It’s never easy to implement change. It doesn’t matter how bad the existing processes are or how great the new strategy, you can guarantee that a large number of your staff will resist the change at every opportunity. People tend to fall into 3 camps when it comes to adopting a new process:
- The ones who intensely oppose the proposed change
- The ones who are cautious about change
- The ones who are the champions of change
When planning your IT automation project, your strategy should have specific actions to address those staff members who are in the first two categories.
It’s a good tip to concentrate on getting a clear understanding of the benefits of the change rather than concentrating on the actual change itself. The goal is to change how your employees view the new technology being rolled out so that the process becomes a positive initiative that is driven forward by support rather than bogged down by resistance. That said, here are some proven best practices for effectively managing change in the workplace.
1. Develop a Readiness Assessment.
Step 1 is to have DISC assessments done so you have an understanding of what the most likely reaction of various staff will be, this allows you to head of problems at the pass before you get caught. You can also do a number of activities from holding focus groups to conducting a survey amongst all users. The purpose of a needs assessment is to identify the risks, benefits and potential obstacles that you may encounter when rolling out your IT automation project. It can also be helpful in determining areas of greatest resistance as well as the reasons behind the contention. Remember the old adage, you can’t manage what you don’t measure
2. Sell the Benefits not the Process.
As mentioned earlier, people aren’t going to jump on your ITPA bandwagon until you’ve convinced them that it’s worth their while. They want to know what’s in it for them. Address this by identifying, documenting, communicating and reiterating the specific benefits that adopting automation will have for each individual and team.
One of the biggest reasons people resist change is because they don’t understand what is being done or why it’s happening. This lack of knowledge naturally breeds fear, which can derail your IT process automation initiative. To avoid this, keep the lines of communication open and make sure everyone knows not just what the big picture is, but also their important role in contributing to that big picture goal.
4. Lead From the Front
Leadership at every level and in every department should be on-board with the proposed IT process automation project. Excitement and positivity can be very powerful tools in effecting change across an organization. Make sure you have complete buy-in from all executives prior to launching your project and that they understand the importance of solidarity across the board.
5. Identify and Leverage Your Change Champions.
These are the individuals who are most excited about the adoption of IT process automation and the many benefits it will provide. By identifying these key employees, you can begin to leverage them to influence their peers who may be feeling a bit less enthusiastic about the proposed change. These individuals can help bridge the gap between front-line employees and management and become a voice for those directly impacted by change.
IT automation can dramatically improve your organization’s overall performance, but it can rarely be achieved without overcoming resistance.
By taking a proactive approach and developing and implementing an effective change management strategy, the experience will be much more positive for everyone involved.
I these days of tightening margins and increasing client expectations you have no choice but to automate.