Change is inevitable, so why is it so hard for organizations to implement changes aimed at increasing productivity and profitability? Despite the importance of upgrades, many organizations find that it isn't the tech itself that poses the biggest challenge. Instead, it's how to deal with resistance from employees and gain buy-in from all stakeholders. If this doesn't happen, even implementations that start with the best intentions cannot achieve their full potential.
The Risk of Not Effectively Managing Change
At some point, every business leader has been on the ground level and has seen change mismanaged. Despite this first-hand awareness of the impact of inadequate change management, many believe their own organization is the exception. Unfortunately, three key areas are at risk when crucial transitions aren’t proactively handled:
Retaining key employees is always a delicate balancing act during a change initiative. A lack of sensitivity surrounding change can lead to employee departures and a vast loss of institutional knowledge.
Time-to-market is a key factor for most new implementations, but both time and revenue are lost when business operations are disrupted by mismanaged change.
Ultimate, change requires a significant investment. When users aren't able to utilize a new system or process to its full potential, that investment will be squandered.
Change management aims to mitigate the risks associated with changing the way employees work or businesses operate. Risk is present regardless of if the initiative is effectively planned or if it is poorly adapted. When this risk is alleviated, businesses can ensure employee productivity and proficiency, and take advantage of their new system as quickly as possible.
Most often, the process of developing and updating technology systems seems clear-cut. Problems and opportunities are outlined and the project is fully defined. Design, development, and implementation are tangible, concrete aspects of the new solution. On the other hand, the “people side,” cited as the most common reason projects don’t live up to their full potential, is the least understood. In fact, when companies effectively manage the people side of change, projects are six times more likely to successfully meet or exceed objectives and fall below or on budget.
- Awareness of the business reason for change: Alignment on the rationale behind a change fosters awareness and collaboration.
- The desire to engage and participate in the change: Organizations must convey the benefits, at an individual level, that motivate and create a desire for change.
- Knowledge about how to change: Before diving into the nuts and bolts of training, stakeholders should understand what current processes will change and how those processes may look in the future.
- Ability to realize or implement skills and behaviors at the required performance level: Training equips stakeholders with the ability to proficiently use new technology systems and apply new processes.
- Reinforcement to ensure change sticks: Since old habits die hard, systems of accountability and reinforcement help organizational change endure.
Implementation or Internal Marketing?
A key aspect of managing a technology implementation is making sure that you have buy-in from all of the members of the organization who will be using the solution. So, a simple paradigm shift may be in order. When organizations view each facet of the implementation process as internal marketing, they can engage internal stakeholders on a vastly different level.
In a study on implementing technology changes, the Harvard Business Review states, “adoption of a marketing perspective encourages managers to shift ‘ownership’ of the innovation to users.” Taking a marketing perspective can help organizations even as early as the design phase to research user preferences. The findings can then be used to establish buy-in. To take it a step further, when this approach is centered around genuine engagement, stakeholders evolve from participants to champions of the change.
Acumen Solutions: Collaborative Change Management
Our project consultants partner with internal teams to ensure project success. This entails:
- Increasing the bandwidth of internal training teams because understandably, internal teams may be handling many change initiatives at once. Our team multiples internal resource pools in order to train users quickly and effectively.
- Providing the necessary knowledge required to fully utilize the solution based on our position as experts in the cloud solution industry.
- Increasing accountability by monitoring training benchmarks and providing insights on training improvement.
Success Depends on Effective Change Management
When organizations effectively manage the people side of change, projects are six times more likely to meet or exceed objectives. This makes change management a central strategy in implementing any technology change. With over 1,200 successful enterprise-level implementations to date, Acumen Solutions’ expert project consultants weave change management into the design and implementation of every solution. As a leader in innovation that relies on industry best practices, our experience delivers success for Fortune 500 companies and government agencies.