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Talent: 3 percent of employees can make or break any corporate change

Posted on Categories Culture/Employee Engagement, Employer Branding, News

Did you know that a small percentage of employees has a large influence on the success or failure of any change initiative, regardless of the size of the organization or complexity of the change?

By taking a sociological approach to mapping relations in social communities, you can influence an average of 85 to 90 percent of employees by leveraging the sphere of influence of only 3 percent of employees, according to Innovisor, an organizational network analysis consultancy.

Because employees are four to six times more influenced by peers than by managers, it is important to both identify and engage this powerful 3 percent. But determining the identity of these influencers can be a challenge.

‰”To this day I have never come across a single CEO or change manager who could tell you who their most influential employees were when the number of employees exceeded 300,‰” Innovisor partner Jeppe Vilstrup Hansgaard said.

Organizational network analysis is an approach that is part art and part computing.

It clarifies relationships by asking people about their individual network and how they rank or grade their relationships. For example, employees are asked two questions about whom they are influenced by professionally and socially. This data, together with additional information about the respondent, can then be turned into an organizational diagram that helps show which employees are considered top influencers. Executives benefit by pinpointing these influencers and empowering this group to share company information in a way that is direct and trusted.

Like the old game of telephone, messages morph as they move through an organization. A story starts with one person who tells it to another. The second person tells it to a third and so on. By the time the story gets three layers deep, it has drastically changed. So when executives have the opportunity to channel communication directly through the most influential employees, they can better control the story.

Ultimately, if leaders are looking for an effective way to make impactful internal changes, understanding their influencers should be at the top of their list.

This article originally appeared on the Houston BizBlog May 14, 2014.

Avatar photoAs President at Savage Brands, Bethany is known for forging powerful connections – connecting people to people and connecting companies with the fresh ideas that make their brands purposeful. In her recent book, "Get Your Head Out of Your Bottom Line and Build Your Brand on Purpose," Bethany conveys to business leaders the importance of leading with purpose.