Like atomic particles attracted and held together by chemical bonds, successful organizations must share common bonds of vision, processes, knowledge and culture. But too often, it’s difficult for people to find and use the information they need to successfully integrate and do their job. It’s hidden away in confusing vaults of file repositories, or it’s inaccurate or out of date. And if people can’t trust it, they don’t use it.
Change is always hard. Why make it harder?
Value Creation Hinges on Human Connection
RGP Director of Change Management Michael Blahnik leads the team that designed and is implementing a digital workforce enablement tool for our client, which combines processes, skills training and behavioral expectations for the Corporate Development Integration practice into a single digital interface.
He says the content itself is similar to what you’d find hidden in a Sharepoint folder repository. But the trick is presenting the information and knowledge in a much more engaging, visually compelling and intuitive way that increases accessibility, establishes accountability and encourages practitioner judgment and innovation.
Now, team members can more easily discover what they’re looking for, based on the task at hand. Instead of searching for the tools and information they need, team members can spend their valuable time on more strategic, value-driven work.
In a typical scenario, you might save 10 to 15 minutes a day. So the business case is pretty simple: 250 daily users x 12 minutes saved per day per user x 50 work weeks per year = 12,500 redeployable hours per year. With an average hourly employee cost of $100 an hour, the potential savings add up.
It’s not about the technology, it’s about the people.
Our solution is technology-agnostic, meaning they design the interface to work with whatever systems are already in use—making it a great fit at the function or department level.
We start by understanding the users and their information needs. The digital experience can be customized for different user groups, based on their role and job responsibilities. It also reinforces organizational goals and objectives as well as new ways of working and thinking, because when people don’t adopt new ways of working, transformations fail.
Moving Beyond a ‘Check-the-Box’ Mindset
Because we can customize the content to meet specific needs, our digital workforce enablement tool also helps address the challenge of over-standardization, where everyone is executing the same 600-point checklist, regardless of the size, scope or nature of the deal.
“It shouldn’t take as long to integrate a six-person company as it does to integrate a 600-person company, right? That just makes intuitive sense,” Michael says. “But all their integrations had a nearly identical approach and checklist mentality, exposing them to the same types of risks, regardless of the nuance or complexity of a particular acquisition integration.
“Time is money. If we can speed up integrations without increasing risk by being more value-oriented in our decisions and actions, then we see real business impact that gets the executive leadership team excited. At this point the business case extends far beyond redeployable hours.”
Rather than relying on this rigid approach, our client envisioned a more value-driven framework that allows them to optimize the approach for each acquisition—and maximize value. With the new tool, we were able to empower client team members to innovate and apply discretion based on the actual facts and needs of the deal. At the same time, we could be very clear about the goals or expected outcomes for every activity throughout the acquisition/integration lifecycle.
“In this case it’s really about moving away from a check-the-box mentality,” Michael says. “We understand checklists are a helpful tool, but teams can become over reliant on them. All of a sudden, they find themselves performing tasks without asking why they’re performing those tasks. Every decision and action should tie back to creating value and minimizing risk. So we have to break away from that while still supporting the team members with the right resources.”
I love that it’s self-service. Now I don’t have to reach out to my lead and take them off task, just because I can’t find a template or resource.
The tool is in the “soft-launch” phase, but so far, the feedback is overwhelmingly positive. As one client team member said, “I love that it’s self-service. Now I don’t have to reach out to my lead and take them off task, just because I can’t find a template or resource. I can use this tool to find it, and I can trust that it’s the latest and greatest.”
Less time searching means the team has more time to focus on getting important things done—and creating more value for the company. As Michael points out, the ultimate goal is to make a positive impact on the actual integration performance. “At the end of the day, are we doing a better job of retaining top talent because the process is smoother, and the Corporate Development team can help acquired employees feel more confident joining such a large organization?”
Our digital workforce enablement solution is just one part of a much broader transformation initiative focused on building a more value-driven approach to integration, from rethinking traditional management structures to improving the acquired employee experience.
Because of the urgency to maximize value creation, M&A is an ideal scenario for the type of change management, workforce strategies and digital enablement tools that RGP can deliver. But whether you’re integrating an acquired company, implementing new processes or technology, or just onboarding new employees, our Change Management experts are here to help.