Team meets to discuss organizational change

Achieve greater change success with an early organizational readiness assessment

In the push for companies to digitize their operations, the demand for organizational change management to support ongoing transformation efforts has never been greater. And with research indicating a significant drop in employees’ support for change initiatives, from 74% in 2016 to just 38% in 2022 [1] , organizations are going to have to get intentional in their efforts to combat resistance and overcome the fatigue that accompanies change saturation.

Without the proper vision, alignment of priorities and support before launching a change initiative, companies open themselves up to a myriad of risks including employee confusion and disengagement that can result in ineffectiveness and worse, resistance.

To properly understand potential risk to your company’s successful transformation, it’s important to begin any change initiative with an organizational readiness assessment. The sooner you identify underlying organizational barriers to change, the sooner you can begin mitigating risks to your success.

What is organizational readiness?

Organizational readiness refers to the overall preparedness of a company and its people to successfully navigate a change and considers factors such as leadership commitment, employee engagement, available resources and a solid business case for change that supports the company’s strategic priorities.

While change readiness looks at the preparedness of individuals and teams, organizational readiness looks at the big-picture ability to embrace, invest in and navigate change based on factors inherent to the company.

Establishing new routines, fostering belief and cultivating trust in the positive impacts of your organizational change go beyond merely communicating the upcoming change; it involves seeking genuine support and fostering a desire for change across your company.

What are the benefits of an early organizational readiness assessment?

By assessing readiness for a change or transformation early, leaders can identify and understand the root causes of potential roadblocks that may impede the initiative’s success. More importantly, it provides the time and flexibility needed to analyze and mitigate any risks at their core, devise and align effective strategies and implement necessary adjustments before the transformation gains momentum and focus shifts to the execution requirements.

The opportunity to adapt the change strategy based on organizational needs is important for refining communication plans, training programs and support mechanisms. This ensures that the messaging is clear and resonates with where the workforce is currently in their readiness to change, addressing concerns and uncertainties uncovered during the assessment. Effective communication and employee engagement is essential for garnering support, building understanding and fostering a positive attitude towards incoming changes.

For example, if a company were to identify a lack of effective communication during the assessment, they can get ahead of the potential barrier by implementing new systems and processes that facilitate more open, transparent and timely communication. The goal is to establish a framework that not only addresses current limitations but also aligns with the specific needs and preferences of the workforce. This will help the company continue to evolve its communication strategy in real-time as they make adjustments based on feedback received – ultimately optimizing the overall change experience for employees and increasing the effectiveness of change management efforts.

Waiting to address unforeseen obstacles until the change is already in motion can reduce confidence and lead to significant challenges, delays or even derail the entire transformation effort as by then, the company has already invested considerable resources, time and effort, making it significantly more difficult to implement corrective measures. But with an early readiness assessment companies are empowered to navigate change with foresight, agility and a higher likelihood of achieving sustainable success, fostering a more resilient and adaptive approach to change management.

When should your organization get started assessing organizational readiness?

Companies should initiate an organizational readiness assessment at the outset of formulating strategic initiatives or when selecting new technology. It’s crucial that you engage your workforce in the strategic planning process as they bring valuable insights and perspectives that are essential for understanding the practical implications of the change initiative.

When employees are not considered or involved in the strategic decision-making, it can lead to a misalignment between the intended changes and the actual needs and capabilities of the organization. This misalignment can contribute to resistance, low morale and a lack of ownership among employees, all of which are significant barriers to successful transformation. By recognizing and incorporating the contributions of the workforce, companies foster a sense of shared purpose, commitment and adaptability among their people.

This proactive approach also ensures that potential challenges are identified and addressed early on, preventing the need for retroactive measures and mitigating employee frustration and dissatisfaction. Starting with a clear understanding of your company's preparedness is key to the successful implementation of change initiatives.

As strategy development is a critical process for transformation success, an organizational readiness assessment can provide crucial insights, tailored to your company's unique environment and maturity level, essential for making informed decisions as you progress through your implementation road map. Additionally, it helps to inform the appropriate representation of the workforce in developing a strategic vision that not only aligns with organizational goals, but also incorporates the active involvement of your workforce, increasing the likelihood of success.

Baker Tilly Digital's organizational readiness assessment process

Baker Tilly Digital's organizational readiness assessment takes a proactive approach to change by first assessing your organizational environment to enable a responsive, adaptable and dynamic program that addresses the specific needs and challenges identified. Our approach focuses on three pillars essential to successful change, always keeping your people as the central focal point.

Organizational readiness approach

Deciding what actions to take to mitigate potential organization-level risks should be based on the impact these obstacles could present to your overall success. By differentiating organizational readiness from individual change readiness, you're better positioned to lead your people through the path to change while highlighting any risks to success so that you can begin removing barriers before they negatively impact change effectiveness.

Establishing new routines, fostering belief and cultivating trust in the positive impacts of your organizational change go beyond merely communicating the upcoming change; it involves seeking genuine support and fostering a desire for change across your company. Employee confidence, trust and advocacy for change transpire when gaps and risks are identified early, challenges are proactively addressed and a demonstrated effort to reduce friction to enable a more positive change experience is realized.

How we can help

With seemingly insurmountable change the new norm for many companies, achieving a successful digital transformation will require organizational commitment to ensure everyone feels confidently prepared to navigate and adapt to change. Baker Tilly Digital's helps your company gain visibility into your current environment to identify and mitigate risks early in the change process so you can enable successful outcomes for any change initiative.

Crafting a change approach tailored to support your company’s unique structure and change maturity level works to enhance your company culture by positively impacting employee experience, trust and support for future changes - ultimately outlining your organization’s operating model for managing change. Contact our team today to learn how your company can get started preparing for any change initiative with an organizational readiness assessment.

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