Today’s post is from Claire Richardson, director, the Workforce Institute at Kronos & vice president EMEA professional services, Kronos. Here she shares her insights about sustainable change management practices.
Peak workloads, market pressure around cost or efficiency, skills or staffing shortages… there are many reasons why organizations leverage technology. Though the topic can be polarizing, technology can and does help increase productivity and streamline tasks and processes where needed. The hot topic right now is if emerging technologies such as AI and ML will take jobs away from humans. However, a technology implementation doesn’t mean an entire role will be eliminated. Often, technology is leveraged to assist humans, even removing mundane administrative tasks and freeing them up to focus on business-critical projects.
This is something I speak with customers about every day when we talk about implementing a Workforce Management solution. Implementing something new can, for some people, have its drawbacks. However, it’s not always the technology itself that causes the stress, it’s the mindset of the person or persons that will use the technology that can cause the bumps in the road. Change is hard for most people, and when you introduce something new to an entire workforce, not everyone will welcome it with open arms. This is where the employer needs to ensure its employees clearly see the value and the benefits of the new technology, and understand what positive aspects it will bring to their individual situation, as well as what will change. This process is called change management – and only once a successful transformation has happened, an organization can move forward with the bigger picture.
Change Management is all about transparency and creating acceptance
Our group – The Workforce Institute – did a survey on this topic recently called “Engaging Opportunity: Working Smarter with AI” and found that of nearly 3,000 global employees, four out of five see significant opportunity for AI to create a more engaging and empowering workplace experience, yet admit a lack of transparency from their employers is a primary driver of fear and concern.
Transparency and making employees part of the change, instead of forcing the change upon them, are key success factors for change management. When employees are part of the journey from the very beginning they will be more likely to also play a proactive and positive role in the adoption. User acceptance is a critical factor in the success or failure of the digital transformation.
For example, an employee who has performed their role for many years, and knows the ins-and-outs of what needs to be done, might be skeptical that they now need to work differently. Without clear explanation of reasoning, strategy, and the benefits that can be experienced, this may come with resistance. Understanding of the bigger picture and that they will go through this change for a purpose – the ultimate result for the larger business outcome – will make for a positive change management experience.
In my role, one of my core tasks is to facilitate change for our customers. I love to work alongside them on their transformation journey to ultimately make their organization more productive and their employees happy with the new way of working. I live by the mantra of trust and transparency being at the core of what we do each and every day. I’ve seen it work, and I continue to carry this best practice with me.