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  • Writer's pictureLata Hamilton

Change FAQs: The True Cost of Change Management Webinar

Last year, I partnered with Change Management and Communications recruitment expert Alex Smith from Talenza for an interactive and insights-filled lunchtime webinar on calculating the true cost of Change Management.


The webinar was designed for leaders, talent and recruiters to explore the trends we're seeing in the Change industry as we move into 2024, and how to set transformations up for success by retaining Change expertise and value, even when project budgets are stretched.


Below are a bunch of FAQs that you might have if you joined us for the LinkedIn Live.



** Missed the webinar? ** You can watch the free replay here and the interactive survey which will feed into a complimentary Future of Change white paper you'll receive.


Size Matters Replay Thumbnail


Now, onto the questions:


Q. Do you think there should be separate teams for Business Analysis, Change Management, Project Management etc – or should it be one ‘combined’ team with 1 BA, 1 Change Manager, 1 Change Analyst, 1 Project Manager etc?


If we're talking about all the transformation, project and change resources in a function/business unit/organisation, then it's up to you if you want to have separate practices or if you want to bundle all the skillsets and specialisations together in one team. Either way (and this is the more important part): build awareness and appreciation of all the skillsets. Teach BAs what a Changie does, and let Change Managers know what PMs take care of. Don't assume that every specialist understands how it works in that team.


I remember going to an Intro to UX night at General Assembly several years ago and it was just so eye-opening to properly understand what a User Experience (UX) designer is, their skillsets, how they go about their work, and how you can best partner them. Evermore, I've shouted from the rooftops how valuable UX designers are, and funny story - that's actually what sparked the idea for my Intro to Change Management webinar!


If we're talking about on one specific project, then absolutely all these professionals would usually become a combined "core team": PM, Change, BA, plus adding in any other specialists detailed in the webinar. What a dream team!



Q. How would you identify a good slashie who can utilise all their skills, compared to someone who is jack/jill of all trades but master of none?


Through the examples and stories they are able to tell about how they used their diverse skills in different situations. We call these "behavioural questions" and you really want to keep an ear out for real practical demonstration and explanation, not just buzz words or talking through the theoretic process or model. My add? When someone has actually used their diverse skills AND enjoys using them, there'll be a passion and an energy as they talk through their experiences. Attitude is everything!



Q. What are other roles in the Change family or close to that are bucking the trend?

At the moment, I'm seeing lots of Strategy roles and Project Management roles being hired as contract roles.



Q. When can we expect the Change market to pick up?

From the survey respondents, general consensus seems to be early 2024. In past years, it will likely get busy from March but savvy hiring managers will start advertising from late January/early February to get Change talent in place well before projects launch.



Q. With COVID - people have learned the benefits of flexibility - will this convert into contracting being more desirable?


I'm a huge advocate of contracting, I believe it's how we'll see more roles structured in the future of work, and I really encourage the students on my Leading Successful Change program to consider it as a path of employment. Contracting is a much more flexible way of working, but it takes courage to leave the "perceived" stability of permanent employment. I say "perceived" because... well, I've never been out of a job when I was contracting!



Q. I have a question, I'm also seeing some candidates who are less willing to move towards fixed term or permanent arrangements. They like the diversity that contract roles present. What would be another key pull factor that you didn't mention before to move towards perm arrangements?


Contracting provides a fantastic opportunity to have variety, growth and challenge. And your best talent are looking for that - it's often why they're working in transformation and change in the first place! If you're a leader who is keen to get their contractors to consider permanent arrangements, really be strategic and potentially build one or more of these options into the offer:

  • Salary and benefits - make it worth their while!

  • Variety from the outset i.e. "We'll ensure we move you to a new project every 3-6 months so you get variety and the opportunity to work with different teams and parts of the business."

  • Part-time work arrangements such as 3 days per week - they can pick up some freelance or consulting work on the other days to hit that variety thirst, I've submitted Secondary Employment requests before when I've been on fixed term.

  • Shorter fixed term with a higher pay - i.e. 8 months may be more appealing than 12 months!

  • Paid training in future of work skillsets like: Agile, automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), data science, data visualisation, visual facilitation, UX, Customer Journey Mapping, my Leading Successful Change program, etc.



Q. What metrics do you use to evaluate the size of the project team? Budget? No. of processes/transaction volume? Are there any trends towards the establishment of a scorecard to determine the size of the Change team?


This is an amazing question and I certainly know of Enterprise Change functions that do have basic ready reckoners around how many Change resources there are, and which projects get Change support and at what capacity (100%, 50%, 25%). You often won't know enough about the change in the early stages to use something like "transaction volume". Instead you can make decisions based on:

  • How many business units are involved the change?

  • What's the scale of the change - how many people are impacted?

  • What types of change will there be in the transformation - technology, process, operating model, behaviours, skills, etc.?

There's so many variables to help you decide!


My guidance would be to start from a different place. It's not about how many resources you have - it's about the outcome you want to achieve and the experience you want people to have. This will determine the type and number of specialists you bring in. For example, after properly scoping a change and being outcome- and experience-led, you might find that it's better to trade 3 x Change Managers for a Change Manager, a Process Analyst, a Comms Specialist and a Project Coordinator, and draw on some internal resources to help with UX and Training. It all comes down to scoping well - and scoping in this case doesn't just mean size or scale, but instead is complexity, change risk, and the vision you have for the change. It might be ironic for me as a Change expert to saying that... but I know having an amazing Process Analyst or Ops Lead can lead to a much more successful and embedded change!



Q. Lata, you're a Change Management Consultant. What is the difference between Change contracting and Change consulting?


If you're a Permanent / Fixed Term or Day Rate Contractor, you're essentially an employee and you'll usually have set days, set pay, and be paid in arrears (after you've worked the time). I go through all of this in more detail in my Intro to Change Management webinar.



The benefit to the Project or Business Leader is that you can build out a team, you get a guaranteed workforce sitting ready and waiting, you can manage your budget better with the types of salaries and day rates offered in the employment market, and you can retain capability in the organisation if the person stays long-term or rolls their contract.



But the costs can be that you're stuck paying people even when project work dries up, that you get coasters in your team who don't want to DO any actual work or add real practical fit-for-purpose value (and it's actually pretty hard to lay people off in Australia... performance management or redundancy, take your pick), and in the case of contractors - they move on and take their mad Change skills with them (though sometimes even contractors aren't the cream of the crop...).




Which brings us to independent Change Consultants:



As a self-employed consultant you can create your own packages and prices, work to your own schedule, decide if you want to bill some of your work upfront or afterwards, charge rates in line with the consulting market (rather than the employment market), and lift yourself out of the office politics and endless project meetings to work with multiple clients and have broader impact. If you'd like to learn how to set up your own independent Change Management consultancy, come along to my Instant Change Consultant Retreat in November 2024 - click here for more information.



For clients, this works because you get someone super experienced and expert who can deliver high quality at speed, with higher pay but for short bursts or outcome-based packages, and you get an external trusted advisor who sits outside the business who can influence into the Board, C-Suite, and Senior Leadership, provide alternative viewpoints and approaches, and support and coach you as a leader leading change. Plus - what I personally love to do, which is build Change Capability for you and your teams and leave that valuable skill in your organisation.



The biggest challenge with independent Change Consultants like me is that we're so good that we're super busy. So if you want our help - be sure to engage us early on. I'm setting up my client pipeline for 2024 now, so contact me ASAP for a confidential chat if you want Change Services or Change Capability - click here to get in touch with me.



So...

If you still haven't watched the webinar, click here to watch it. The FAQs will make so much more sense! And can't wait to hear your thoughts in the interactive survey because this Future of Change white paper is going to be EPIC!




Lata Hamilton is a Change Leadership expert and the creator of Leading Successful Change, a 6-week course that will grow your confidence to lead change end-to-end so you can have the influence and impact you want. Find out more and register for the program here.

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