Canadian Underwriter

Making changes? Here’s a recipe to do it successfully

March 11, 2020   by Adam Malik

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Communication will make or break your brokerage’s new product offering or system implementation, which is why it has to be targeted, continuous and truthful, one expert advised at a recent conference.

Principals may think they have this great new system in place or a new product built. But ensuring it gets rolled out smoothly and is used properly by those who are supposed to use it is another challenge, Pri Manoharan, director at insurance technology consulting firm X by 2, said at the recent Technology Conference in Toronto.

“The end goal is generating excitement. You want people coming into the system to be excited about it, to know what’s coming and look forward to it, not be afraid of it,” he said.

Pri Manoharan, director at X by 2, talks about implementing a successful change management strategy at the Technology Conference on Feb. 25 in Toronto.

One of his pet peeves is when leaders send out generic messaging to the whole company. When people are inundated with the same message, “it becomes spam. You start hearing the same thing, everyone gets the same message [and] sometimes it doesn’t apply to you – you don’t want your messaging to get caught in spam,” he said during his session, Developing A Change Management Strategy. “So targeted messaging is important.”

But that doesn’t mean halting all communication. You want to keep in continuous communication with your staff about what’s going on. It’s about balance and it doesn’t have to be through just email, Manoharan recommended.

For example, posters can communicate key information quickly. Put them up by entrances so staff see the messaging as they come to and leave from work. “It’s this passive communication where they get an understanding and see what’s coming, get reminded of it but it’s not actively showing up in your inbox and becoming spam,” Manoharan said.

He’s also a big believer in blogs as they can provide detailed information that doesn’t need to be included in a mass email and considered as spam. “It helps people get a lot more information without, again, getting spam in their inbox. You send out a once-a-month email, you mention at the bottom that there’s a blog and [they can] go to the blog. Now you can share with them: Why are doing this transformation? How did we pick our vendor? What are some of the business processes that are changing? And why are we changing it?”

To that last question, leaders can’t shy away from the truth. Explaining the “why” gets staff to buy into the change. Manoharan used the example of an underwriter. If the change will involve more work early on but will bring in a bunch of data that will make their jobs easier in the future by providing analytics, then “all of a sudden their adoption level is much higher because they’re like, ‘OK, I see your reason behind this. It wasn’t just mindless change.’

It’s that honesty about the pain of change that makes acceptance easier, he added. “One big thing I always stress on any project I’m on, is: We keep honest,” Manoharan said. “You let them know this is coming. There’s a change coming. It won’t be pretty or it may be different than what you do today. A lot of times, by the time they get to the actual system launched, they’ve had time to adapt to that change. They’ve had time to kind of settle with it.”

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