These successful change management practices will hold you in good stead.
Ever since organisations embraced technology and automated various functions, change management has been a challenge they have had to grapple with every time they introduced a new technology. Change always meets with resistance, as employees tend to be comfortable with the way they have been things. Adapting to new technology, new processes and acquiring new skills are all daunting tasks that CIOs and HR teams will have to guide them through in the aftermath of any transformation journey. Earlier transformation journeys were different as they involved employees adapting to a new software platform or application. But change management after digital transformation will not be so easy as it will be a leap of faith for many organisations considering it will have far reaching ramifications that could impact their processes, policies, and culture. Also digital transformation is dynamic, as enterprises need to respond to disruptive changes from time to time. Here is how leaders can manage change brought on by adopting digital technologies.
Craft a strategy: Have a well thought out strategy for change management even before you embark on a digital transformation initiative. The strategy should consider all hurdles to transformation, which could include people, processes, and legacy applications. It should also factor in resources like talent and you should identify digital leaders within various departments. A program to train the employees’ transition to a digitally transformed environment is critical to managing change successfully.
Get board level support: It’s extremely important for you to have the backing of the board and the C-suite within your organisation right from the start as digital transformation translates to bringing about systemic changes that could result in an overhaul of your processes. In many cases job roles could also change, as employees have to be reskilled to cope in a digital environment. Digital transformation has the potential to impact your organisation’s culture, as it demands a collaborative approach to solving business problems. So getting a board level buy-in is the first thing you’ll need to do once you are ready with the strategy.
Get the right team in place: While there is scope for you to train and reskill the existing workforce, you will be better off with a team that has been exposed to digital technologies right from the start. Today, Millennials are getting into the workforce in droves. Make sure that you have a good mix of fresh digital talent and experienced people who can adapt to digital.
Go big or start small?: This is a dilemma most organisations looking to embrace digital technologies face. One way is to go all in and overhaul your processes and IT infrastructure. This will require massive resources and budgets. The other way is to start by making incremental changes that will not upset the legacy applecart and make way for a gradual transformation. A large international management consulting firm recommends going all in and points out that incremental changes will not have the desired results. But there are others who believe that starting small is a good way to go for companies with resource constraints.
Base your change management strategy on data: Gain analytical insights into all your stakeholders who could be impacted by digital transformation. These could include your employees, partners, resellers, suppliers, and customers. Once you transform digitally, the way they interface with you will change. Insights into their comfort zones will help you craft specific change programs for each category of stakeholders.
Be agile, adapt to disruption: Digital technologies are still evolving. With every new innovation or disruption you should be ready to make course corrections and adapt. This means change management is a continuous activity.