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INTERVIEW: Driving user adoption with effective change management

A lot of the work we do is around implementing new technology platforms. We work with our clients to understand their business and to implement solutions that deliver new capabilities and efficiencies.

But deploying those platforms is just the first part of the the solution. The other part and arguably the harder part is the change management that supports the tech rollout.

In this article we sit down and pick the brain of Amanda Vinten, a highly experienced Change Management Consultant who has been a key player in a number of large change programs, on the key elements of an effective change program.

Tell us a bit about you, your experience and what has drawn you towards change management?

I am originally from a place called Swindon in the UK, 130 km west of London. Swindon is on the map for mainly two reasons:

  1. TV Show The Office has a Swindon branch and

  2. The magic roundabout (5 mini roundabouts in 1 which is as crazy as it sounds).

I started out my career in global Internal Communications at Intel before moving to Sydney in 2014. I joined a large program at AMP to work on project communications and got to work with a lot of skilled Change Managers and I thought this is something I would like to get into. My first Change Management role was at CBA in 2015 and looking back, this was a very steep learning curve! Over the past 8 years I've predominantly worked in Financial Services and Retail. My most challenging role to date was the year ‘off’ I had when my daughter was born in 2020!

How do you generate initial interest?

People always want to know what problem is being solved and understand why they need to do something differently. Use cases can highlight the need for change as they cement the ‘what’s in it for me?’ which is important for getting people on board.

How do you build momentum?

I think the best way to build momentum is getting the word out there as much as you can by communicating frequently and strategically. In the past when working on a program to launch a new (internal) mobile app, I ran roadshow events across different sites to demonstrate app functionality and make clear the ‘why’. In our post-Covid world, this could still work virtually with some adaptations. Identifying the right leader to champion the change will also help build momentum.

How do you get a laggard onboard?

This is where a change champion network can really help as well as getting leader support to validate the change. It’s important to listen to concerns of the laggards and highlight to them how the change will benefit them day-to-day. Stats can work well with this group too.

What is the difference between a rollout that sticks and one that doesn’t?

It’s important to plan activities to reinforce the change. Giving a voice to the groups who are impacted by the change is important - so seek feedback. This isn’t to say you have to act on every single piece of feedback but it’s important for people to feel heard. Support from leadership is also crucial in sustaining a change.

When do you know you are done?

When you are initially planning for the change you will likely have a deadline which you need to be aware of. If it’s a big program, the deadline could be several years away. The only real way to know you’re done is to define success measures when planning the change and ensure you measure throughout the project - you could do this through focus groups, employee surveys, financial metrics.

These days we are always adapting and the pace of change is much quicker so the ‘new’ future state is unlikely to be around for long.

What’s the best bit of advice to someone who might be starting out on a change management program?

  • If you are new to change then take time to build your network and try to find an experienced change practitioner who may agree to mentor you

  • Ask around and make sure you leverage any change community of practice set up in your organisation

  • At the start of any program you need to be asking lots of questions (even if you think they’re silly), to get your head around what is happening and why

If you would like to get in touch with Amanda, you can connect with her on LinkedIn.

Amanda Vinten is an experienced organisational change management and communications specialist who has spent the past 12 years working across the Technology, Financial Services and Retail sectors both in Australia and the UK.

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