Before you pony up money for your next IT project, consider this: Roughly two-thirds of change initiatives fail to achieve their goals—and employee resistance is a major reason so many fall short.
That doesn’t mean change is impossible, but it does mean that to get the full ROI from a major project, you have to focus on building buy-in as a crucial component of change. And that’s true whether the IT project involves switching over to streaming IT or implementing a new BYOD policy.
Here are three ways to get employees to embrace change.
Nobody likes an ambush, and telling employees that they’ll be switching things up on the eve of a major move is more likely to spark panic than excitement. Instead, have a town-hall meeting about the proposed change well in advance of the transition. Come prepared with information about why the change is happening and nitty-gritty specifics like when it will take place and how departments will be affected. But also plan enough time to field questions. Remember, you might have been considering this move for months, but for many people on your team this will be the first time they hear of it.
So streaming IT will help your company cut costs, simplify vendor management and bolster its bottom line? Great. But Jane Doe in accounting doesn’t care about those things—she’s just annoyed that she has to learn a new process for logging into her laptop (even if it takes two seconds to do). So stop talking to employees about how awesome this will be from a C-suite perspective, and talk about their pain points and what this change will do to ease them.
You might drive home how frustrating it is to not be able to access files at client meetings or when working remotely from home, then explain how streaming IT solves that problem. Remind employees about the time, last week, when a frazzled hard drive brought the marketing department to a screeching halt for two hours, then explain why that won’t happen again. When researchers asked management to make this simple perspective shift in their messaging, they found that employee motivation measures rose to 57 percent from 35 percent, and the program went on to perform better overall.
Trust us, no matter how thoroughly you think you’ve explained something or how drop-dead intuitive the new process seems, someone will have a question. So rather than wait for those stumbling blocks to slow your employees down, create and broadcast a support system in advance.
Who should they go to if they have questions about the change-over? What’s the best way to get in touch with the IT department for specific issues? Will there be an ongoing training schedule or any follow-up meetings to talk through how it’s going and what could be improved once the change has been implemented? The more you can anticipate the needs of your employees before, during, and even after the IT change has happened, the smoother the transition will be—and the more employee enthusiasm you’ll be able to sustain.
Stay static in business, and you’ll sink. But the need for change isn’t often enough to get employees on board. With a few simple strategies, though, you can help build better buy-in for that IT project—and help your employees enthusiastically embrace the future.
flickr photo by Hey Paul shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license