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Change Management Archives - Harbor America

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Preparing Employees for Change Management

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Change, as they say, is inevitable. This is even more accurate in a business environment. Organizations around the world are becoming more comfortable operating in a constant state of change. From adjustments to process and procedures, workflows, acquisitions, and mergers, or organizational structure—this type of change is no longer a far-fetched concept. And while managers attempt to at least put an optimistic spin on the change, most of these events do come with both positive and negative elements.

Initiating change management isn’t easy, but it can be done in a constructive and thoughtful manner that softens the blow for employees. Here are our tips for preparing employees to handle upcoming change management:

Map Out the Process

Taking the time early in the project to map out the change management process is not only a great way to keep project members on track and on task, but this will also become an integral aspect of the go-forward communication to employees. Create a detailed action plan that can substitute as a step-by-step guide for the project team. The map can be adjusted slightly as you work through the process, but by the time communication reaches employees, the map should be considered a static document.

 

Be Clear About the Why

Employees don’t love surprises when they pertain to throwing a proverbial wrench in their everyday life. Take the time to craft open, honest messages to the staff to explain why these changes are taking place. If you’re uncertain or not comfortable discussing the change management, it may be time to slow down or take a step back to make sure that you and your leadership team are clear on why the change is being initiated in the first place. Making sure the team leading the project fully understands (and is enthusiastic about) the why will be crucial to being able to confidently speak about the change.

Include Training When Necessary

While the notion of training in a change management process may not always be necessary, it is safe to assume that most change management will involve a process adjustment or tweak that could include a training segment of some sort, regardless of the length. Employees will see the training as an opportunity to further their professional skills and fill them with confidence as the project nears the conclusion. Ideally, these training sessions will help the employee’s transition to the new process and save management time on the back end answering questions or going back over the new workflow with independent employees, instead of in a group-learning situation.

Experts at Harbor America can help your teams manage evolving areas of the business, including change management and organizational documentation updates, including the employee handbook. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you keep your employees happy and help prepare for upcoming change management.

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Simplifying an Employee’s Technology Experience

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It’s no secret that employees don’t love change but are looking for ways to simplify their day, at the same time. Employers react by implementing new technology platforms that address one or a handful of tasks or responsibilities. However, these new platforms many times are not replacing existing tools, but are rather in addition to the existing technology stack. The new platforms are likely chosen for their ability to integrate with the existing tools, because they are self-proclaiming the “user-friendly” aspect, or employees will shave XX% off their day-to-day routine.

For the employees, though, the desired effect may never be achieved as the overwhelming sense of relief brought about by the new technology is overshadowed by frustration and confusion. In fact, employee stress levels have steadily increased by 20% over the last 30 years.[1]

As the introduction of new technology fails from poor implementation or miscalculated integrations, employees become increasingly frustrated by the new required platform and the addition of added, unnecessary stress and time spent ironing out issues that, in hindsight, were not that big of a deal in the first place.

Instead of attempting to introduce new technologies to help employees become more efficient, work faster, or manage their work better, consider looking at the work itself and adjusting procedures or workflow to highlight built-in efficiency options. New technology platforms should be introduced to new teams or departments assigned to tasks and responsibilities that give the organization a more technical competitive edge in the eye of the consumer.

When looking at existing departments who are using more than one software to accomplish a single activity, payroll, for example, employers should consider the upgrade (moving to the cloud, a larger multi-purpose platform, etc.) from all angles. The primary goal of the business should be to remain focused on their competitive edge, all while creating value and reducing the employee workload, many times through automation. Keep the focus on the needs of the employees rather than increasing the speed of their work.

Here are some tips for taking steps toward modernizing the technology platforms at your company:

  • Be honest with what is needed to succeed and weigh your decisions carefully in this area. Just because something is cheap and checks most of the boxes doesn’t mean it’s the right choice. What processes does the technology improve? What manual steps are eliminated? What is the real value that will be added?
  • Understand from the perspective of all users what the outcome of embracing a simplified architecture will be. Is your team focused on functionality, flexibility, or design? What is the most hindering aspect of the existing technology for your users?
  • Compile a transition or implementation team to lead the user-facing aspect of the upgrade. This team will be the go-to people for employees who are experiencing issues on the floor. The team should include developers, project managers, an IT representative, and a client or customer-facing representative, also. This group will serve as your cheerleaders and influencers for the roll-out.
  • Once the new technology is rolled out, make it routine and mandatory. Keeping the old technology around will only reopen old wounds. In addition to the implementation plan, there should be a sun-setting plan to phase out and eventually eliminate the old technology.

Ensure a positive employee experience by prioritizing the implementation of a technology that is easy, convenient, and allows employees to access the platform anywhere, anytime. Employees will be able to tell if you put their needs ahead of the needs of the business—maximize the employee experience without adding work or over-complicating existing processes. Contact us to learn more about our cloud-based solution designed with end-users in mind. From HR and payroll to benefits administration with online reporting options and paperless onboarding. It’s time to empower your employees.

[1] Forbes: Workplace Trend: Stress Is On The Rise