As an employer considering a new IT system, you most likely have a few things on your mind. You know that to stay ahead of the competition you need to leverage today’s innovative technologies. And ultimately the advantages of a new system will benefit your business, your employees, and your clients. But before you can realize those benefits, there are some challenges standing in your way.
How will employees react to an IT system change and will there be a negative impact on your business or customers? If you’re working with or thinking about a new IT service provider, this may add another layer of concern.
Learn more about knowing when to bring in outside IT support services and how to make sure you’re hiring a reputable IT firm that is the right fit for your needs.
Understanding Employee Fear and Resistance
Change can be a scary thing for people in the workplace. Changes involving technology can be downright intimidating. Despite the benefits of migrating to an updated system, it is not uncommon for companies to experience fear and resistance from their employees as they prepare for an IT system change. Common worries include:
- Fear of losing their job and being replaced by technology
- Fear of incompetence. Will they be able to adapt quickly enough?
- Fear of the unknown/lack of stability
Your employees probably recognize the shortcomings of your existing IT system, but fear of change can be daunting. Some employees may even go so far as to try to sabotage the change with negative talk, which can be bad for business overall.
An IT system change is not only a big investment for your company, but it is fundamental to growing your business. Acquiring buy-in across the organization is crucial to getting the most out of your new IT system. The good news is there are steps you can put into place to set your project and everyone involved up for success.
Prepare for an IT system change by making these three components a priority
Communication at all levels early on is essential. Even if you haven’t narrowed down a system or a provider yet, it’s never too early to start including employees in your vision for the future. The more your users understand the benefits of a new system, the more accepting they will be. Remember the WIIFM rule. What’s In It For Me? By explaining the benefits that will affect them, you’ll be laying the groundwork for a successful implementation.
Communication isn’t a once and done step in the process. It should be ongoing, transparent and two-way. Provide opportunities for employees to comment on the latest information and ask questions. Assure them that they will be part of the planning process and keep your word.
According to Harvard Business Review, many implementations fail because someone underestimated the need to be prepared.
You’ll need an experienced project implementation team in place that understands the systems, the business, and has a firm grasp on how to optimally time project milestones to avoid disrupting operations. Include users in the planning process. Leadership should work to understand employee resistance & anxieties. Getting input and feedback from users early on about current systems, processes and where improvements are needed can help to guide your project team. This kind of insight will help your implementation team understand how the system will impact each area and where potential bottlenecks might be.
Keep your users up-to-date on timelines, training and the progress of the implementation (keep communicating). The more informed they are and they more their input is heard, the more invested in the overall success they will be.
Employees can only make the most of a new system if they understand how to use it. Aim for training that is positive, interactive and timely. Train too early and users won’t retain the information when the project is complete. Train too late and you could impact important business processes. Plan your training with these things in mind. Remember that employees who are confident and understand how to do their jobs are happier, more productive, loyal and provide better customer service.
Consider more specialized or ongoing training for influencers, go-to employees or managers who might be responsible for helping others work through changes. Knowing that the company is committed to providing employees with the tools they need to succeed and that there will be co-workers they can turn to for help will build everyone’s confidence.
Thorough planning, ongoing communication, and effective training require time and patience. If your company is invested in properly implementing these components as you prepare for an IT system change, you’ll be well on your way to maximizing the benefits of your new system!