In a world where change is the only constant, ensuring your business has the tools to adapt and successfully embrace change is a priority. In the insurance industry, tight timelines, lack of resources, and small budgets often cause insurers to undergo complex business transformations without a thorough change management plan in mind. The champions of change share how proper leadership engagement, communication, and training are critical for sponsors to deliver when executing transformational change.
The first step toward business readiness is cultivating deep sponsor and stakeholder engagement. This begins by working with leadership to define their goals and vision of the project. Once stakeholders understand the end goal and benefits, they will reap from a project, they can begin designing a roadmap for change. The roadmap should identify the current state of how the stakeholders are operating and provide a framework of what needs to be done to prepare the organization for change. During this period of goal setting, the business should identify “change champions” who are key stakeholders that who will help guide the organization through change. Once a thorough analysis is done of the current state, sponsors can understand how prepared stakeholders are and begin to implement the next segment: training.
We recommend tailoring training plans to the specific needs of the people and processes affected by the project. Providing pre-work in the form of short e-learning models and self-study goals for specific topics that are more complex, are good ways of preparing participants prior to classroom or virtual training sessions. The days of full day/week, in-person training is over!
In some cases, an “early look” or test drive of new systems may be helpful to get a taste of new technologies before they are fully implemented. The sooner the people who are going to be using the new systems get accustomed to the upcoming changes, the better. An early look at the new systems provides an opportunity for the leaders of change to listen to employee pain points, which emphasizes the importance of the next segment, communication.
Building business readiness is incomplete without a sustained communication strategy based on persistency and transparency. Feedback circles and focus groups should follow the “early look” at new systems so employees can ask questions. This approach indicates to employees that leaders of change want employees to be involved in the incremental improvements and not feel left behind. Even before a system test drive, we recommend conducting group interviews to listen to and anticipate concerns. With this knowledge, the change management team can provide clarity or alter communication strategies where necessary.
In addition to the opportunities presented by interviews and focus groups, we suggest a top-down communication approach from the start that clearly articulates the vision of the project. The best communication strategy includes frequent checkpoints and clear status reports at each stage of the project.
In order to support transformational organizational change, having comprehensive communication strategies, emphasizing experiential L&D and promoting collaboration between varying levels is critical. This will ensure you are building a flexible environment that can maintain a competitive advantage in a digitally transforming market.
We have guided numerous leading insurers through complex transformations , and we can attest that the key element to successful transformations was active and consistent change management. Our specialty in digital transformation has enabled steady and efficient implementation of change while consistently demonstrating leadership engagement, communication, and training. Whether an insurer is implementing new technology, improving current processes, or launching a new capability, change management is essential to ensuring the successful adoption of new initiatives.
(The author Kristina Beckwith is Senior Manager, NEOS, Capco and the views expressed in this article are her own)