Article: Facilitating people’s journeys is critical to make a transformation switch: Soumyasanto Sen

Strategic HR

Facilitating people’s journeys is critical to make a transformation switch: Soumyasanto Sen

On the third day of the ONA (Organizational Network Analysis) Summit 2020, Soumyasanto Sen, Digital HR, Transformation & People Analytics Leader and Advisor, Speaker shared insights on managing data-driven changes in this pandemic.
Facilitating people’s journeys is critical to make a transformation switch: Soumyasanto Sen

The ONA (Organizational Network Analysis) Summit 2020 took place from November 18th-20th featuring a line-up of top industry leaders including Serge Gornet, Global Head of Culture at Sanofi, Dr. Leandro Herrero, CEO, Chief Organization Architect of The Chalfont Project and Michael Arena, VP Talent & Development at Amazon Web Services (AWS). The ONA Summit offered an incredible opportunity to gain knowledge and network with thought-leaders on how to discover and improve people management, design effective change management programs, and transform organizations within the parameters of our New Normal.

In a time in which trust is absolutely paramount, along with struggles in how to keep up productivity and engagement under remote work, the ONA summit was a timely event for gaining insights into how data-driven analysis can help negotiate uncertainty and have a fantastic impact across organizations. 

Some of the highlights included a final day panel on managing change. The day kicked off with Soumyasanto Sen, Digital HR, Transformation & People Analytics Leader and Advisor, Speaker, Author of “Digital HR Strategy” and strategist of the Future of Work at People Conscience, who gave an insightful talk on managing data-driven changes in this pandemic. 

According to Sen, the pandemic has set a new direction, and organizations who are doing the best in this environment are the ones who are “emphasizing a consistent set of practices that need a huge change effort within the organization.” These practices are: 

● Doing things differently 

● Caring the fundamental 

● Motivating through purpose 

● New leadership behaviors 

● Reinforcing long-term potentials 

● High-performing team 

Each of these practices can be supported by and improved upon through data-driven gatherings and insights. As Sen highlighted, “change is the only constant” and “data is the new world” at the center of the shift businesses are experiencing at every level. 

Key foundation metrics for transformation 

So, how can companies begin to build the foundations for this shift? According to Sen “more than ever, facilitating people’s journeys is critical to changing behaviors and ways of working to make a transformation switch.” 

Key foundations include Behaviors and Ways of Working, Leadership Skills, Organization Re-Design and Business Results. In terms of success rate dependency, Sen said it should be “20% Metrics and 80% Actions.” What does he mean by this exactly? To take the example of Leadership Skills, the Metrics could be ‘internal fill rate, leadership quality or diversity scores’ while the Actions taken could include “emphasizing the learning for leaders to enhance as a coach” or “focusing on succession planning and women leaders.” Leaders should divide success rate dependency as 80% Action and 20% Metrics. “Find out the right actions based on your metrics,” Sen recommends. 

The landscape of productivity is changing 

Capturing the right kind of data is crucial to building the right hypothesis, one that allows leaders to experiment, measure and generate insights using exploratory data analysis and ultimately make better decisions, says Sen.

Data can come from various sources including surveys, collaboration data through platforms such as Salesforce, HR/Org.Data or communication data through Zoom, Teams, and other tools.  For Leadership Skills, for example, collecting the right data points can help identify informal leaders and change agents who can have an impact on the organization. Identifying these organizational influencers can be instrumental for successful change management. To really change an organization, people are key and data can help to source the perfect change agents or informal leaders to enact such transformations. 


One innovative way into ONA is through ‘sociomapping,’ which, according to Sen, is a “unique visualization” of data. “Our brain perceives in spatial terms; someone is close, someone is far. Reading maps is an intuitive thing to do. This human skill can be visualized with the data through geographical maps.” 

In other words, leaders can visually track the closeness of certain departments based on data-tracked interactions. This data can be shown via something like a heatmap, whereby, for example, Sales and Development are mapped close to each other (warm, red) where Finance intersects less and is further from Sales (cool, blue). This is a fascinating way to track and observe the subtle but evident ways certain roles inform one another and overlap, and shows how data can be used to build effective hypotheses, identify key change areas and better understand who works most closely with whom. 

Data-driven change management considerations 

Sen ended his talk with a summary of the top considerations for data-driven change management: 

● Analyze

“Analyze real people change risks and impacts” 

● Benchmark

“Leverage benchmarking to improve and speed-up change decisions” 

● Insights 

“Insights that quickly update leaders on milestone completion, tasks, what is and isn’t working.” 

● Progress

“Track change progress, monitor people risks, and engage more people in the process.” 

● Evaluate 

“Assessment for change leaders which provide them with guidance and feedback on key variables for people impact.” 

An illuminating glimpse into the leaps and transformations data is enabling across organizations, particularly in change management, Sen’s talk gave an excellent overview of just some of the ways many businesses will no doubt begin to utilize data now and in the future. The ONA Summit 2020 was a one-of-a-kind chance to uncover how to accelerate organizational transformation during this dynamic and uncertain time by tethering Action to Metrics and using the information to inform our decisions.

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Topics: Strategic HR, #ChangeManagement

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