People like routine. It minimizes stress, keeps us moving forward and provides a sense of comfort. In my experience, however, when we become too reliant on what’s predictable, problems arise. The same principle holds true for companies. Routine offers many benefits but being too relaxed is dangerous for those in the marketplace, as well as their employees.
When businesses that have tended more toward routine than innovation start to shift towards a more digitally transformative approach, they often find they must fight hard to frame change in a positive light. But it doesn't have to be that way.
Don’t start with technology, start with people
If employees work in silos, completing the equivalent of assembly line work, they may not understand the importance of how using a new application will help support the company’s overall consumer interactions. However, if workers understand the big picture for the business and its vision for the future, they can more easily comprehend and support the need to adopt new technologies.
Many leaders don’t adequately relay the right messaging through the ranks, leaving personnel feeling disinterested and aloof. As much as management likes the idea of a solution, if employees fight against adoption, they’ll face a long and uphill battle to meet their goals.
My advice is to make buy-in available at every level. You can see the potential of a new tool to save time, drive innovation and add to the bottom line, and now you need to sell that vision to the people who will use the technology every day.
Creating a culture of change, learning and growth
A company that tries to change one solution at a time won’t succeed. Instead, businesses should continually encourage employees to find a level of comfort in the unexpected and embrace change as part of the routine. Make sure your team is onboard with every digital solution you adopt with these tips:
Understand the technology. Unless the IT team knows and understands company goals for technology and change, it can’t provide the right type of support. Make sure department heads are working collaboratively with IT personnel to guarantee the technology itself works before attempting to bring users onboard. Imagine sitting down for a demo and having to wait 20 minutes because of program glitches. Those experiences can make employees dig their heels in instead of embracing change.
Encourage continuing education. Some workers don’t have a knack for technology. They need additional training and support to gain a level of comfort with new solutions. Make sure they have access to the tools needed to improve. Encourage them to attend continuing education classes for technology and support internal sessions that make learning fun and exciting.
Think ahead. A company can make learning the latest technology fun and intuitive, or disjointed and difficult. This is where the idea of the Band-Aid vs. the overhaul comes into play. People gravitate towards certain devices and applications, because they’re fluid and easy to use. The user experience encourages growth. Attaining a culture of technology and progression requires the same attention to user experience.
If the IT and marketing department recommend overhauling some systems for better integration and easier daily operations, consider making that investment. Trying to create solutions or making them fit into an existing framework can significantly slow down network speed and frustrate users, moving employees farther away from embracing change.
Celebrate early and often. The power of positive psychology can help a company shift towards a culture of change. Encourage employees to provide feedback, offer ideas and engage in the process, regardless of where they fit into the organizational hierarchy. If they use the technology or will use it, they may have valuable feedback. Schedule informal trainings and implementation kickoffs that combine education with socialization.
Measure and optimize. Don’t stop after a rollout. Gain momentum with each implementation instead of letting another solution become stagnant before starting the process over again. Measure user impact metrics, ROI, and other meaningful interactions, and then use that information to make the technology better. Your solutions vendors, IT department, and marketing team should all constantly work together to make solutions more user friendly and better for the company.
Routine can still be a comfortable cushion for your employees -- just make sure there’s also room for innovation and technological growth. When everyone feels like part of the update, the change will be for the better.