A Complete Framework for Measuring Change Results

Measuring change results is a fundamental step in the change management process.

But how do you measure change results? 

And what areas are important to focus on?

In this article, we will answer both of these questions – but first, let’s start with a more fundamental question…

Why Measure Change Results at All?

Measuring change management efforts is important for several reasons:

  • Measurement allows change managers to gain insight into the performance of a program
  • Stakeholders, managers, and executives can see the ROI of the change program for themselves
  • Metrics and performance data can be used to further refine the program, identify growth opportunities, and make adjustments

Change management, like any other business investment, should be built around performance, data, and measurement.

A Process for Measuring Change Results 

Below we will explore a repeatable process that can be used for measuring the change results of any process. 

Set goals and objectives

A change plan forms the starting point for measurement.

From that plan, change managers can develop:

  • Aims
  • Goals
  • Objectives

And these will become the basis for the actual performance indicators.

Establish metrics and KPIs

Metrics and KPIs are quantifiable indicators used to track and measure performance.

These should be directly connected to the goals and objectives established above.

In change management, are several performance levels to measure:

  • Organizational 
  • Individual 
  • Change management 

For instance:

  • A change effort focused on improving sales productivity would monitor specific metrics tied to program objectives such as time-to-close or other sales numbers
  • A product adoption effort would track metrics such as employee proficiency, software utilization, and time-to-competency
  • Other metrics, common to all change efforts, would revolve around employee sentiment, employee productivity, speed of execution, and so forth

Of course, creating these metrics is only one step – next, the change project must be implemented.

Implement the change and collect data

To track the metrics created, it is necessary to create data collection mechanisms, which can include:

  • Employee surveys
  • Software analytics
  • Employee performance data
  • Financial performance indicators

Over time, those metrics will offer insight into the health of the change effort, what is working, and what needs fixing.

Analyze, learn, and adjust

Generally speaking, it takes time to learn from data collection and analysis, especially in the case of change projects, which take time to implement.

In some cases, large errors or discrepancies may evidence themselves from the outset of a program. If employee resistance presents a problem, for instance, early employee feedback and performance numbers will likely indicate this.

Since change managers must rely on data to drive their efforts, they should be prepared to make course corrections as needed.

This means:

  • Implementing agile change management practices
  • Boosting the organization’s change readiness
  • Ensuring that employees are fully engaged and supportive 
  • Keeping a tight loop between real-world data and change tactics

Staying responsive and adaptalbe can be a key determiner of success.

Rinse and Repeat

A change program should be continually evaluated to ensure that it is performing appropriately.

To keep projects on target, change managers should be ready to repeat all of the aforementioned steps.

If necessary, this can mean re-engineering the change project itself, by shifting the goals, objectives, metrics, and so on.

The more agile and responsive the change management approach, however, the easier it will be to make improvements based on the measurements covered here.

What to Measure

Here are three levels to focus on in change projects:

Organizational Objectives

Organizational change programs are typically designed to improve organizational effectiveness, which is why organizational performance indicators should be a central point of focus.

Areas to measure include:

  • Targeted organizational performance indicators
  • Change management effectiveness and efficiency
  • Adherence to deadlines and the change project 
  • KPIs for targeted business functions

These indicators can be used as a baseline for the overall effectiveness of the project itself.

However, organizational performance metrics are not enough – to gain true insight into the program, it is as important to measure employee performance. 

Employee Performance Indicators

Change management frameworks focus on change at the individual level – and for good reason.

Employees themselves are the ones who drive a change program, so their cooperation and support can determine the outcomes of a change project.

If employees fail to support a change effort, it can fizzle out before it even starts.

If they are engaged and motivated, however, then the project’s outcomes will reflect that.

Here are a few metrics to focus on:

  • Proficiency
  • Productivity
  • Compliance
  • Engagement and buy-in
  • Sentiments such as satisfaction and frustration

Metrics such as these can help change managers gain insight into the effectiveness of their efforts. 

They can also be used to refine many other areas of the change project, from employee training to the communications strategy.

Change Management Effectiveness

Finally, it is important to measure the change program itself.

Measurements such as the following can offer even more insight into program health:

  • Communication effectiveness
  • Project KPIs and metrics
  • Adherence to project deadlines
  • Overall project outcomes
  • Impact of project outcomes on organizational performance

It is important to measure at least these three areas in order to gain a complete perspective on the impact of change efforts.

When change managers take an approach that is driven by data, they will create programs that are relevant, productive, and profitable.

Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.