At last year’s ReIimagineHR conference, Garnter estimated that the average organization has undergone five enterprise changes in the past three years. Seventy-three percent of organizations expect more change initiatives in the next few years, and only a small minority expects the pace of change to decelerate. Unfortunately, many organizations fail to implement change effectively. In fact, only a third of change efforts are a success, 16% show mixed results, and half are clear failures.

The rate of change is impressive. The conference also revealed that, on average, employees now experience three major changes each year, compared to just 1.75 in 2012. To help employees, many enterprises have turned to change management.

Change Management Enables Work

Change management plays an essential role in driving the individual behavioral changes required to realize the potential of the digital workplace. Change management in itself changes the legacy work mindset because it approaches the employee as a stakeholder in the process of transformation instead of merely a resource that is affected.

Effective change management programs seek to proactively engage employees in the process of transformation, according to David Verhaag, the founder of Olifano. It does this by creating awareness and a desire to change, empowering the employee with the knowledge and capabilities to effect the change and reinforcing the employee's value in the process to ensure the change is enduring. This is a dramatic change from a legacy way of working where leaders would simply make changes and expect employees to adapt and adopt new processes and technology.

Bill Kirst, a senior manager of the operations excellence practice with West Monroe Partners, a consulting firm focused on organizational change management for technology-driven change, said by adopting a growth mindset and letting go of a fixed mindset teams will appreciate the role modeling done by IT leaders to seek and understand wider perspectives to bring about growth. Challenge the status quo by inviting ideas shared through innovation channels for continuous feedback and encourage creativity and experimentation. But how to begin? There are three main steps.

Related Article: Change Management: The Key to Successful Digital Transformations

1. Digital Strategy

Organizations should start first by experimenting with defining your digital strategy and any approach to digital transformation partnerships in order to determine a criteria list. The asked-and-answered criteria will likely shift in importance depending on which step of the digital transformation process they are in.

2. Test-and-Learn

They should then focus on moving your culture toward one that celebrates “test-and-learn,” to allow for adaptation without turning operations into lab experiments.

3. Customer-centric Approach

Make sure to take a customer-centric approach to using technology and use digital transformation to solve true business problems, delivering actual outcomes and not just delivering a new technology. In practical terms, this means focusing on a few key projects. “In the business, pick a few key projects that align to your digital vision and pilot new capabilities, new technologies and new ways of working. Tap leaders and influencers (change agents) to demonstrate the power of achieving a digital growth mindset. Celebrate idea generation and experimentation that contributes to employee engagement and enterprise learning,” Kirst said.

Related Article: How to Adapt Traditional Change Management for Digital Transformation Initiatives

Innovation Across Multiple Dimensions

It’s a good bet that most organizations leaders would agree that business model transformation demands innovation across multiple dimensions. Orchestrating the interplay of people, process and technology to continually bring new value to customers is an immense challenge, both strategically and operationally, said Camille Nicita, the CEO and president of consumer intelligence agency Gongos.

Learning Opportunities

A core reason why customer-centricity has traditionally been difficult to systematize is because no single organizational functional area has had ownership of it. The recent rise of the chief customer officer is a significant step toward the cultural transformation required to orient corporate teams such as marketing, innovation, product development and operations around the customer. However, the larger and more established an organization is, the more it is weighted down by its legacy structure.

The results that these organizations embark on are fragmented approaches to understand and engage with their customers. It's not surprising, then, that they engage partners in a similarly disjointed fashion.

Data analytics firms provide the expertise and bandwidth to address big data challenges. Consumer insights companies bring forth understanding and market knowledge. Management consulting firms address strategic and organizational design needs. Creative agencies support corporate and brand communications. Customer experience companies provide "voice of the customer" platforms for measuring the customer journey and experience. “At the end of the day, however, this scattershot approach hinders decision-making power, and takes a significant toll on organizations both financially and operationally,” she said.

The most effective intelligence business model brings the disciplines of data science, communication design, consumer insights and analytics, strategic consulting, customer experience, change management and innovation consulting under one roof. By weaving these often-isolated disciplines together, organizations can engage with one firm to consult, execute and drive organizational change to fuel growth and ultimately create a more reciprocal relationship with consumers.

The Evolving Digital Workplace

The digital workplace is constantly evolving and we’ve reached a point where the number of tools and resources for employees to get their jobs done is at an all-time high. On top of that, the number of remote and deskless workers continues to grow. As a result, organizations are faced with constant change. In fact, Brian McDowell of SocialChorus pointed out that change management teams are forced to spend a lot of time figuring out how to implement the “soft side” of organizational changes, going over the goals and objectives, strategy and tactics, and basic changes to roles and processes.

When approaching a major organizational change, however, it is crucial to have all employees and stakeholders on the same page. This comes down to having the right technology in place to effectively communicate what the change will be, why the change is necessary, and the impact both within and outside of the organization.

“Rather than keeping employees in the dark, leaders need to be transparent about why the change is essential and how it will affect employees’ roles and lives. This is even more critical in today’s digital workplace where how we work is constantly changing,” he said.