Many organizations struggle to achieve the laudable goal of successfully facilitating change in an organization. Whether the change is an HR or IT initiative, often the key element that determines success is whether all areas of the organization actively embrace the change. Humans can feel a natural resistance to change, making it crucial for organizations to have a well-developed strategy for communicating and implementing anything that affects employee.
Change management is especially critical to the successful implementation and utilization of a new system, and you should start thinking about your change management strategy prior to selecting a particular solution. It begins in the planning for the selection process when you are determining who will make up the selection team. Will it just be IT staff? Or IT staff plus a few token functional experts? Will it involve representatives from all divisions of the impacted staff?
In a recent software selection and subsequent implementation, we could have done the selection with a small team and then pitched the chosen solution to the staff. Instead we chose to include multiple representatives from each key function—Sales, Accounting, Operations, Corporate and IT. We ended up with a large selection team, 17 in all. While it sounds unwieldy, it resulted in four key outcomes:
- Each function was able to generate a comprehensive list of wants and needs that they owned.
- Functional staff were able to touch and feel the software in use at other companies, providing the real life perspective on the functionality that is usually hard to convey.
- All the team members got to know each other and bonded before the final decision.
- Team members owned the decision—much more so than the senior management team who signed off on it.
These team members became evangelists for the new solution and the massive change involved. They were part of formal communication efforts, but more importantly, they were behind the scenes at each office talking about a better future and bringing enthusiasm and energy to the process. Instead of fearing the change, the staff was excited for it. The outcomes were outstanding, resulting in real gains for the business.
In summary, include a strategy for change management from the very start to dramatically improve your success in implementing new initiatives.
Are you preparing for change within your organization and looking for an outside perspective to help drive strategy? Contact Hartman today to learn how our People & Change practice can help you to obtain successful outcomes when it comes to change.