Effective change management was a critical success factor in our transformation. While our foundations were solid and tools effective, we learned a lot across the different releases.
As with other programme disciplines from design, through testing and stakeholder management, Stage 1 gave us a much better understanding of the impact of change on both our people and customers. We used what we learnt to tweak our approach to better support our people and customers through the change.
Change management methodology
Our change management methodology was underpinned by a change management framework which provided a well-tested structured approach to managing change throughout the transformation.
We used a set of tools to understand what the change impacts were for our people and customers across the dimensions of the framework. These tools included a change impact assessment and change management plan covering communications, training, user support requirements and transition approach.
This approach enabled leaders, our people and customers to understand what the change meant for them, what action they needed to take and how they would be supported through the change.
Steps in the change process
Assessing the impacts on stakeholders
When assessing change impacts, we considered 3 things:
- What is the change, and the scope of change?
- Which associated business processes may change
- Who will be impacted by the change (teams, groups or roles), and to what extent (internal and external)?
With this information we were able to compile a high-level change impact assessment.
Creating a Change Management Plan
The Change Management plan set out the overall approach to implementing the change. It outlined how we would implement the change to minimise disruption for the business, customers and people, whilst mitigating risk. The impact assessment formed the core of the Change Management Plan and served as a guiding principle as to how stakeholders would be supported through the change. In addition, the Change Management Plan encompassed the Stakeholder and Communications Plan, learning (training) and early life support plans.
From a delivery perspective, the plan included a timeline (phases) showing a detailed view of change management activities at each phase. It also provided detail around the support to be provided once the implementation was complete, and how the change would be transitioned into BAU (business as usual) once implemented.
Communication and engagement
Communication and engagement are fundamental drivers of change. Our plans included:
- communication and engagement principles
- a summary of target audiences
- channels to be used to reach specific audiences
- key messaging
- a schedule of tactical communication and engagement activities.
Developing a training plan
We developed comprehensive training programmes ahead of each release, to provide opportunities for hands-on experience with new systems and processes. On average, our front-line people had around 3 days of mandatory training for each release, equating to 18 days of training overall per person.
Our training approach was based on the ADDIE model to plan and deliver training for Business Transformation (ADDIE = Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation.)
The first step (Analysis) was to gain an understanding of the current versus future situation, and what gap needed to be filled. We developed a training and user support approach and training needs analysis which helped us understand the audience and what problem we were trying to solve. Other details like the training delivery mechanism, current (user) knowledge base, and the desired behavioural outcomes were also documented in the training needs analysis.
The next step was to 'design' the learning curriculum and training implementation plan.
Our design approach was 70:20:10 which meant:
- 70% learning through experience
- 20% learning through other’s experience
- 10% learning through training events with a defined learning objective.
This is another area in which we adapted our approach as we went, based on feedback from our people about what was working for them and what was not. For example, after the first release in February 2017 we refined our approach and included more time for informal and on-the-job learning, more tailored practice prior to go-live, and smaller groups for classroom-based training
Once the design had been completed, we moved on to 'developing' training solutions which included the learning content development, resourcing and logistics.
The 'implementation' step included delivery of training based on all the previous steps.
Finally, 'evaluation' formed an integral part of each step. It included post training evaluation in the ‘classroom’ to measure the learner’s confidence to apply their learnings. We also conducted post-implementation review and lessons learnt sessions.
Supporting people through organisational change
The executive leadership team led the top-down design for the new organisation, focusing on what we expected to be doing in future, rather than what we were doing at the time. The design team was made up of a mix of people with deep knowledge of Inland Revenue, supported by change managers.
Moving to a new organisation design, with fewer management layers, capability-based roles, and devolved decision-making was a critical part of our transformation. Although we were open and honest with our people from a very early stage about the changes that could be made, including being a smaller organisation at the end of the programme, the change process was still hard for people.
We worked closely with unions, investing time in consultation and engagement. We also brought our union colleagues into the design process, specifically around task-based and broader roles
Transformative changes are disruptive and at times emotionally traumatic for people – the soft stuff is the hard stuff. We expected that it would be hard, and at times, it was. We were careful to value the past but focus on the future.