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  • 15 July 2021
  • 3 years

The Human Factor as a Vector of Success in Business Transformation Projects

Vanessa Ezerzer

Consulting Manager

The philosopher Heraclitus stated, “There is nothing permanent except change,” a precept that is still relevant today, twenty-six centuries later. Indeed, companies must constantly evolve and transform themselves in order to innovate and improve their degree of congruence with the characteristics of their environment (competitive, regulatory, ecological). The question is not whether these changes will take place, but rather how we can support organizations in their adaptation strategies by anticipating the human and social effects.

The need for transformation coaching is all the more necessary as some companies tend not to take into account all the factors necessary to make their transformation project a success. This is the iceberg theory of change management: companies tend to focus on the tip of the iceberg (e.g. strategy, processes, cost, and timing of change. However, what is essential and decisive in the success of a project is the submerged part of the iceberg, where the human factors reside. We also include the notion of health in the workplace because preserving health is an essential element for all those involved in the transformation process. Taking occupational health into account implies that managers must reinforce prevention efforts that may be weakened during a transformation project. In this respect, the most advanced companies—in terms of prevention—systematically carry out a study of the human impact of their projects, particularly from the point of view of the consequences on physical and mental health. They can then take preventive and corrective measures upstream based on this study.

However, the success of a transformation project also depends on the ability of organizations to give it meaning. This requires leaders to engage in an open dialogue about the benefits, risks, and deployment conditions of change. Insisting on communicating the “why of the change” is an essential element in enabling employees to understand and make sense of the change they will encounter.

Finally, when preparing for a major transformation of the company, and even more so during a restructuring, managers must create the conditions for a network of prevention players (HR, CSE/CSSCT, occupational health service, external occupational health professionals, etc.). The interchange of their respective skills, based on their knowledge of the company’s context, will enable a multidisciplinary approach to employees’ difficulties. Beyond this interchange of expertise, involving these individuals as early as possible in the project can also ensure better acceptance of the transformation.

The role and involvement of managers in a transformational context is fundamental to the success of the transformation of organizations. On the one hand, they are responsible for relaying information about the transformation project and encouraging the involvement and commitment of employees in the change process. On the other hand, employees expect them to listen and support them in the face of emerging questions and uncertainties. Managers are under great pressure, and they may themselves be experiencing difficulties. Each transformation will require managers to be supported and provided with the necessary tools to accompany their employees.

Representing an essential principal for the evolution and transformation of a company, it is necessary to involve and accompany the employees in any transformation project that could generate a certain level of stress and anxiety. Through our experiences, we have been able to identify the notion of meaning as one of the recurring needs expressed by employees. In order to respond to this need, it is important to communicate the needs that the transformation project addresses, the steps involved in its implementation, and the targeted objectives. Giving meaning to the change and reducing uncertainty about the future will facilitate the acceptance and involvement of employees in the transformation process. We recommend the provision of on-site workshops led by work psychologists in order to provide a space for listening and analyzing their experiences in the face of change, as well as the search for actions that can trigger a positive dynamic.



Workplace Options helps employees balance their work, family, and personal needs to become healthier, happier, and more productive, both personally and professionally. The company’s world-class employee support, effectiveness, and wellbeing services provide information, resources, referrals, and consultation on a variety of issues ranging from dependent care and stress management to clinical services and wellness programs. To learn more email us at

Disclaimer: This document is intended for general information only. It does not provide the reader with specific direction, advice, or recommendations. You may wish to contact an appropriate professional for questions concerning your particular situation.

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