Boss Lady

Making change management child’s play


Change is constant, it’s a fact. From the broader business world to the everyday office, change is vital – to meet regulatory obligations, plan for business growth, revise company visions and missions, and to achieve strategic goals across departments. Along with change, underlying technologies and processes need to be correctly managed.

Many employees and managers find change difficult to handle – let alone embrace – as the transition experience can be stressful, sometimes even impossible due to pushback. Comfort zones and habits matter to people in a day-to-day function, so it’s critical to ensure your staff is invested in, and feels part of, the change process if it’s going to be successful.

Change management is a complex problem that requires significant effort. Involving and motivating staff to embrace change as you realign the business strategies to meet your future goals is essential. Further, the more change occurring in the workplace, the more staff will need performance feedback on those changes, which creates a need for continuous improvement processes. This ongoing cycle gives both management and staff active roles in the process.

Thanks to the rapid advancements being made in the digital age, change cycles are getting shorter, and companies’ need is greater to be able to react faster.

Gamification and change – so what?

The phrase was coined in 2002, but it’s now popular across many industries. Game playing has evolved from lazy long weekends in the family lounge room, to being part of weekdays at the office. Why? It’s an innovative and creative way to get staff on board with change throughout the business.

People play games for many reasons; but mainly for the reward. Gamification takes this a step further, and uses ‘intrinsic motivation’ to achieve long term engagement. With motivation being the driver, it’s an ideal tool for change management, as gamification (at its best) forms good habits. It encourages behavioural change while those engaged enjoy each step of the process.

Gamification can enable a smooth change in the long term to achieve strategic objectives. It’s the perfect way to get people on board, as I recently found when bringing a new operating system to a large-scale government authority.

The device is right!

Based on the 1980s game show The Price is Right, at Evolve MGMT Co we found inspiration from some of the games featured on the show to create a better user experience and enhance engagement to play a role in helping achieve a project’s strategic objectives. We devised this unique approach for an organisation that was taking their team through a change in tech devices throughout the business.

The prize or reward still played a part on this occasion, but creativity and play were the key objectives to adjusting the employee’s attitudes to embracing the impending changes.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Based on the ‘Swiss Mountain Climber’, we devised a game as an agile project planning approach for our rollout. Going up a mountain (tough gig!), but breaking down into smaller milestones allowed our product owner to work with the scrum team to develop their sprints, and instilling understanding why this project was happening.

The ‘Over and Under’ game was applied to illustrate cost savings that could be made by switching devices, such as from an iPhone to an Android phone. The game worked by comparing the devices on trial and asking the ‘contestants’ to guess the difference in cost savings between the devices.

The prizes up for grabs were offered to entice people (staff members) to come to the information sessions regarding the changes, and further ‘rewards’ were built around those who participated in the trial of the new devices.

We then asked them to play ‘Hole in One’, the golf game. Staff had to answer questions around the governance and user experience of the devices. Right answers moved closer to a ‘hole in one’, as the game reiterated some of the project’s key messages while they were motivated by the gamification experience to get to the end.

Ultimately, the company offered some of the new devices as bonuses to the staff involved in the successful project.

So, for the organisation and the staff, managing the change of moving to a different user device became manageable and engaging. The staff became invested in the ‘rollout’ of the new system, as they understood why and how the changes were happening.

Exacting a ‘gamification’ approach to change management or projects means winners all round. There were real prize winners among the staff, but staff and management were all proactively now onboard for and supported the change, because they understood it.

The lessons we learned during the process, and that the organisation came away with, were essentially the same: the end game brought a huge win for everyone moving to meet their strategic goals.

About Josephine Otimi

Josephine Otimi is a is an Australian-based digital change manager with executive and strategic experience in the transitional business sphere. She is the founder of Evolve Management Co. and has worked for a global network of clients across a range of industries including government, transport, and corporate.

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