MINING AND CHANGE – THE ROLE OF CHANGE MANAGEMENT

In my last blog post, I talked about how the (long-overdue) digital reinvention of mining was taking place, and that while this is undeniably beneficial to mining companies, it also represents a significant evolution/revolution in an industry that has been traditionally resistant to change.

Change is disruptive, and can create anxiety and fear if not managed properly. This is a serious problem in and of itself, but there are other issues to consider as well. A company’s investment in change initiatives is at risk if the change is not adopted. Even if adoption of the change is unavoidable, the return on investment a company hopes to achieve can be elusive if competency within the change doesn’t rise to the required level, for example, if technology being implemented isn’t used appropriately or functionality isn’t fully realized, some of the benefits may not materialize.

This is why an investment in a qualified change management firm to lead your change initiative can be crucial to its success. Change management works on a number of levels to ensure the goals of the change initiative are achieved. If the project is dependent on humans buying into the change – and it almost always is – change management seeks to communicate the reasons for the change, creating awareness and desire by effectively communicating the need and personal impact of the change.

The change management process also looks to increase the speed of adoption, to smooth the transition, and to make sure the new processes or tools are used to their fullest capacity. In addition to ensuring this increase in utilization, it also concerns itself with proficiency, helping companies get past the expected dip in productivity quickly, ensuring the dip is as shallow and short as possible, so the company can move on to the expected gains, ensuring the return on investment is as great a possible!

I’ve seen this in my work with companies large and small. When people start to understand what change management is, they often start to identify changes in the past that never took, that nobody adopted. More importantly, they begin to understand why.

The digital changes taking hold in the mining sector represent a huge and necessary shift in the way mining has traditionally been done…failure, in many cases, is simply not an option. This is particularly true for mature, established mines with fixed costs that may now be mining ore bodies that are less mineral rich. In these scenarios, where lowering cost per tonne and/or cut off grade may be critical to the ongoing viability of the mine (AND the community in which it resides), and where the workforce may be more mature and potentially resistant to technological changes, expert change management from a company like PACE is crucial considering the high stakes.

PACE – Partners in Achieving Change Excellence is a full-service, well-rounded solution focused on providing change management and technology adoption support to mining companies looking to implement digital transformation in their operations. As a neutral third party, we establish trust very quickly, perform the necessary assessments, and help you communicate with your people so they understand the changes taking place and how they fit into in the big picture.

We’ll talk about who should really be responsible for the adoption of change in my next blog.