EY research¹ conducted with the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School suggests that 85% of senior leaders have been involved in two or more major transformations in the last five years alone. And 67% of those senior leaders have experienced at least one underperforming transformation during this time. Our research studied the workforce response to transformation and found that 79% of employees reported positive emotions after a successful transformation. Underperforming transformations stoked employees’ stress levels with 66% of them reporting negative emotions such as sadness or depression.
“Without any supportive intervention, workers and leaders alike lose hope. To help keep and build talent, rather than put them at risk, organisations should put humans at the centre of transformation,” said Laura Flynn, Partner Head of People Consulting, EY Ireland.
The impact of transformation failure can lead to negative emotions along with burnout and stress for the employees impacted by the change. The research has shown that the emotional strain on the workforce increases by more than 130% during an underperforming transformation with subsequent impacts on motivation, productivity, and employee engagement.
“Organisations need to now move towards continuous transformation. This means new ways of doing things, which is a transformation inside a transformation. It is important to shape and size programmes for success in this environment, test and improve the process, and accept that you will not get it right the first time. Every organisation has different challenges and needs to address those to move to continuous transformation,” said Katie Flood, Partner and Head of Strategy & Transformation, EY Ireland.
What drives transformation success?
There is no one straight route to the success of an organisation’s transformation. It is a systematic change that comes with its share of twists and turns. The key is to create a culture of experimentation, accept the non-linearity of it, and use technology to realise the transformation vision.
The predictive model of our study identified six key drivers which can increase the scope of success of transformations.² The six drivers are: