Top-down communication is championed by all modern organisations. Transparency, honesty, and openness are often core company values.
When a new piece of legislation, product, or key senior hire is made, CEOs often make a concerted effort to inform the entire workforce about the changes ahead. So why does this rarely extend to the launch of a new IT initiative?
When a new piece of company software, solution, or system is rolled out – or any kind of technology push is made – it’s often too easy to lose sight of the reasons behind it: to make employees’ jobs easier.
Unless communication is high on the list of priorities, businesses are in danger of dropping a massive learning curve on employees when a new system goes live – which completely defeats its purpose.
Address Ongoing Engagement
From an IT perspective, the first priority is to ensure everything is technically sound. But the problem here is that those implementing the initiative often get wrapped up in delivery. As a result of them keeping information on a ‘need-to-know’ basis, users in other parts of the business don’t have any overt role in the change process.
That’s why employee engagement needs to be prioritised from the outset. In fact, it should be the very first thing that senior management do. After all, in order to understand the need for a new solution, an overarching problem must first be identified. Plus goals, objectives, and objections need to be established – even before the investment is made.
Actively Involve Interested Parties
Establishing an employee-based working or steering group, with representatives from across the business is a good step. Alternatively, an all-hands or ‘town hall’ meeting can stimulate interest from different parties, ensuring that those who sign on to be part of the overall transition effort are fully engaged – every step of the way.
Often those who air the biggest objections are usually the most interested. If you’re able to recruit them to the rollout programme, and ultimately get their support, you’ll be in a strong position when launch comes around.
Broader company rollout should always be meticulously planned. A few slides explaining how the new system works just won’t cut it. And those running your Service Desk won’t be very happy when they’re inundated with calls from confused and frustrated employees.
Depending on the size of your business, it’s worth liaising with your internal communications department to work out a strategic rollout plan – one that informs and educates employees via newsletters, ‘how to’ videos, interactive user guides, and yes, even slide decks.
Choose A Consultant That Champions Culture Change
At MobilityWorks, as external IT consultants to a wide range of large international organisations, we’ve seen firsthand just how successful user adoption can be with the right kind of communication.
In fact, it’s as much a core part of our business as technical implementation is. Our approach is to work closely with users, management, and IT professionals to ensure that everyone a) understands the need for the tech solution; b) the direct impact it’ll have on their individual departments and roles; and c) what it means for the business now and in the future.
Admittedly, coming in as an outside party gives us an advantage – as we’re essentially disrupting the status quo just by being there. But it also gives us an opportunity to dive deep into how a technology’s been used in the past, why a new solution is needed, and how best to ensure it’s embraced.
Ultimately, for successful implementation to take place, the human factor needs to be a core part of any technical change initiative. After all, it’s only when employees feel a sense of ownership and can see the overall benefit of the changes ahead that the project can legitimately be considered a resounding success.