There’s a saying that goes ‘The only thing constant in life is change’. Very true. And, in some cases, very hard to accept. When people are used to doing things a certain way, it can be difficult to change to a new way, a new process or a new tool. People get caught up in what they have to give up and fear losing what has made them comfortable. They have a hard time thinking about what they may gain in the long run. Some may willingly make the change, while some dig in with their heels and fight every step of the way.
Technology is often a trigger for significant change and therefore, a potential trigger for resistance. Whether you’re implementing software to take the place of manual processes or replacing one system with another, it’s important to remember that the reaction to that change will vary across your organization. To ease the pain, consider some of the following:
1. Clearly communicate the reason for the change. Will the software bring about efficiencies? Will it save the company money? Letting employees know the purpose of the change before it happens can put anxious minds at ease.
2. When implementing a new technology tool, choose a provider that will take the time to provide adequate training for your staff, as well as remain accessible throughout the implementation process, so concerns can be addressed and questions can be answered.
3. Keep an open door policy for questions and feedback. When people have input on a new process or tool, they create ownership for that change. In addition, listen for frustrations, empathize with those who may be struggling with a new system and give them the support they need to be successful. Acknowledge those who roll up their sleeves and dive in and do the same for those who have to work hard to push through.
4. When possible, implement change slowly. Anticipate your team’s reaction and put plans in place to address those concerns. Time gives people the ability to learn and adjust resulting in a successful transition. Trial under fire may be necessary at times, but if it can be avoided, do so.
5. Take a moment to zero in on employees who are eagerly embracing the new technology and have them assist you in training others. Let their enthusiasm become contagious.
Change is inevitable, yes. But resistance to it doesn’t have to be.