Using change agents in your team

    May 12, 2021 | Posted by Quentin Orsmond

    Change agent networks are becoming an increasingly used mechanism in building momentum and broad support for change initiatives. Change agents extend capacity and competency in change management. The change agent network can be used to drive adoption and usage for changes, by acting as a communication channel, source of feedback and a single point of contact.

    Here is an example of how a large financial institution successfully implemented a change agent network that was later used to build competency throughout the organisation for future changes.

    My role on the project was Change lead; I was accountable for the design and build of the change management strategy and plans as well as the sound execution of the plans. I had a change management team working with me that included people from Learning and Development, Human Resources and Internal Communications, plus some technical subject matter experts.

    The client

    A large financial institution with a 600-seat contact centre was implementing a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. The technology was new to the call centre agents and our strong change management team was tasked with ensuring effective adoption and usage of the system, without impacting customer service and service level agreements from go live.

    The solution

    Without going into detail on the technical side of the change, we focused on our change management plan for the people side of change. One of the work streams on the change management plan was to add change agents to the change management team.  

    The change agents were selected from the “informal” leaders in each of the teams. They had leadership qualities in the teams, but did not have the leadership title. As the organisation was a Prosci® site licence holder, we we able design a customised change agent training program based upon the Prosci research and methodology and each agent underwent training in their role. A one-day program was designed by learning and development and later into the project we also made use of the Prosci® Employee program. 

    The challenge

    Alongside training, we also realised that we would need to update their job specification so that their performance measures included their role as change agents. We needed to be very clear on the difference between the role of the change agent and the role of each team’s supervisor, who was accountable for the day to day operational delivery of each team.  We needed to be sure that the change agents did not get involved in the day to day operational management of the teams.

    The role of the Change Agent was to:

      • Filter communication to their team peers
      • Receive feedback from their peers on the CRM implementation
      • Feedback to the Change Lead

    The conclusion

    The project was considered successful. From a change management point of view:

    1. We built competency in the organisation for future changes.
    2. We identified some potential leaders in the organisation for career progression as a result of the role that they played on the project and the experience they gained.
    3. We achieved the project objectives and delivered the organisational results.
    4. Staff felt involved as the issues they were raising were being heard by the senior project levels.

    Lessons learned

      • Training is an essential part of the process, both for the Change Agents and the Employees directly impacted by the change.
      • Differentiate between the role of change agent and team leaders.
      • Update change agent job descriptions and make sure you update change agent performance measures.
      • Show staff you value their feedback by giving them a voice to air their views and then act on them.

    CMC Global recognises that the people are at the heart of every change – it’s what we do. We specialise in building change capability for every role in your organisation, from senior leaders to front-line employees. So if you are looking to design and build an effective change agent network on your project please get in touch.

    We can also bring private Prosci® change management training to your office, or deliver it virtually, and we can offer you bespoke support to help your organisation through any type of change. Download our course comparison guide or get in touch with the team to find out how we can work with you.

    Topics: Prosci training, Successful Change and Transformation, CMC, Change Management and Agile