An Effective Change Management Process in 4 Easy Steps
By: Corey Reyneker, VP Alliances, ProServeIT Corporation
Implementing new technology requires a very thorough change management process. There have been many times that we, at ProServeIT, have seen companies suffer from inefficient and ineffective technology implementations. The reasons this implementation fails is often that the company has not adequately prepared their employees for a shift to new technology.
When implementing such technologies, like OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams, or PowerBI, or adding security settings like Multi-Factor Authentication, Advanced Threat Protection, or Single Sign-On capabilities, ProServeIT often sees that the company’s users are absolutely befuddled with what they’re supposed to do. The reason? There hasn’t been an effective change management process in place that can walk people through implementation. So, in this blog, we hope to rectify that. Here are four steps that you need to consider for an effective change management process.
Step 1: A Change Management Process Begins with Planning and Sponsorship
Your change management process starts before you purchase anything. Keep in mind the following questions as a guide for deciding on implementing new technology:
- How is this technology going to alter the way things are done?
- What if I don’t have the technical knowledge to manage this change?
- Who is going to provide training for this new technology?
- If I have questions about it, who’s going to be able to answer them?
- Am I replacing any current technology? If so, how will I migrate my current data over to the new technology?
- What is my budget for this technology?
- Have I carefully considered the user interface of this new technology? How are my employees going to work with this tool?
This step of the change management process also requires you to select someone (or a few people) to be your internal sponsors. If you don’t have a team of committed individuals to implement and move this project along, there’s a good possibility that you’ll end up stagnating. Part of the planning phase, therefore, should be determining the team you’ll choose.
Clearly defined roles and responsibilities for that team should also be established, such as who is going to plan the rollout, who’s going to schedule adoption programs, who’s going to be the internal spokesperson for the company, who’s going to be the internal expert on the technology that’s being implemented, etc.
Step 2: Your Change Management Process Should Rely on Continuous Communication
Once your planning and sponsorship phase is over, it’s time to communicate what’s happening to the rest of your organization. As anyone will tell you, continuous communication is important in any relationship, and implementing new technology is no exception to this. When implementing new technology, sometimes the IT professionals have trouble remembering that they’re dealing with people and perceptions, so it’s very important to make sure that your employees know why you’re making the change, what the benefits are for them, and how it’s going to make their jobs easier.
Also, consider that people especially don’t like it when things are sprung on them at the last minute, so this communication process shouldn’t be just a few sporadic emails that happen a few days or a week before the shift to the new technology happens. You need to begin by introducing the idea with ample time for your employees to adjust to what’s coming down the pipeline. Remember, last minute changes can lead to anxiety and stress. Here are a few ideas on how you can introduce the idea of new technology to your employees:
- Announce the change at weekly team meetings, starting a few months before
- Hold activities, like a Lunch & Learn or Town Hall Meetings so your employees have a chance to ask questions and express concerns.
- Create a schedule of announcements, (i.e. three months out, two months out, a month and a half out, then once a week until the launch of the new technology).
- Create FAQ sheets or one-pagers on the benefits of this new technology and send them to employees.
A change management process should encompass several, if not all of these ideas, if you want to be successful in launching this new technology. Remember, communication is a vital step of the change management process and needs to be an ongoing effort from all levels of the organization who are involved in implementing the change.
If you’re struggling with the right words to use, engage your marketing team from the get-go. After all, they’re used to helping people see the value and benefits of a product or a service!
Step 3: Using Your Change Management Process to Determine Readiness and Push Adoption
This next step in the change management process is also a very important one. Before making an irrevocable shift to a new technology, you want to make sure that your organization is not only ready for this change, but also that your employees will adopt the new technology and start using it right away.
When adopting new technology, we’ve learned that it’s best to do it in waves. Below, we’ve outlined what we mean by this:
Wave 1: The “Eager Beavers”
When planning out your change management process, think of which group of employees would be the “eager beavers” of your organization. Who can you count on to talk this new technology up and help other employees see the benefits of using it? These are the people that you want to engage in the first wave of adoption. You want those “eager beavers” to advocate right from the get-go that this change is a good thing, this new technology will make everyone’s jobs better, and everyone will benefit from the switch.
Wave 2: The “Maybes”
Next, think of those that might not be as open to change, but you can most likely win them over to your way of thinking. Use the testimonies of those “eager beavers” to help sway the “maybes” into adopting the technology – that’s your second wave of adoption.
Wave 3: The “Naysayers”
Last, you’ll need to confront the “naysayers”. These are particularly difficult to please because resistance to change is almost embedded in their DNA, and thus, they’re hardwired to reject anything new, even if it’s going to help them. This will take the combined approach of the “eager beavers” and the “maybes”, as well as strong and solid communication from the top of the organization downward. Because of the additional requirements, it’s best to tackle the “naysayers” in the third wave of adoption.
Throughout this process, no matter what wave you’re on, remember the step on “continuous communication” and ensure that you’re continuing to have a dialogue with everyone in your organization.
Step 4: Your Change Management Process Should Include Implementing a Self-Service Help Desk
Once you’ve implemented your new technology, you need to ensure that you have a way for your employees to get their questions answered. As part of your change management process before implementation should be to provide a service desk where your employees can get their questions answered, get help with technical issues over the new platform, etc.
Rather than having your employees overwhelm your IT resources with their questions and concerns about the new technology, create a central repository for quick tips, training videos, FAQs, troubleshooting articles, and whatever else you think will help answer your employees’ questions before they’re asked. Make sure this central repository is easy to access for anyone.
Get Help from Our Change Management Experts
Is your organization considering implementing a new technology? Having a solid change management process will ensure that your implementation is as smooth and successful as you want it to be. Don’t let your lack of planning, communication, readiness, or help resources derail your technology implementation.
ProServeIT has a lot of experience not only helping companies select the right technology for them, at a time when they need it the most, but also explaining the benefits and features of that technology. We’ve worked with companies in all industries to provide them with the resources that they need to be able to adopt new technology in their organization and get the maximum ROI in the process. Whether it’s end-user training, self-paced training resources, success management programs, or IT training, ProServeIT is ready and able to help. Check out our Change Management one-pager by clicking the picture above, or contact us to get started today!