Managing Organizational Change Effectively

Managing organizational change is a headache. Heck, it’s a headache to explain and write about too, because there are a lot of different factors to work with, including logistics for handling when to apply changes and at what frequency, and then there’s the troublesome human element.

Now, I point that out for a reason, because above all else, managing organizational change isn’t a singular science. It depends largely on what kinds of changes you’re implementing, alongside the many factors depending on the nature and function of the organization, how you have to approach it.

There are a few kinds of change, some of them being procedural changes for different practices or industrial processes, regulational changes for conduct and propriety, and of course, technological transitions into new software or new equipment.

Today, I’d like to talk mainly about how to handle the latter, because it’s the most frequent, given the increasing speed at which technology changes and redefines itself nowadays. What I’m going to do here is give you three tips on how to handle transition into new technologies, working with organizations with varieties of personality types and ages therein.

#1 – Understand their Grasp of Technology

Something to understand about people using technology in the workplace is that while employees may be very competent and confident with the systems they use for their job, this does not mean they have a natural flair or understanding of technology in general. For example, someone who operates spreadsheet software all day, and is incredibly good at using that particular spreadsheet program, may not have a level of comfort and understanding with really much else involving that computer. If put in front of any other software, they may be at a total loss.

This is because people are very good at being creatures of habit, and repetition of tasks will make anyone quite good at those tasks even if they don’t understand the underlying science behind why those tasks are don the way they are, or how the equipment facilitating them actually works.

The best way to handle needs assessment for affecting change with this sort of situation is to have everyone in the group write down the software they use on a regular basis, as well as the types of computers. Encourage honesty, but don’t require any entries that could relate to very personal uses, whatever those may be.

This will give you a good analysis of exactly how much coaching and training is necessary overall, by giving you a good view of how well people involved understand technology in general.

#2 – Abating Resistance in Technology

Now, given the situation above, and as is the case in change management in general, you’ll encounter resistance. Some people may just like the current software or machines you’re using, and not be interested in the new ones. We all tend to grow attached to programs and systems we’re used to. Others may be intimidated by the deeper understanding of technology you’re about to take them through, to make the change.

So, you’ll want to be proactive with this resistance. But, specifically in the case of technological change, you’ll want to outline the positives of the upgrades – the nuisances present in the old systems which are removed in the new versions, as well as the promise that any newcomer-related accidents with the new systems are in fact harmless due to the resilience of systems with each new version.

#3 – Good Training Software

Good training software to teach employees the new systems is going to make this easier. Trying to walk them through lectures and tutorials on software is rarely effective on its own unlike with other forms of organizational change.

WalkMe is a very good solution to this. If you’re not familiar with it, let me elaborate briefly on what it is. WalkMe is an interactive online guidance software which you can visually design the interface for, and which you can program by point and click scripting.

It can be used to make realistic, interactive mockups, or to integrate as live guidance software in SaaS structures for self service or learning-by-doing. WalkMe is a great way to either get them used to the new interfaces and procedures in a benign manner, or to have them continue productivity in the new systems without making dangerous mistakes.

Managing organizational change in the realm of technology may seem like an extra headache, but when you look at these tenets of common sense, you see pretty quickly that it’s actually far less of one than other types of changes.


Christopher Smith
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.
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