Despite becoming accustomed to upgrading our smartphones and feeling comfortable ordering our groceries using Alexa, change in the workplace usually evokes feelings of fear. Humans are naturally afraid of the unknown and of feeling out of control. Specifically, employees may be afraid that they will fail to learn the new ways of getting the job done quick enough or indeed at all. They may be concerned that the change will bring additional pressure and are no doubt anxious that the changes might mean that they will no longer be needed.
Here are four ways technology can support change management.
1. Make tech your employees’ ally not their enemy
If new tech has rapidly transformed an entire industry it can become imperative that businesses in that sector adopt new systems to stay in the market. For example, despite being the first provider to launch online catch-up services, the BBC has been forced to reinvent its iPlayer offering to provide better on-demand and box set offerings in order to keep pace with Netflix, Amazon Prime, NowTV et al.
But technology is seldom the fundamental driver behind a business deciding to implement changes. Technology should be perceived as an enabler in change management. If implemented correctly, new or evolved tech can support the complex transitions happening in a business and help employees retain ownership of their roles and processes. This can alleviate their concerns and ensure smoother and more secure adaptation.
2. No wand waving allowed
Any new or updated tech must not be perceived as a magic wand. Business leaders can’t expect to simply project manage the purchase and installation of new systems. Technology is changing every sector and area of our lives. Human perception and learning cannot match this speed and this needs to be taken into account in the change process.
Employees must be given time, detailed two-way communication and appropriate resources to feel ownership and to support their successful adaptation of the new systems.
Having a team of knowledgeable and approachable software developers at your side to support the tech changes being implemented in your business will help to manage the inevitable pain points for your employees. Change management can be difficult and uncomfortable but the right tech experts on hand are key to a successful transition.
3. Use tech to get people talking
At Ghyston, we believe it’s crucial to get the input of the people who will be affected by any of the changes to the organisation - be that personnel changes, process changes or software changes. Take time to understand how your employees feel about the changes and the change management process. Make use of their experience and ideas about how things could be done better. Changes we make will have an impact for years to come so we’re serious about getting it right.
In addition to face-to-face and email communication, interactive digital platforms can be quickly set up to share success stories and progress updates during the transition. Celebrating employee and team accomplishments builds positivity about the changes and helps to negate the anxiety. Use tech to encourage employee feedback and constructive criticism during the software development stage.
We believe that our agile approach to project management allows quick prototyping which can be tested by real users and adjusted as part of the process. This means that the changes are delivered in small chunks of functionality which are not only much more likely to be embraced quickly but also can be tweaked based on feedback. We used these principles to deliver a first iteration of a new HR system for a large sandwich manufacturer within just a few months, during which time we incorporated invaluable user feedback from the intended users.
4. Don’t stop changing!
Organisational change operates on a continuum. When developing new systems to support change management with our clients, we expect our software to spend most of its life being supported by us. We don’t believe the job is done as soon as the project is signed off. On the contrary, that’s just the beginning of a product’s life span and its impact on the organisation, its processes and its people.
We have recently been working with an owner of a chain of care homes on software to support their carers and managers. Delivery of the product took a year. A year later, we are still closely involved, offering training and user support, making changes big and small on a daily basis based on their feedback, ensuring that the changes they have made our lasting and positive.
Good change management isn’t about creating an overnight revolution. We understand that your organisation is in a constant state of evolution; Ghyston can partner with you to ensure your systems evolve with you - at a pace that matches the demands of the market and your employees. Get in touch to see if Ghyston can help you to identify and implement the right technology to help your company roll with the changes.