Remember the “People-side” When You Re-engineer Process

We’ve all heard the buzz words- “re-engineering”, “process improvement”, “Six Sigma.” Change is hard- and it takes a lot of work! Today’s business environment demands greater efficiency, innovation and cost control. Companies are challenged to advance quality and set up metrics and measurable goals to track business process improvement. But they often forget a critical component- their people.

Successful leaders blend change management (the “people side of change”) with project management to attain paramount results. It’s critical to clearly outline a framework and roadmap for the change initiative – mapping out who is impacted by the new processes, how their role and responsibilities will change and what behaviors will make them successful. Some key considerations are –

Engaging employees

The extent to which you engage employees in the business of change is directly tied to the speed of adoption and ultimately the utilization of new processes. Employees need to buy-in to the leader’s vision of the new way of working and engage to move to the future state. Several companies have found “story telling” to be an effective vehicle for engaging employees and communicating change. Consider posting short video clips of employees sharing their successful transformation. Be deliberate and thoughtful in the way you integrate touch points to reinforce the change after the initial kick-off.

Crucial conversations

Successful change management depends upon honest, unencumbered dialogue. Organizations change one person at a time and leaders need to be willing to have crucial coaching conversations on multiple levels to keep projects on track. You will need to coach managers to dig deep and move beyond the typical conversations around time, resources and budgets to get to the core issues around changing behavior.

Realign rewards and incentives

Creating sustainable behavior change often requires a change in the way that employees are rewarded. I recently worked with a company that touted “teamwork” but rewarded individual “rock star” performance. They realigned their employee incentive program to weight team performance higher in annual reviews, which yielded the desired result of a collaborative environment.

Project teams often ignore the people side of change as they focus on the technical aspects of their solution. Is your company applying a change management framework to complement project management? What tips do you have for managing the “people side” of change? I look forward to your comments.

Posted in

Lisa Bonner

Lisa Bonner is an experienced change agent and Senior Vice President with Roberts Golden Consulting. She helps global Fortune 500 companies solve organizational issues and manage major changes to drive achievement of bold business objectives. Lisa is passionate about football, fitness, decorating and raising twin boys. Connect with Lisa.

Reader Interactions


  1. Larry Savage says

    Great post Lisa! It’s crazy how often process improvement efforts forget the human component, which (assuming the change is at least somewhat positive!) is the key component to actual adoption.

    One thing to add would be Change Champions – people in the organization who understand the change and are (legitimately!) passionate about it. I would distinguish this from Managers (instructed their job of ensuring their team performs the new process) – these should be people who genuinely understand and are excited to share the benefits.

    Another one might be the Human lessons learned – especially with organization changes (e.g., re-orgs) the people-pains are very similar/predictable (updating materials, shifting internal websites around, redefining/clarifying roles & responsibilities) so we can factor those in to change management rather than be surprised.

    You rock & thanks for representing the People!


  1. […] We spend so much time focusing on finding the right candidate for the position that we fail to consider the candidate experience during the hiring process.  As a recruiter or hiring manager, have you been on the other side of the table lately?  This past summer, I decided to find out in six weeks what the current hiring practices were within various organizations.  The experience included the good, the bad, and the ugly.  What I titled The Sherlock Holmes project was an incredible way to find out how effective competitors, along with other industries, are treating their prospective candidates.  The following are 3 common practices I found in highly effective hiring teams and why every company should implement them into the companies recruitment process. […]


Pin It on Pinterest