In this interview, Fátima Martínez, an expert in digital transformation and change management, tells us what change management means for an SME, and the steps that must be taken to successfully implement digital transformation in an SME. She also explains how to make the return on investment or effort made in a change management strategy tangible.
- Every digital transformation is associated with a change in any company that must be properly managed. how would you define change management? what are its main objectives?
The main objective of change management is to modernize our company. That is to say, to put it at the starting point so that it is prepared for any situation and for what society demands. Because today it demands one thing, and tomorrow it may demand something completely different, and we must be prepared to manage this change as quickly as possible.
Digital transformation is associated with change management. Changing the traditional way of doing things, changing the "this has always been done this way and it has always worked".
- How to carry out an adequate change management in a small or medium-sized company, Is it really necessary? Who should lead it and in what way?
Once we have the tools, we must provide employees with training and information about the change we want to carry out.
Additionally, another of the fundamental aspects that must be developed in a correct change management is communication. Positive internal communication in which employees are informed of what is being carried out and what is going to happen within the company.
The first people who must be involved in change management, in order for it to be adequate, are the owners, shareholders, middle management and any agent who is related to the correct development of the company. If the leader is not involved and leads the change, it is likely that it will not work, since his attitude and motivation are the example for the employees to adopt the change with less resistance.
- In the case of having to develop a change management strategy in an SME, what do you consider to be the main actions to implement?
One of the first actions to implement is the knowledge of the current state of the company, how are we doing internally? We also need to know what the competition has done, so that they can give us ideas on how to manage change.
Once this analysis of the current situation has been carried out, we must develop a strategy, considering the objective to be achieved. The strategy will entail the development of a series of communication, information and training actions, which must then be measured to know the state of implementation and success of the strategy.
- What are the main risk factors associated with change in a company? How can they be corrected or tackled?
Every change has a series of risks associated with it. Mainly, we must talk about the resistance of employees to this change.
Companies and their employees are used to doing things in a way that has traditionally worked for them and this is the main cause of reluctance.
What happens? There are people who adopt change more easily, the "early adopters", then a large majority of people, who get carried away by these early adopters and finally the most reluctant to change, those who find it more difficult to adopt it. This is the biggest problem for companies and is where they have to make the greatest effort for the company to properly manage the change.
On the other hand, the change of tools or IT systems in a company is not simple and, for this, training must be carried out. In this way, adoption will be easier.
Finally, companies often suffer from a lack of communication, and this is a key tool for dealing with possible reluctance to change that may arise in a company.
- How can we measure or make tangible the return on investment or effort made in a change management strategy?
First of all, we must analyse and measure each of the actions we have implemented in our change strategy. In this way we will be able to see the results and make them tangible.
It may be more complicated at first to see the positive point of the change, because the results derived from the digital transformation may take time to arrive. At this point it is important to show success stories and demonstrate to employees how to reach the target, which will motivate employees and facilitate the achievement of benefits