No one likes change. BCforward is softening the blow.
Whether it’s new leadership, new software, a new office location, or a whole new method of operating, few of us run toward change with our arms outstretched like long-lost lovers.
“It doesn’t really matter if the change is big or small, if your people don’t buy into it, it’s not going to work,” said Andrea Bartlett, vice president of digital strategy and transformation at BCforward. “Change is always with us, but in the last 18 months or so, change has been so prevalent that it’s driven us to provide a new service offering.”
Headquartered in Indianapolis, BCforward is a global staffing agency with nearly 6,500 employees that work with hundreds of companies, some with an even larger global footprint. They’re known primarily for their ability to provide diverse and exceptional talent for tech and other industries. But they have a growing consultancy arm where they don’t just help companies secure the workforce they need: they help them retain those workers.
The company has grown because founder Justin Christian saw a need and filled it. The new Organizational Change Management (OCM) service is another example of that action: answering a need for help with organizational change. It started off as part of BCforward‘s project management office, but this year the company decided to make it its own service.
“We knew there would be demand for the service, but we had no idea how right COVID would make us,” Andrea said. “We want to treat change like a marketing campaign—communicated effectively and fostering a sense of belonging to increase employee participation.”
According to change management leader Prosci, a good change management strategy can have a big impact—projects with excellent change management are 6 times as likely to succeed as projects without a change management plan. The OCM industry was valued at $1.35B in 2019. Fueled in part by the pandemic, it is projected to reach $3.91B by 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 14.20% from 2020 to 2027, according to Verified Market Research.
The organizational changes Andrea anticipates managing for clients include shifting from waterfall to Agile methodology, changing operating systems, changing digital marketing platforms, or customizing integration with third party software.
BCforward has a lengthy list of tech clients, so that laundry list of changes is something they can easily work through.
“It’s about empathy. We’re anticipating the employee’s pain points and crafting responses to help them along the way. As a company, we are constantly helping clients in many different industries make changes,” said Angela Roberts, organizational change management strategy and communications director. “That experience lets us help our customers in a way few companies can.”
By its nature, tech is a constantly evolving industry, but that doesn’t mean employees are eager to embrace change. Roberts says the shift to remote work, and now perhaps back again to in-office is a great example of a time when a company might need OCM help.
“We want to make them a part of the change instead of something being imposed on them,” Roberts added.
The best laid plans to implement a new operating system won’t matter if the team doesn’t come along, or, as we say, “culture will eat process for breakfast. In an extreme case of this, you need replace the team or give up on the planned change,” Angela said.
Being brought in while the company is still designing the change is a best-case scenario. “There’s not a one-size-fits-all solution for this kind of thing,” Andrea said.
Tactics employed could range from video tutorials, email, and internal communication channels, as well as virtual or face-to-face meetings.
“Our OCM team works with employees ahead of the change to illustrate what it means and what’s in it for the employees before it’s rolled out and it’s too late to give feedback on the new way of doing things.”
If a survey of more than 8,000 change management professionals is right, BCforward and others in the OCM space won’t have a hard time finding customers. The survey found more than 70% of businesses were experiencing so many changes it was making it difficult for any of them to succeed.
BCforward and others in OCM are ready to lend a hand.