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Change Management & Communications ROI Study Highlights

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Towers Watson recently published their 2011/2012 Change and Communication ROI Study Report. Unlike their four previous reports, which focused solely on communications ROI, in this study they expanded their inquiry to include change management. This study encompassed 604 organizations, six global regions, and more than eight industries, and provided new insight into the role that effective change and communication processes play in global organizations today.

Many of the Towers Watson findings are consistent with our experience working with large companies on their business transformation efforts. Companies that manage change effectively are more likely to have a formal, systematic process and a dedicated staff and they typically involve internal communicators earlier in the decision-making process, while the company is identifying a challenge or opportunity and considering possible approaches to address the required change.

Here are a few of the findings from the Towers Watson study we thought were interesting

  • Effective communication and financial performance are strongly related: Companies that are highly effective at communication are 1.7 times as likely to outperform their peers. The research confirms that effective communication is an important element of change management, and if both are done well, there is a stronger relation with financial performance. Companies highly effective at both communication and change management are 2.5 times as likely to outperform their peers as companies that are not highly effective in either area.
  • When compared to companies with low change and communication effectiveness, firms that are highly effective at change management are nearly five times as likely to create an integrated communication and change management strategy — and more than eight times as likely to continue to exhibit new behaviors and use new skills after changes are made.
  • During change, organizations with highly effective change management provide clarity for employees about the rationale for change and what the change will mean for them. Employees look to the company to put organizational and benefit changes into perspective and to tell them what they need to do differently to succeed. Highly effective communicators say more, not less.
  • No matter how big the change you have ahead, effective change management processes, including communication, can have a significantly positive impact on your overall chances
    for success
    . The data show that the organizations with the best change management are more likely to have a formal, systematic process and a dedicated staff that includes the internal communication function, as illustrated in the chart to the right (click to enlarge).In this chart, highly effective companies represent the top third of the study participants, with the highest overall communication effectiveness or change effectiveness scores based on their responses to the survey items that measure these areas. Less effective companies represent the bottom third of participants, with the lowest overall effectiveness.

Click here to visit the Towers Watson site where you can download the full study.

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Jesse Jacoby
The Editor of Emergent Journal and founder of Emergent, Jesse is a recognized expert in business transformation. He and his team partner with Fortune 500 and mid-market companies to deliver successful people and change strategies. Jesse is the creator of the Accelerating Change & Transformation (ACT) model and developer of Change Accelerator and Savvy Transition. Contact Jesse at 303-883-5941 or jesse@emergentconsultants.com.

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