3 Steps for Measuring Change Success

Your organization probably has well-established measures for assessing project performance. The measures likely include achievement of project goals, implementation on time and expenditures within budget. Unfortunately, the same rigour is not typically applied to measuring the “people side of change”. Many change management practitioners measure activities, such as the number of communication sessions held or the number of individuals trained, as opposed to what business leaders truly care about, the realization of the benefits expected from a change.

When an organization implements a change, it comes to life one person at a time. Organizational success is the cumulative result of successful individual transitions. This means that in order to assess change management effectiveness, you need to focus on measuring the success of individual transitions in response to a change. The organizational benefits will be realized if a “critical mass” of the impacted individuals adopt and use the change. The objective of change management then, is to enable successful individual transitions, i.e. to ensure that people are able to successfully adopt and use the change in their daily work.

So, how do you measure the success of individual transitions?

1. Define the Transition

Measuring the success of individual transitions requires that you first define, at a practical level, what employees impacted by a change need to do differently in their day-to-day jobs. Once the transition has been clearly defined, it’s possible to measure individual progress in making the transition.

2. Measure Individual Progress

Prosci’s ADKAR model is a simple, yet very powerful model for measuring individual progress in adopting and using a change. The five building blocks of the model are:

Managers can use the ADKAR model to monitor the progress of individual transitions. If an individual becomes “stuck”, the model can help identify which of the building blocks is the barrier and the manager can then identify specific tactics to help the person get past the barrier point.

3. Measure Cumulative Progress

To measure the cumulative impact of the individual transitions, we recommend using the three human factors developed by Prosci from their Best Practices Research. The three factors are:

Speed of adoption - how quickly are people adopting the change?

Utilization - how many people are using the change in their daily work?

Proficiency - how well are people using the change?

An easy way to remember the three human factors is the acronym SUP, e.g. what’s SUP for your change?

The actual measures you use to assess SUP will be specific to your change. The data can be gathered in a number of ways, including interviews with a representative sample of employees and individual surveys. Individual progress and cumulative impact need to be measured a number of times during the lifecycle of a project to objectively evaluate the effectiveness of your change management plan. By measuring multiple times, you receive early warning of the need for revisions to the plan in order to achieve the desired outcomes.

Applying these three steps will help ensure your change management efforts are contributing to what really matters: the achievement of the business outcomes that your leaders care about.

If you have questions about measuring change success in your organization, contact me at ahorlick@navigo.ca or 604-930-0835.