"Disruption" and "innovation" are trending phrases in many industries, encouraging people to radically change and challenge their market. Often this innovation is achieved by leveraging new technology. With technology changing so rapidly, it may be hard to just keep up let alone "innovate". One of the major roadblocks to a company adopting new technology is the impact on the staff… but with proper planning and communication, this change can be hugely successful. Here are some key considerations to help make your next change go smoothly. These tips can be applied to smaller changes such as routine upgrades as well.
1. Increase buy-in
Often a decision is made by upper management, and then communicated down to staff. It can be hard for staff be motivated about a change or to see its value unless they understand the key drivers for it. While it can take time to highlight this to staff, it can save time in the long run as less issues will arise.
2. Identify your key advocates
You can probably think of a few people at your workplace who are 'early adopters' and always have the latest gadgets. You can probably also think of a few people who need a bit more assistance with things. Use this knowledge wisely and engage the early adopters to help you. They can be advocates for the change, and often spread positive messages throughout the organisation, encouraging others to be open to new things.
The phrase “failing to plan is planning to fail” is true. Without planning out steps of the change, you will likely overlook a critical component which can be costly, time consuming to resolve, but also very frustrating for the staff who experience the issues. As more systems are integrated, it is important to ensure all connections between each system are accounted for in the design and are tested thoroughly. Various industries may deliberately avoid changes near end of financial year (and other significant dates), so it’s important to allow time to accommodate these key periods of your business.
How much notice to staff need of the change? Who needs to know more detailed information? What is the best method of communication for this message? If people know what to expect, then you can spend less time answering questions and more time focusing on the change.
Even after addressing the steps above, some people will encounter problems or have questions. They might need some more training or a bit more time to adjust. Leverage your key advocates to assist, or provide support material.