New Year, New Software: Change Management Tips For Project Success

From creating improved customer experiences to a renewed focus on collaboration and employee productivity, 2018 will be a year where businesses deploy new technologies and review processes to reach revenue and profitability goals. Therefore if new software is your New Year’s resolution – one thing is certain – navigating the sometimes bumpy waters of change can be tricky. So let’s take a look at how to ensure your project feels like a walk in the park…

Culture is key

Organisational culture is a big factor for user adoption. If employees adopt a silo mentality, then they are less likely to use the shiny new collaboration tools. Therefore, it is important to address the ‘perceived risk’ or focus on culture change before the project begins. Similarly, if there are some positive cultural attributes you want to bring forward into the new environment, ensure those are nurtured prior to the change.

TOP TIP: When you tap into the energy, values and commitment that underline your business culture, change initiatives are far more sustainable.

Lead by example others will follow

Successful change management starts at the top, which means leaders across all levels and departments must align in strategic goals for the new software implementation. Speaking with ‘one voice’, the teams that work together, are committed to the direction of change and understand the culture, are best positioned for success to increase adoption rates.

TOP TIP: Keep the momentum going to avoid the ‘boomerang effect’ when the initial changes start to fade and when leadership moves on to other priorities. If you make changes to your new system to reflect old ways of working you will likely replicate the same problems.

Real change happens at the bottom

People don’t mind change once they get used to the idea and have had the opportunity to have an impact on its direction. Even asking their opinion is better than never giving the employees a voice in the change at all. At the end of the day, they need to use the new system to carry out their day-to-day activities and great employees make a great business!

TOP TIP: Involve all stakeholders and employees who will feel the impact of the changes, as much as possible, in the learning, planning, decisions, and implementation of the change. You may get resistance if they are not included.

Break it down to the basics

According to Forbes, 70% of transformation efforts fail, therefore it is important to set clear goals and processes to facilitate the project. Remember to communicate the reasons behind the change from the very beginning – according PWC, nearly half of employees don’t even understand the change they’re being asked to make. Also, there needs to be in house change management expertise to handle the uncertainty while the change is taking place.

TOP TIP: Be aware of “change fatigue” which happens when the new software is implemented too quickly and without adequate training. This involves feelings of powerlessness as employees feel unable to influence events that are happening to them, plus lack of training can affect productivity and ultimately revenue. Read about the costs of scrimping on training >

Plan ahead

A change management process is frequently bumpy, therefore you need to be prepared for any eventuality along the way. Ensure processes are in place so when there is a problem, there is a clearly defined solution. Continue to reinforce the new processes beyond the initial rollout of the new software. Ongoing communication helps to reinforce new behaviours and overcome adoption issues.

TOP TIP: While mistakes are expected and are all part of the learning process, celebrate each stage of the implementation project so people feel valued.