Our lives have changed significantly as a result of COVID-19 and many companies are trying to transform working styles and business models. But navigating change is not easy, and leaders seek information about how change is successfully implemented. EY Strategy and Consulting conducted a study to identify key success factors for transformations in Japan. More than 250 companies participated in the study, sharing Japan-specific transformation information for changes of differing scope and size (entire corporate group, single company, multiple functions or single division).
The findings reflect that transformations are becoming more complex and a key to increasing success and accelerating adoption is to have dedicated change management resources and activities. The survey, conducted with advice from Professor Koide of Sanno University, shows transformation trends and identifies key success factors.
While many companies have executed transformations in Japan, the majority of the attempts have failed to meet its objective. Only 19% were reported as completely successful, but the greater the number of change management activities executed, the higher the rate of success.
Having engaged employees was found to be one of the key success factors. Successful cases had 63% supportive employees whereas failed cases had only 30% supportive employees. Furthermore, companies that focused on change management efforts were 19 percentage points more likely to have supportive employees.
The change management activities that engaged employees and accelerated change adoption included: frequently communicating with employees about the transformation; clearly defining the transformation's vision, goals and benefits; securing adequate resources; and involving middle-managers in the transformation from the beginning.
Many companies anticipate cross-functional transformations (76%) and significant changes in business strategy (78%) in the coming years. These type of transformations tend to be more complex and challenging, so having change management resources and capabilities to achieve a successful transformation in Japan is more important than ever before.