Use Organizational Change Management To Keep IT Moving Forward
October 21, 2021 / Unisys Corporation
Modern device management for over-the-air provisioning. AI-enabled automation. Proactive problem detection. These are a few ways to enable better digital workplace experiences.
But delivering better experiences requires more than just new technology. To ensure digital transformation success, IT leaders must address organizational change management (OCM).
Here is what IT leaders can do to advance OCM and better position their businesses for success.
Don’t Assume That Associates Will Know How Things Work
When new technology is implemented internally, IT executives may assume that everyone will just pick it up. But that’s not always the case. Most people are inherently reticent to change.
As an IT executive, you may make changes and introduce new technologies. If you don’t explain how and why to use new things, people may revert to the old ways of consuming IT.
Take the time to train associates on how to use tools such as Microsoft Teams or others effectively. Certain groups of associates will absolutely figure out how to get the most out of technology. For others, you’ve got to help them on that journey. Keep in mind that people learn at different speeds.
Promote IT With A Positive Message To Drive Adoption
You can’t just bring in new technology and expect people to use it. It’s not like when a company comes out with a new smartphone release and suddenly everyone buys it. I should add that despite their incredible brand awareness, major smartphone companies advertise all the time. Their ads introduce the latest upgrades — maybe the new smartphone has a better chip, a bigger screen or a bit more functionality than the previous version. Smartphone companies succeed at selling their new releases because they manage the message so well, raising consumer awareness and our desire to purchase said device. IT leaders need to do the same.
Yet, typically, associates don’t see or hear anything about IT unless they’ve got a problem. Work to change that relationship. Tell associates what IT is doing to help them and the business.
Imagine that the IT team has adopted technology to proactively understand and remediate associates’ computer problems. Don’t just use it, let people know that you’re using it and why.
A person doesn’t suddenly start buying something for no reason. Something clicks in their head to make them buy an item. Maybe they saw a marketing or advertising campaign that triggered them to act. If outside forces didn’t peak people’s interests, everyone would buy the same thing all the time. Promote IT to raise awareness and change your associates’ behaviors.
Employ Both A Carrot And A Stick To Reset User Mindsets
Say that you want associates to make IT requests via a portal rather than using call or chat. I’ve seen strategies where, if somebody does call or chat, they get a message from the IT operations service desk saying something like: “You have to go to the portal to do it. We can’t help you.” Or maybe they’ll get a response like: “We’ll help you once. But next time, please use the portal.”
Sometimes that’s what it takes to get people to switch their mindsets. After associates do something once the new way, they will see that it is easy. But if associates don’t know how to do it or don’t believe that it’s going to work, then they’re less likely to try that avenue. And if a thing doesn’t work the first time, people are likely to default to the old way if it’s still an option.
Also, consider employing gamification to get people on board with new IT technology. Create a competition to encourage and reward associates for using a new tool or approach. As WIRED recently reported, “At its best, gamification seems to work when it helps people achieve the goals they want to reach anyway by making the process of goal achievement more exciting.”
Take A Structured Approach To Driving Change
There’s a methodology we use at Unisys called ADKAR. It stands for awareness, desire, knowledge, ability and reinforcement. Follow this or another specific methodology.
One size definitely doesn’t fit all in this case. Each business has a different culture. Select a methodology that fits with your type of your business and the culture of your organization.
I believe that companies with a methodology are more successful than organizations that take an ad hoc approach. Don’t just do it on a wing and prayer. Put some structure and thought process into your change management effort to really understand the psychology behind it.
Consider Your Vertical And How Your Associates Use IT
People tend to think about businesses as corporations where everyone is in an office or at home. But IT leaders of fast-food businesses must think differently than those in financial services or manufacturing. If your business is fast food, you may have thousands of employees at various restaurants. Hardly any of them ever use IT, except at the point-of-sale device.
The only time that these folks seek support is if something goes wrong and they can’t sell somebody a burger or burrito. Find an organizational change management approach that will work for your sector and business. What works in one industry may not work in another.
However, IT leaders can use lots of technologies — such as proactive and remote tools — across industries. But you will have specific applications across different verticals. For example, in manufacturing, you can use remote tools to help you fix a problem on a manufacturing line.
Accelerate Adoption And Business Success With OCM
Business is constantly changing, and the rate of change continues to accelerate.
As Harvard Business Review recently reported, there’s a “new and urgent demand for change.” HBR went on to add that “in the midst of a Covid-induced recession, and with some industries on the brink of extinction, change isn’t about fine-tuning — it’s existential.”
IT leaders can help enable that existential change using a combination of technology and OCM.
This article first appeared in Forbes.