This is Part 2 in our 3-part series on effective change management in the workplace. Next week, we’ll follow up with the final installment, along with a link to download the complete whitepaper.
PART 2: THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO WING IT — HAVE A GAME PLAN
Once you know what to expect, you’ve got to have a plan to navigate these stages and work towards optimization of your new technology.
Training will have a particularly profound impact on employee attitudes and adoption, but the benefits of doing it effectively go far beyond that. By taking the time to train your staff, you’re able to fully realize the depth and capabilities of your new technology. Employee feedback will reveal all sorts of unique applications and use cases that leadership maybe hadn’t even realized.
In other words, support your staff (your most important asset) in their transition, and as a result, you’ll get the most out of your investment. Great support begins with well-planned training, and it’s important to have that in place before taking on a new implementation.
According to research by Prosci, proper change management increases the likelihood of meeting business objectives (on time and within budget) six-fold — as opposed to implementing a change without adequate management of it. As Kate Reno says, “If you spend a little more time upfront, everything else goes faster, you end up spending less time if you do more work upfront.”
Identify Your Goals + Time Frame
As far as goals go, number one is to keep time lost during transition to a minimum. In order to achieve this, there should be a strategy in place to train employees to do their jobs as efficiently as prior to the new system being implemented. From there, support your employees in leveraging the new system to their own advantage. Successful adoption relies on them recognizing the value and reaping the personal rewards outside of how the business is benefitting.
Incorporate training that demonstrates the higher efficiency possible for employees, and with that, the increase of time available for them to reach more customers, close more deals, work at higher quality, etc.
Throughout your planning, set realistic expectations with regards to your group’s technical skills, the technical requirements or complexity of the new technology, and the extent of change that your staff will be experiencing in going from one learned way of doing things to a whole new system.
Honor Different Learning Styles
As you’re evaluating employees’ skills and tech savviness, consider dividing them into two groups before proceeding with training: those to whom new technology will come pretty naturally and those who will need some extra time and support. By separating the two, you’ll be able to tailor each of their training programs to best suit their needs and get everyone on the same page.
The fast-paced group can move straight to training on the more technical aspects of the technology, while the others can take the time they require to focus on the basics — everyone has to start somewhere, and it’s better for everyone if that’s accepted on the front end. Even though the groups will be moving at different paces, the other benefit to this is that the more advanced group will soon be able to help bring others up to speed.
Diversify Your Training Methods
Everyone has different learning styles, but conveniently, there are a number of training methods for new software implementations available to leverage. It’s best to use a strategic mix of methods in order to have the furthest reach across a diverse group of learners. It also helps to have multiple opportunities for learning in general — effective training is not just a one-and-done situation.
Some of these training methods include, but are not limited to:
- Training by the software/technology provider
- Classroom-based training
- Interactive or on-the-job training
- Training the trainer
- Access to a training portal with how-to videos and other ad hoc resources
There tends to be a huge missed opportunity for companies when it comes to training resources simply because they don’t know what to ask for, what they should expect, or what tools are even available to them. Knowing this ahead of time, make sure you speak openly with your provider on the front end about what sort of training they offer and even for client success stories, as these will help guide your own training strategies.
Empowering your staff to embrace change means arming them with the resources they need to make the most of it and leads to achieving optimal ROI.
Effecting change in your business doesn’t have to be synonymous with chaos and unease. There will be rough patches, but preparation, planning, and empathy is what will propel your team through the process. The keys to success? Knowing what to expect, having a well-designed plan in place, and staying committed to the charge. When done correctly, the effort on all parts will have been worth it, and the team and outcomes will be better off because of it.
We’ll see you next week for more on sticking to your plan.