Company X has been in the business of selling bikes for 15 years in Pleasantville. It has moved along quite well and earned its fair share of success over the years. Its 101 employees all know each other and treat each other as family.
But times have changed. The economic landscape has become more challenging. Customers have become more particular. Businesses have been extra competitive.
And so Company X decided to bring in new technological software to adapt to the times. President A has been over the moon with this idea and he wants everyone to be equally excited. But when the roll-out date came, one could hear grass grow. There was an air of apprehension in the air and beads of perspiration forming on most of the employees’ foreheads.
What could have gone wrong?
Rolling with the times
In the example mentioned above, one could see that the employee buy-in with the new software technology was little to none. The mom and pop store selling specialty bikes needed to up its ante and its leader was all too excited to jump on the bandwagon. However, a very important factor was overlooked – the people who made up the company.
This fictional story of a company who wants to roll with the times also serves as a cautionary tale. However well-meaning the owners or key figures in the company are about riding the wave of change, if the rest of the company is not properly aligned with the objectives, the ride will not be a smooth one.
How, then, can a business go about convincing its employees to embrace change? How will the general workforce be welcoming to the technological change that top management is proposing?
Here are some simple tips to convince your employees to row with you towards the same direction:
- Put people first
The backbone of any company is its people. Any vision or mission a company has is powerless if the people working within are not in consonance with the company objectives.
In espousing change, such as the introduction of new software, the powers that be in any company should always take into consideration the people who will be using that technology.
If you were President A, then you would want everyone onboard. You want to discuss and get the opinions and feedback of the people who would be directly affected by the change. Discuss what the current situation of the business is.
From there, you can all identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that you are all facing as a company. Then you can present the new technology as a plausible solution to address the issues that you want to improve on. Get their ideas and suggestions and take those inputs into consideration when you choose your software and software provider.
You cannot expect a 100 percent buy-in, but if you get the general consensus on the proposal, then you can bet that most of them will support you and the new software. Besides, making them a part of the decision-making process will also give them a level of accountability as active stakeholders in the company’s road to progress.
- Remember: Change is constant
Each company has its own tradition – roots that go back to where and when it started. Holding on to a company’s heritage is not a bad thing. It can actually be something to hinge new developments on. But being traditional just for the sake of being safe and comfortable can be risky for any company.
In a fast-changing world, a business must also explore new things that can help in the growth of the company. Adapting a flexible mindset can help in the agility of the organization. Business flexibility means having the capability to quickly respond to the call of change and address the company’s needs.
Customers’ expectations change, which leads to products being highly customized or tailored to fit the needs of the consumers. New processes and services as well as other external variables will contribute to your company needing additional tools to enable and improve efficiency and productivity, and manage costs.
Flexibility in the way people think will influence the way people move. Fostering this kind of attitude will help in realizing your objectives and spell success for your business.
- Define, educate, and enthuse
When you have created a culture of change and progression within your company walls, then you can proceed to ease in the new technology.
Define your goals. What do you want to achieve by setting up this new software?
Define your key people. Who are the ones who are going to use the technology the most?
Define your work strategy. How will you make the software work for you?
Be realistic with your goals and objectives as well as the metrics that you will use as a yardstick for success.
When you have identified the structure and targets, then you can equip your workforce with the necessary tools for them to be able to maximize the technology to get the best return on investment.
Be careful not to turn this into a dragging exercise, however. Make the trainings and tutorial sessions fun and interesting. Your team members should be engaged and enthusiastic to remain invested in the project. If a Spoiler Susan comes out of training whining about how it was just a waste of time and energy, this sentiment can spread like wildfire within the office and can be a cause for others to get turned off.
Technology should be easy to understand and use. If it is not user-friendly, the tendency for it to be viewed as another boulder to shoulder is a possibility.
Remember to also encourage and support your internal stakeholders. Be a sincere cheerleader. If you can, regularly reward positive attitude and results. Maintain good rapport and foster an open line to encourage feedback.
Art of Adaptability
Convincing your company members to embrace change can be a daunting task, but not an impossible one.
If you set forth putting their interests in mind, creating an inclusive environment where there’s a healthy exchange of ideas, and providing the right inspiration to spur them forward, then you can breathe a bit more easily and be assured that you will have their support in the company’s endeavors.
A palette composed of the right mindset, a positive attitude, and the motivation to work toward a collective goal can be all you need to paint a picture of success.