Montag, 28. Mai 2018

Change is about emotions - Network analysis as tool of the digital age - Interview with András Vicsek of OrgMapper

This year's HR Innovation Day is approaching. It is a good tradition to present contributors in interviews.

András Vicsek of OrgMapper
My interviewee for today is András Vicsek, CEO, Co-founder at Maven7/OrgMapper, Budapest/Hungary. I am very pleased that he will host a workshop on the topic. „Leveraging informal networks to accelerate change and create collaborative organizations“. I have known OrgMapper virtually for a long time because Tom Haak mentioned this excellent tool in his last year keynote at HR Innovation Day.

Wald: Mr. Vicsek, could you be so kind and introduce yourself as well as OrgMapper? How did the idea for OrgMapper come about?
Vicsek: I am one of the co-founders and CEO of Maven7, the company that develops OrgMapper. I was working for consultancy focused on HR research and one of the insurance companies was interested in how their sales people are collaborating, sharing knowledge and supporting with each other. I used a very basic sociometry software to map networks of trust in the different teams. The software was developed for analyzing student communities in a school so their were a lot of limitations in terms of the size of the organizations we could survey and also the type of connections that we could look into. But an even bigger issue was how to show the formal and informal organization at the same time. I was so engaged with the project that I took some of the network maps home to Sunday family lunch to work on it during the afternoon. It turned out that my Father who is a physicist was just publishing a paper in Nature on community detection in large scale networks with his research team when he saw the networks he was surprised. It was a great and very fortunate coincidence. I was stuck with limitations (size, methodology, etc.) in my project and they have developed algorithms and software that was able to analyze millions of nodes in a network with cutting-edge solutions. After the first projects where clients were able to use the information from the networks to build trust and improve knowledge sharing in their teams, I knew that my path was to create a software that helps companies to become high performing organizations leveraging the power of informal networks.

Wald: What experiences have you had with the services of OrgMapper? Many people wonder why links between employees or internal networks play such a big role for success of Change Management?
Vicsek: There is a lot of evidence supporting that the high failure rate of change initiatives (eg. using new technologies, tools or re-organizing the company) comes from problems in the way they are communicated. According to a study by Towers Watson only 40% of team leaders understand the reasons behind major changes. No wonder employees feel uncertainty when the person who should be explaining to them the reasons doesn't even get the message. Top-Down communication fails in times of change. Change is about emotions. We go through the emotional curve of change and turn to people who we trust, who we can share our concerns with and ask for their advice and support. There are principles in Network Science that also prove that behavioral patterns spread through human connections. Studies showed that obesity, the quitting of smoking and even happiness spread through networks of trust. Influencers are the people in the organization who can accelerate the adoption of new technologies, processes, norms or behaviors. Without them adapting to the changes will be much slower and painful with a lot of resistance instead of engagement.

Wald: Could you describe your opinion on the growing role of ONA (Organizational network analysis)?
Vicsek: The business environment has become very turbulent. You know, VUCA and I could mention other buzzwords. But the main point is that changing customer needs and new technologies are bringing in a demand for speed of adapting to change and agility. Traditional organizational structures and hierarchy are good in co-ordination and stability but are to slow when it comes to constantly changing environments. You need to understand what customers want and work efficiently across silos to innovate efficiently. There is definitely a need for high performance cross-functional teams that work together building more on diverse knowledge and competencies. For example when you are an insurance company and need to develop an application that identifies customers through camera, which is easy to use and complies with privacy and data handling regulations you need people from your IT, Sales, Marketing and Legal team to work together quickly and efficiently. ONA can help to manage this complexity with insights on current collaboration patterns and recommendations on how to improve critical cross functional links, identify silos, talents and influencers and decrease collaborative overload. ONA is the managers tool of the digital age.

Wald: How can OrgMapper help to detect Change Agents?
Vicsek:We analyze what type of people are needed in times of change. OrgMapper provides you with the most influential, capable, best connected employees who are willing to put effort into helping the company achieve its goals. OrgMapper provides employees with an opportunity to nominate their colleagues for their change capabilities, so they can help the company achieve its goals. The nomination tool is secure, online, easy and quick to complete.

Wald: What do you recommend to personnel managers who are planning to make organizational network analysis? How should they prepare? How can the results help to improve Human Resources Management?
Vicsek: ONA reveals the informal organization so it is important that people in the organization know what this information is going to be used for. It is tempting to look at interesting data visualizations and stats about your organization but ONA works best when you know how what you are planning to use the results for.

Wald: What can the participants expect from your workshop?
Vicsek: My plan is to show interesting examples of why it is important to identify and involve influencers, how can you do it effectively and also what they can do to improve collaboration across silos and build feedback culture.

Wald: Finally, a question I'd like to ask all the speakers. Why are you participating at the HR Innovation Day 2018?
Vicsek: I am always keen on hearing about new solutions in HR and get inspiration from other.

Peter: Thank you very much today for your support of the HR Innovation Day. I look forward to attend your workshop.

My interviewee András Vicsek has graduated in 2000. He founded Maven7 in 2009 which developed OrgMapper. Prior to that, he carried out HR related researches.

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