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Tap tech tools to guide change campaigns

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Most change campaigns fail. Managers react warily and employees resist.

But here’s the good news: New digital tools can help leaders advance their organizational change initiatives.

Individuals embrace change when it resonates with them on a personal level. Tech-savvy companies are using tools such as digital dashboards (with customized messages to specific employees) to build excitement for change across a diverse workforce. Examples include:

Text messages. Facing plunging sales in Africa, a global beverage giant sought to instill urgency in its 1,000 salespeople. It started texting sales reps two to three times a day with performance feedback and customer and market insights.

For instance, a text message might update salespeople in a specific region on which accounts had ordered fewer beverages. Or they might get alerts about promotional events in their area for the week ahead.

Within days of launching the system, the company’s sales soared. Cross-selling and up-selling increased from 4% to over 50% in the first year.

Mobile alerts. A rail transportation company wanted to overhaul its operations and improve efficiency. It needed to cut the idle time of its railcars, so it began pinging employees with timely data throughout the workday.

Engineers received personalized updates on the status of a train they were scheduled to supervise. Maintenance crews learned the whereabouts of engines they needed to fix. The system led to fewer delays and increased employee accountability.

Information sharing. A global bank sought to fill job openings more quickly, so it created dashboards listing vacancies, candidates and hiring requisitions. Then it shared this data in an online forum so that its employees around the world could make suggestions to strengthen the recruiting process.

— Adapted from “Changing change management,” Boris Ewenstein, Wesley Smith and Ashvin Sologar, www.mckinsey.com.

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