Using Your New Technology as an Opportunity to Create an Agile, Fluid, & Well-Equipped Workforce
You have done your due diligence and examined both the needs of your organization and the strengths of potential enterprise systems. You have made your selection and begun to implement your solution – now what?
To get the most out of your solution and your investment, your organization must shift its focus towards becoming as agile as possible, with a workforce that is fully equipped to take on their new challenge. But what does that really mean? What is an agile organization, anyway?
An agile workforce is one that can quickly respond to changes in marketplace conditions or to shifting technology and new competitors. An organization can only be the sum of its parts, that is – the sum of its people. So in order for your organization to be truly agile and able to adjust to a changing marketplace, your workforce must embody those characteristics in their own jobs.
During the periods before and after go-live, user adoption needs to be a major focus of your initiative. Often, members of your workforce may resist change and even be fearful of change – perhaps fearing how massive changes to the organization will affect not only their ability to perform their job, but also the potential of their job being eliminated. This fear of change can be mitigated, however, and positive energy can be injected back into your workforce if the proper steps are taken.
Here are some of the things your organization can do to empower your users throughout change, ultimately leading to a more prepared, more engaged, and more agile workforce:
- Effective communications: Messages about the state of the change, the reasons for the change, and the effect of the change on the employees should be clear, frequent, and authentic. If the workforce truly believes in the change and understands their individual roles in the change, then resistance will be mitigated.
- Cross-training and rotating job roles: An organizational change is an excellent opportunity to do a little bit of cross-training and to teach the different members of your team to handle different roles. This lessens the effect of any potential turnover and widens the skillset of your employees while creating increased efficiency.
- Giving workers autonomy: When you’re riding in an airplane, you don’t particularly care what gizmos the pilot has to press to make the plane work – as long as you end up in the location printed on your ticket. The same principle applies within a well-run organization. If employees are engaged and invested in the success of your initiatives, then they will find a way to meet those objectives. With the freedom to make choices within boundaries and to develop processes that they know to be effective, your workforce will feel confident in their work and help your organization meet its goals without over-management.
- Offer access to performance support tools: To keep the workforce as agile and as efficient as possible, there needs to be a way for workers to solve problems on their own as they encounter them. With modern technology, online performance support tools are a life raft for the inevitable choppy waters. Not only do modern performance support tools allow users to access just-in-time answers to on-the-job conundrums, but they help give users the confidence to solve problems on their own and prevent delays, frustration, or even turnover.
Even with these tips in mind, it is important to take a step back and look at your change initiative from the most important asset you have – your workforce. How will change affect their jobs, their stress levels, and ultimately their lives? Proper user adoption is key to any change initiative, and its value in your long-term return on investment cannot be overstated.