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7 Ways to Manage Change When Implementing New Technology

By Jared Lindzon , Contributor | August 15, 2019

Failing to stay ahead of the latest technology trends can put your organization at risk. However, investing in the latest tech tools doesn't always guarantee a smooth implementation, either.

From glitches and delays to communication and training gaps, there's a lot that can slow organizational change. In fact, there is a “troubling gap between the inherent value of the technology" and the "ability to put it to work effectively," according to Harvard Business School professor Dorothy Leonard-Barton and GE consultant William A. Kraus.

Going from manual processes to technology-aided operations is no easy transition. You will encounter roadblocks. Resistance to change and ill-equipped managers and front-line staff are only some of the things you can expect.

Change management strategy is the key to getting the most our of your investment.

Change management strategy is the key to getting the most our of your investment. Here are seven ways to manage change in the workplace when implementing new technology.

1) Assess What's Working―and What Isn't

It's easy to get lost in the bells and whistles. Assess what is being automated and why. "…(S)tart from the most basic level; what's not working, what can be expected to change with newly implemented technology, and how its success will be measured," advises Rocketrip founder and CEO Dan Ruch in Inc. Magazine. "Then, rank your priorities―functionality and cost are important, but don't undervalue user compatibility."

2) Plan Out Every Detail With Stakeholders

Once you've conducted your assessment, map out each step before attempting any implementation. This ensures that the roll-out plans are clear and well thought out. It also provides an opportunity to engage internal stakeholders and front-line staff in the process. Their involvement is a crucial part of successful change management.

3) Communication Is Key

When a new technology is implemented without prior communication, end users might feel like it's being forced on them. Instead, take the time to listen to their concerns and ensure they feel their voices are heard. These are often the people best prepared to offer advice and solutions based on their first-hand experience. Not only will it ensure a smooth roll-out, but it will also help avoid any surprises down the road.

4) Prepare for Ongoing Training

Getting your team up to speed about available functionality all at once can be overwhelming, intimidating, and―ultimately―ineffective. Instead of inundating staff with loads of information at the outset, plan out an ongoing training process. A tiered approach may prove more effective in encouraging full adoption.

5) Adjust to Different Learning Styles

The success of new technology implementations often relies on the proper training of its users. But it's important to remember that not everyone learns the same way. Some might prefer video demonstrations, others might want to read manuals, and some might prefer hands-on learning. It's also important to adjust training based on generational differences. For example, younger employees are typically more familiar with new technologies.

6) Don't Rush to Full Adoption

While the promise of improved productivity might encourage some to go full throttle on their new tech solutions, going too quickly risks leaving some behind. "It may be tempting to introduce pilot programs as a means of cycling through technologies to find the right one, but taking commitment away from new technology integration can cause your entire process to fail," explains Ruch. "If you don't have a full program in place, it will be difficult for employees to commit."

7) Review and Optimize Regularly

Once a new technology solution has been successfully implemented, the process for maximizing ROI can begin. Consider scheduling a monthly or quarterly review to assess any pain points or training gaps that still exist. Doing so gives you the chance to review new opportunities and consider new features and functionality.

Though keeping pace with new technology can be difficult and expensive, it is now a competitive necessity. But, investing in new tools alone isn’t enough to guarantee a strong ROI.

Instead, organizations must take the time to think through their implementation and change management strategies. Only then can they reap the full value of new technology.

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