ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE READINESS ASSESSMENT GUIDE
Organizational Readiness Assessment, Templates & Tools | Everything You Need
This guide provides you with a step-by-step overview of best business change readiness practices, and includes everything you need for a successful organizational change readiness analysis in 2020.
First, What is a Change Readiness Assessment?
An organizational change readiness assessment is the set of tasks that you complete to identify how prepared an organization is for a particular change. The level of change readiness that is assessed will be based on the scale of the change itself, as well as the severity of the impacts.
When a business goes through change, the impacted audience groups need to be prepared and ready for the change. A large change with severe impacts will involve a more comprehensive business change readiness assessment than a change with minor impacts.
See Also: Change Readiness Assessment Template & Tool.
How Do You Improve Readiness for Change?
Every organization or group has its own unique characteristics that make change either easy or challenging to implement for that organization.
When conducting your business transformation readiness assessment (outlined in the sections below), it is important that you understand these unique organizational attributes, so that you can effectively prepare the organization for the change.
Image source: Pixabay (link at bottom of this page)
In addition, the findings from your business transformation change readiness assessment will allow you to better plan your change management activities, including communications, engagement, and training.
A group that is already resistant to a change or a group that feels overwhelmed with too much change will require a lot more change management than a group that is very receptive to change.
What Do You Assess When Conducting Your Change Readiness? (How to Conduct a Readiness Assessment)
How do you conduct a readiness assessment? What do you need to do to ensure you are performing a best-in-class readiness analysis?
Based on industry best practices and decades of change management experience, when conducting a readiness assessment you should analyze and document the factors listed below.
In conducting your business, leadership, organizational, or ADKAR change readiness assessment, you need to assess the below organizational characteristic for each impacted group.
List of Factors to Assess:
- Culture of the group
- Capacity for change (how much change is already taking place or has just taken place within the group)
- The managerial styles of managers within the group
- Future state knowledge, skill set, and proficiency of group members
- Positive or negative effects of previous projects or changes
- The group’s awareness and willingness to support the change
- The group’s readiness for the transition (how much effort will be needed to update job aids, procedures, policies, etc.)
In some situations, sending out a change readiness survey to assess a group’s readiness-to-change will be sufficient in understanding how ready that organization is for the change (More details on surveys below).
In other cases, you will need to conduct detailed readiness assessment workshops (in-person or online) and utilize a change management readiness assessment questionnaire and template to gather your information (details below).
You can use the change readiness assessment template and tool below for capturing information from your business readiness analysis.
Change Readiness Assessment Template & Tool
How to conduct a readiness assessment? See below for detailed procedures. In addition, you can click here to obtain our Change Readiness Assessment Template to use for your analysis.
DETAILED REVIEW OF EACH READINESS CRITERIA TO BE ASSESSED
This section provides you with a detailed overview of each change readiness criteria listed above.
Below this section is the Step-By-Step Process for Conducting a Readiness Assessment.
You can skip this detailed readiness criteria review section if you want, and just go directly to the step-by-step process further below.
Criteria 1: A Group’s Culture
A group’s culture comprises the values, behaviors and cumulative traits of the group. Some groups work together in a collaborate team-based manner, with employee participation on all levels, and they often cite collaboration as a key part of how they function. Such a group is known as having a collaborative culture. That’s their identity.
Other groups have a winner-takes-all culture and value, where collaboration is the exception, and individualism is the norm. Such a group is known to have a cut-throat culture.
Types of Group Culture
Factors that contribute to a group’s culture and value system include the group’s vision, norms, assumptions, beliefs, and leadership habits.
By considering culture and value when conducting your organizational readiness assessment, you can better predict how a group will act to the transformation, and plan accordingly to deal with such reactions.
Criteria 2: Assess Each Group’s Capacity for Change
At any point in time, a group might be undergoing a lot of change, not much change or in a state of having “no change at all”.
The state that a group is in will impact that group’s receptiveness or resistance to the change that your program is implementing. As such, when conducting your group, leadership, and individual change readiness assessment, you need to assess each group’s capacity for “one more change.”
Criteria 3: Assess Managers’ Styles
The leadership style observed within a group will play a key role in the group’s readiness to change, including how that business unit rallies around the change.
If the group has key managers that are more vocal than others, and have concentrated power, then engaging all managers, but focusing on these key managers and getting their buy-in will increase the probability that the whole group will end up supporting the change.
If on the other hand, power is more evenly distributed across the group, then you’ll want to adjust your engagement plans accordingly. As such, it is important that you take the time to conduct a managerial and leadership readiness assessment.
Criteria 4: Assess Positive or Negative Effects of Previous Change
Effects of previous transformations, projects, and changes will also have an impact on a group’s readiness for a business change.
A group that has a prior negative experience with changes will be less receptive to this new change, and a group with a positive change history will be more receptive to, and more ready for the change.
As part of your organizational, leadership or ADKAR readiness assessment, make sure to assess the effects of previous changes. For those groups that are less receptive to the change, you will need to utilize more change management engagement to get them on board. E.g. frequent meetings with the group to educate them on the benefits of the change as well as what’s in it for them (WIIFM).
Criteria 5: Assess Awareness and Willingness to Support the Change
Over the last decades, ongoing change management studies have shown that a lack of awareness is the number one reason why end-users including employees, managers, leaders, and external users resist a change.
Having awareness, and an understanding of the driving factors behind a change (for example: why now, what are the risks of not changing, what are the benefits, and “how am I impacted by the change?”) helps to increase the willingness of impacted and potentially impacted end-user to support the change, which subsequently helps to reduce resistance.
As such, a key component that you need to assess when conducting your organizational readiness assessment is the level of end-user awareness of the program/initiative/project and their willingness to support the change (stakeholder & end-user “buy-in”). Part of this process will involve assessing how ready and willing the managers within the groups are for the change.
Criteria 6: Analyze Knowledge Gaps
For an end-user to successfully transition from their current state to the target state (also known as the “To-Be” and the “Future” state), they need to have the necessary knowledge and skills. The current state is how a person performs his or her job today using the existing systems, tools, processes, and procedures.
With a transformational change, one or more of these components (job role, system, tool, process, and procedure) will be changing. The company might be moving to a new system, new tools, changing its operational business process, expanding to new locations or new products, transforming its existing job procedures, etc.
The people that will be impacted by this change, and who need to change how they do some or all of their daily job functions will need to be educated, trained with the right skill set, and given the opportunity to practice their new knowledge to develop proficiency.
To increase how ready each organization is for the transition, you need to also assess the current versus the future state knowledge and proficiency. This is known as the knowledge and proficiency gap. The wider the gap, the more training, education, and end-user practicing needs to be.
Criteria 7: Analyze Documentation Gaps
The level of effort needed to update a group’s documents (job aids, procedures, policies, process flows, and other operational documentation), as well as the level of training needed to educate a group’s employees on the updated and new documents will factor into each group’s readiness for the change.
If a group has an extensive number of documents that need to be updated or created from scratch, then from a documentation perspective, that group’s organizational readiness score will be lower than another group that does not have as many documents that need updating.
As such, as part of your organizational readiness assessment, you should spend some time identifying the number of existing documents that need to be updated or created from scratch, and this needs to be done for each impacted end-user group.
Enter your findings into a Documentation Matrix Database, and use that matrix to track the documentation update process. You can create the Matrix by yourself from scratch, or you view and obtain a Documentation Matrix Template from AGS.
STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS FOR CONDUCTING YOUR CHANGE READINESS REVIEWS
A lack of awareness about a change and a lack of desire to support a change are the top two factors why people resist a change, and why changes fail to achieve their objectives.
As such, the first stage in the readiness assessment process will be to gauge leadership, manager, and employees’ awareness of the change, and their willingness to support the business change.
Depending on the scope of your initiative, that audience will also include customers, vendors, suppliers, and other 3rd parties.
STAGE 1: Assess Awareness and Stakeholder Buy-In
-> Send out change readiness survey questionnaires to impacted internal users (employees and managers), external users, or to your targeted audience to assess awareness and willingness to support the change.
- You can use survey tools like Prosci ADKAR Dashboard, Qualtrics, SurveyMonkey, and Mentimeter to send out surveys.
- When you draft your survey, you should include questions that allow you to gauge ADKAR (Awareness, Desire to Support the Change, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement).
- For example: “On a scale of 1-5, how aware are you of the factors driving this change?”
-> Conduct 1-on-1 meetings or group meetings with managers and employees.
- As part of your meetings, you can directly ask people how aware they are of the change, how willing they are to support the change, how much knowledge they have of the future state, etc.
- As an alternative, or in addition, you can email them the change readiness questionnaires, and have them send you their responses to the email survey.
-> Interview your project managers, program leads, program managers, key managers, stakeholders, change agents, SMEs, and other identified resources who can provide insights into an organization’s culture and readiness for change.
While conducting your readiness analysis, it is essential that you use a change readiness assessment template. Preferably, the change readiness matrix you use should also come with a dashboard that allows you to easily glean insights and trends from your assessment.
You can create these readiness assessment templates, matrix, tools, and databases from scratch. In addition, you can review our Change Readiness Assessment, Monitoring & Management Tool to see if this is something that will be of value to you
-> Next, you should analyze your data, as well as the feedback you are gathering. Assess this information for trends, change readiness progression, and pockets of resistance.
-> Use your readiness assessment findings to develop your change management strategy. In a situation where a lot of the impacted groups are not ready for the change, your change strategy (including your communications, engagement, resistance management, coaching, and training) will need to be very comprehensive.
Documenting Your Findings:
Using the first four columns on our Readiness Assessment Template, you can easily capture the targeted audience information including the names of the assessed Divisions, Departments, and Groups.
As part of your organizational readiness assessment, you also want to track the “readiness progress” of each group over time to see whether there is improvement or deterioration in their readiness for the change. The figures below provide illustrative samples.
Screenshot from AGS Readiness Assessment Template.
Screenshot from AGS Readiness Assessment Template.
Knowledge, Skill Sets and Proficiency
For a change to be successful, impacted individuals need to learn how to use the target state processes and tools. As such, your readiness assessment should include assessing how impacted users are progressing with their transition.
You can document your findings on the Knowledge, Skills and Proficiency Levels’ fields on our readiness assessment matrix (example below).
Past Change Experiences
A group could have had both negative and also positive experiences with previous change programs. The level of negative and/or positive experience can greatly impact the group’s receptiveness or resistance to the change. As such, it is essential that you assess a group’s historical experience with changes.
STAGE 2: Conduct Readiness Assessment Workshops
In a lot of cases, you might be faced with a large scale change that has global or nationwide impacts.
In this case, it might be necessary that you go out on the road to the different geographic locations (roadshows and townhalls). However, to cut down on travel cost, you and your team can try to conduct a lot of these workshops via webinars using Business Skype, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex Teams, Webex, Jabber, etc.
The best ways to engage with people, and get the answers you need is via in-person or virtual workshops. This allows you to efficiently engage with end-users across different geographical locations, and across the organization to assess their readiness for change.
Each workshop/meeting should be broken into different sessions (each session can be 30 mins to 2 hours in duration). The sessions should include the below:
- Change Impacts Review
- Org Readiness & Documentation Gap Review
- Leadership & Employee Readiness Criteria
-> Change Impacts Review Workshop Sessions
As part of the Change Impacts Review session, you should conduct a “Walk-the-Flow” or “Walk-the-Wall” review, where you or a subject matter expert provides an overview of the change, or of future state process flows.
Most importantly, provide stakeholders and impacted end-users with an overview of the impacts and the change delta (the difference between the current state and the future state process flows).
The session to review the process flows can also include an overview of:
- The scope and magnitude of the change
- Impacted roles
- Impacted locations
- Type of change (process, system, policy, data, and org structure)
- Impacted groups
- Timing of impacts
-> Add a Session to Identify Org Readiness & Documentation Gaps:
Another session should be spent on asking questions to identify skill set, knowledge and documentation gaps:
- Understand current skill sets and knowledge
- Understand each group’s documentation gaps (i.e. job aides and business procedures, policies, process guidance)
- As part of this section, you should discuss and get a list of existing documents that need to be updated, as well as getting an understanding of which new documents (procedures, job aids, policies, etc.) need to be created from scratch. Use a Documents’ Matrix to capture the input. You can create the Matrix template by yourself from scratch, or you view and obtain a Documentation Matrix Template from AGS.
- Discuss each group’s preferences for training, communications, and other change management delivery.
-> Add a Session to Assess Leadership & Employee Readiness Criteria:
Another session should involve discussing and assessing each group’s
- Culture and value system
- Capacity for change
- Group manager(s) styles
- Positive or negative effects of previous projects or changes
You should develop a list of agenda discussion topics that will help drive these end-user sessions. As an alternative, you can view AGS’s Org. Readiness Assessment Tool, which includes a step-by-step template for conducting your readiness assessment sessions, as well as a 360-degree advance dashboard which provides you with a holistic view of your organizational readiness output.
You can use the change readiness assessment template and tool below for capturing information from your business readiness analysis. Don’t hesitate to email us if you have any questions or requests.
Change Readiness Assessment Template & Tool
Click here: Change Readiness Assessment Template for a tool to use when conducting your organizational readiness preparation and analysis.
Image source(s): https://pixabay.com/illustrations/refugees-economic-migrants-1020274/, https://pixabay.com/illustrations/refugees-economic-migrants-1020164/, https://pixabay.com/illustrations/burnout-depression-depressed-lonely-90345/, https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-touching-blue-sticky-note-1532191/, https://pixabay.com/photos/time-for-a-change-new-ways-letters-3842467/, https://pixabay.com/illustrations/laptop-notebook-man-businessman-1071781/
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