Three Change Management Tips for Executives
For carriers starting their digital transformation, taking the time to find the right solution that will create value for your organization is a worthwhile investment. You don’t want to waste that time and effort, so creating a change management strategy is critical when implementing new technology.
Executives play an important role in change management. In my experience, an executive sponsor’s impact on a project and new technology’s success in their organization is significant. According to Prosci’s Best Practices in Change Management, projects with an executive sponsor have about an 85 percent success rate. Implementation becomes an uphill battle without an executive sponsor and the completion rate drops to about 25 percent.
Here are the three ways executives can support and ensure a smooth digital transformation.
Tip #1: Understand and Champion the Change
First, executives must understand the value and potential impact of a new solution.
“Two of our customers in particular, Electric Insurance and Vermont Mutual, have both high opt-in rates and engaged case rates,” said Shari McGrath, SVP of Customer Success at Hi Marley. “What’s their secret? The magic with both carriers is their engaged leadership and supervisor teams who know how Hi Marley can help achieve their organizations’ goals. It’s that simple and makes a huge difference.”
The executive role goes beyond attending a kickoff meeting or signing off on a budget. Executives must be visible throughout the process, stay with the teams who are impacted by the change and serve as a resource people can go to for support.
When leadership sees value in a solution and can clearly explain why their organization should use it, more people will be open to change.
Tip #2: Set Clear Expectations
Before committing to a new solution, leadership should model what a day in the life of the employee will look like after the change, so they can set clear expectations and detail how the technology will empower and benefit them.
“Every organization is different, but from my experience at Westfield, people are our most important asset,” said Jason Bidinger, Claims Process Leader at Westfield Insurance. “It’s important to consider the impact on the team; are you gaining efficiencies through automation? Or are you creating additional effort and expense, maybe even expense elsewhere? Focus on the impact on your people first.”
Leadership needs to give people a path to why this change is happening, what’s in it for them and what advantages the employees will gain from the solution and the journey they’re about to embark on.
For instance, ACG works with internal stakeholders and vendors to develop a project plan that sets clear expectations for change management. Leadership identifies anyone who will be impacted by the change and brings them into conversations early on. According to Lori Pon, ACG’s former Director of Claim Strategy and Innovation, “being inclusive throughout the process creates a better chance for success, so it’s necessary to think about organizational change management and the cadence of changes from beginning to end.”
Tip #3: Serve as a Resource for Employees Impacted by Transformation
In my 30+ years in insurance, I’ve evaluated, selected and deployed numerous Insurtech products designed to improve the customer experience and reduce expenses. When leading digital transformations across various organizations, I traveled with something called a “why box.” I’d put the box in the middle of the room, and before we engaged in any digital transformation effort, I would take anonymous questions.
People would submit their questions in the box. There were a lot of questions as to “why are we doing this” but also specific questions about the process and expectations as to what would happen. Helping employees understand the role and purpose of a new solution is so important for job satisfaction and retention.
My best advice is to provide a clear message about the transformation journey, explain what it’s going to look like with honesty and remain open-minded to any questions from your organization.