Change management in the age of digital transformation

Technology is forever changing the ways that we work. Automation replaces roles, innovation enhances others, and many tech-related roles which will boom in the next decade don’t even exist right now. Knowing how to successfully manage change as a result of digital transformation is a necessity for modern business leaders.

Change does not happen in a business in isolation. Even if only one team is directly impacted by certain changes, reverberations will be felt throughout the business. Making your business more digitally-savvy seems like a tech-only issue, but leaders need to be ready to manage the human side of the equation. Prepare for staff to go through phases, similar to the stages of grieving:

Interested in change – when a company is interested in change, staff tend to fall into two camps – eagerly pursuing change or “we’ve always done it this way” – have plans in place to engage with both sides.

Hungry for change – this phase is especially applicable to large corporates who don’t have the capability to be agile. It can be a frustrating phase where the appetite for digital transformation is there, but the business is not yet ready, or is being met with red tape in the approvals process.

Ready for change – at this point, the company and staff will have accepted that change is a business imperative. Lay strong foundations for the change by researching the technology that will meet your needs, then seeking feedback from staff.

Transitioning – expect doubt to creep in at this stage. When you’re moving away from traditional work practices and into new ones, leaders need to be able to manage expectations and remind people why the changes are being made to keep confidence up. Ensure that people are adequately trained, empowering them to make best use of the technology you’re introducing.

Embedding/evaluating – once you’ve navigated your way through the first four phases, take time to seek feedback on the entire process. Is the system working the way you anticipated it? Are staff and customers happy implementing the technology day-today? At this point, you need to make the technology part of business as usual, or evaluate and seek out other options if needs are not being met.

Throughout the various phases of change, emphasize the benefits of the technology and change; explain to staff that it will be an improvement, an enabler, a bringer of better work practices, even though there may be hiccups along the way. With the right leadership, and a strong vision for what the business needs, change will be easier to weather.

Properly managing the changes that result from digital transformation will make your people and your business stronger.

If you’re thinking about implementing business-changing technology, give us a call, we’d love to talk through your options. We have plenty of experience helping businesses implement technology that revolutionizes how they work.


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