Get access to the exclusive HR Resources you need to succeed in 2018!
SHRM board member David Windley discusses how unconscious bias can derail workplace diversity efforts.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 12 cities across the U.S. this spring.
#SHRM18 will expand your perspective – on your organization, on your career, and on the way you approach HR. Join us in Chicago June 17-20, 2018
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
NEW YORK—Have a solid strategy and create a step-by-step, integrated approach to change management while assessing your organization’s readiness for change, advised experts at a recent conference.
“If you don’t bring the users along, the project is likely to fail,” said Claire McCarthy, director of change management for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc., on Nov. 18 at a change management conference presented by The Conference Board.
McCarthy should know. In 2003, her company launched a six-year project—KP HealthConnect, the world’s largest civilian electronic medical records implementation to date. The $4 billion software installation, which required the retirement of hundreds of legacy systems and the launch of one consolidated system, should be completed in 2009.
Kaiser Permanente has 8.7 million members and partnerships with three separate but interdependent operating companies—Permanente Medical Group, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan/Hospitals and KP Unions. It employs about 160,000 workers, including 14,000 physicians, 92,000 union members and 41,000 nurses at more than 30 medical centers and 420 medical office buildings. Each of the three entities has its own structures, policies and procedures, which meant change had to be managed around 16 separate companies and 35 unions with multiple bargaining units, McCarthy explained.
One challenge was the lack of a common definition of change management across the organization and few change management resources for managers. McCarthy said that historically, emphasis was placed on changing systems and business processes, but little planning or resources were devoted to help implement change “until after problems occur.”
To tackle the challenge, change management and communication directors at Kaiser Permanente set up a national organizational readiness team, which was a “top down approach” with significant executive sponsorship and dedicated resources to address the people side of large systems change, McCarthy explained. Members came from “people-focused” areas such as change management/organizational development, training, communications, HR/workforce planning, unions and workflow/process harmonization.
Senior leadership quickly sanctioned the team and the term “organization readiness” was adopted. The group was charted to serve as a catalyst, convener and facilitator, to develop a common understanding of “user readiness,” to provide clarity and “connect the dots for users to create one story,” and to sequence activities in a way that was logical for users, McCarthy said.
For example, when determining whether someone was a “ready user,” the group considered whether the staff had basic computer skills, experience with KP HealthConnect’s basic functionality and understood the impact the implementation would have on their workflow.
McCarthy said organization readiness work was recognized companywide as being key to success. Even users who initially had difficulty with the system “eventually made it” and there were no union grievances resulting from the deployment, she said.
“Union involvement from the beginning of the project was critical,” McCarthy noted.
As demand for change management information grew, Kaiser Permanente developed an internal web site to support line managers and to move change management adoption into other areas, explained Rose B. Cohan, change practice leader for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan. The web site provides consistent tools, terms and processes.
Cohan said change is “rampant” at Kaiser Permanente, with more than 120 initiatives across marketing and sales. The web site averages 1,500 hits monthly. It also gives project, IT and business managers a better understanding of “linkage of change management into planning and implementation of initiatives,” Cohan said.
McCarthy said the “organization readiness” approach helped make Kaiser Permanente “much more collaborative and change savvy” and has been adopted by other large company initiatives. The speakers offered these change management tips:
Pamela Babcock is a freelance writer based in the New York City area.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Apply by March 23
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 3,200 companies