How to Use Prosci’s ADKAR Model to Fuel Organizational Change

WalkMe Team
By WalkMe Team
Updated May 2, 2023

In today’s fast-paced digital economy, organizational change has become the norm. Change management frameworks, such as Prosci’s ADKAR model, are ideal tools that can facilitate change and improve project outcomes.

Organizational change is an uncertain and challenging endeavor, and must be approached strategically to ensure its success.

Change management models are step-by-step roadmaps that offer a number of benefits, including:

  • Better communication among all stakeholders
  • Improved efficiency and outcomes
  • Mechanisms designed to mitigate risk
  • Lower employee resistance

Below, we will explore how the ADKAR model can be used to fuel organizational change in the digital workplace.

What is the ADKAR change management model?

Prosci is a change management consultancy whose change management framework has gained enormous traction since it was first introduced.

Credit: Prosci

Known as the ADKAR model, this 5-step process offers a straightforward, easy-to-follow “recipe” for organizational change.

Of course, anyone who has been involved with change management knows that the process is anything but easy, however, with the right strategy and the right execution, it is possible to dramatically enhance the outcomes of organizational change efforts.

One of the defining features of the ADKAR model is its emphasis on individual change.

To enable organizational change, change coordinators must focus on changing individuals, not just processes and systems.

How is the ADKAR model structured?

Here is how the ADKAR model approaches organizational change:

  • Awareness of the need for change. In order to support a change program, employees must first be aware of the need for change. Building awareness means: understanding what the change is, why it is happening, and the risks of not changing. A goal-oriented communication strategy is essential and can help reduce confusion, frustration, and resistance.
  • Desire to support change. Reducing employee resistance to change is fundamental to successful change, but it is only the first step. In order to propel a change forward, employees must proactively choose to participate in a change effort. Naturally, employees cannot be forced to make this change. But certain steps can be taken, such as providing visible leadership and selling employees on the personal benefits of change.
Credit: Prosci
  • Knowledge of how to change. To enact change, the workforce must have an understanding of new skills, processes, roles, and responsibilities. Without that knowledge, a change project will have little chance of success. Effective employee training is one of the most important ways to improve skills and enable successful change.
  • Ability to demonstrate skills and behavior. According to Prosci, “Ability is turning knowledge into action.” In other words, employees must demonstrate the practical application of their knowledge and skills in the real working environment – not just in theory. To ensure that employees make tangible progress, employers should implement one-on-one coaching, feedback mechanisms, and other support functions.
  • Reinforcement to make the change stick. If a change is not actively sustained, then employees can easily revert to old workflows. Though the natural tendency is to complete one task and move on to the next, this can be very harmful when it comes to organizational change. Accountability mechanisms, incentives, and ongoing reviews are a few processes that can help businesses reinforce and institutionalize new processes.

The ADKAR model can offer significant benefits for organizations intent on any type of change, including one of the most common types of change today – digital transformation.

Upgrading ADKAR with digital adoption technology

Many organizations are taking a digital-first approach to change, especially since so many organizational changes revolve around digital technology.

Technological innovation, for instance, has opened up a great number of possibilities for businesses. The right strategy and tools can enhance business processes, transform the customer experience, and streamline organizational change.

Though digital transformation is rooted in technological innovation and digital adoption, it is still a human-centered endeavor.

People, after all, drive change forward and without their support, an organization cannot adapt successfully – let alone conduct normal day-to-day business.

Because people lie at the heart of every organization, ADKAR is an ideal framework for all types of change initiatives, including digital transformation efforts.

When it comes to digital change, however, it pays to take a modern, digital-first approach to driving change forward … and one of the best ways to do this is by leveraging digital adoption platforms (DAPs).

Digital adoption platforms are training solutions that can add significant value to an organizational change effort during any stage of the ADKAR roadmap.

These automated digital training platforms can help employees:

  • Learn new digital skills, quickly, efficiently, and automatically
  • Apply what they have learned immediately
  • Remain accountable to performance expectations

ADKAR model applied to digital transformation initiatives

Given the prevalence and importance of digital transformation in the digital economy, it is crucial for change managers to prioritize the digital component of transformation.

Combining a solid digital adoption strategy and the application of the ADKAR model, organizations stand a much greater chance of training employees efficiently, enabling change, and reinforcing those changes over the long term.

WalkMe Team
By WalkMe Team
WalkMe pioneered the Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) for organizations to utilize the full potential of their digital assets. Using artificial intelligence, machine learning and contextual guidance, WalkMe adds a dynamic user interface layer to raise the digital literacy of all users.