectives and a 35% reduction in the likelihood of employees leaving Greystar. Those are pretty impressive results after just 12 months of implementation. We have had similar successes with other customers, such as Hemsley Fraser and Spirit Energy.
Using metrics to enable change
Analytics are integral to the Hub. Any organisation using the Hub will have a range of metrics and insights at their fingertips - how it’s performing, where change is happening, how employees are using the platform, engagement levels, download stats, etc. This is really important as it allows organisations to understand what’s working and what’s not. According to a Forbes Insights report, Transformational Change: What works – and what can doom the initiative, metrics are key to achieving transformational change. When asked what the top five greatest success factors are, 82% of the survey participants cited metrics, putting it in third place.
It’s easy for employees to be resistant to change. But there’s no avoiding organisational change, so employers need to help employees accept and embrace it. People talk about constant change as a new phenomenon, but it’s always been a thing - the Greek philosopher Heraclitus was talking about the inevitability of change back in 500 BCE. ‘The only constant in life is change’ and ‘There is nothing permanent except change’ are two of his most famous quotes. ‘Change is the new normal’ is pretty much a revamp of what Heraclitus was saying. The difference now is the speed of change. Technology has turbocharged the pace of change, which is why it’s so important that your technology works with you and for you.
Choose a learning platform that supports new ways of working.
The 5App Hub enables organisational change, creates a learning culture and aligns learning with business needs and objectives.