No matter the scope of the change, there are five guiding principles that can help you develop and execute your strategy, from doing the necessary groundwork to go-live.
Make sure you get the most out of your tech investment by creating a change management plan with these guiding principles.
1. Be Realistic and Well-Paced
The key to getting digital transformation right is to assess and prioritize realistically. Automation doesn’t happen automatically. By definition, transformation is a thorough or dramatic change. Recognize that it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and you need to establish a long-term, phased approach. Determine what needs to be automated and why and be mindful that existing efficient processes can be considered in a later phase. The idea is to not rush or make changes just for the sake of change.
2. Lead with a Unified Vision
After you realistically assess your priorities, it’s time to plan the procurement and implementation process. To successfully manage this change, your company mindset must be unified and fueled by the full support of your executive leadership team. Their support of your vision and goals can also inspire support from other key stakeholders. Preparation and planning before the roll-out is an important part of change management.
Also be ready to address three common concerns:
Scope of the project
Describe how your plan breaks it down into actionable steps with realistic goals.
Own the fact that it will be expensive, but explain that in the long-term, the investment will pay for itself. Also describe how there are dangers of becoming obsolete if you don’t embrace change.
If resources are a concern, educate your stakeholders on how implementation will be managed and how it can be a balancing act. This can be a phased process—and an exciting time of professional growth and opportunity for everyone on the team.
3. Communicate Openly
It’s important for employees to feel like they’re part of the process and understand expectations. Open communication is essential for successful change management, and it’s the foundation of your implementation plan. Have leaders issue regular internal communication, attend department meetings, and host webinars and town halls. During these efforts, include opportunities for employees to raise questions or concerns and share their feedback and expertise. By involving employees in the process and inviting expertise, you’re more likely to avoid pitfalls down the road.
4. Commit to Ongoing Training and Support
Employees need a solid grasp on how the new technology impacts their work. Comprehensive training and ongoing support is essential to your digital transformation success. Your goal is to make the information easy to digest and retain. Break training down into bite-sized sessions. Provide a variety of training materials for different learning styles including hard copy manuals, online demos, videos and even step-by-step animated guides.
5. Conduct Continuous Assessments
Many leaders falsely believe that go-live is the finish line in the process, but it’s just the start. At this point, you accomplished implementation—something to be proud of—but the hard work is far from over. For true, ongoing success, you need to continuously conduct reviews and assessments. Ask tough questions. Is the technology being fully utilized? Are there training gaps? What’s the data telling you? Analyze it to help improve future business growth.
Remember that a clear implementation strategy coupled with a pragmatic change management strategy helps your business fully realize the value of technology, giving you the potential for stronger ROI and user acceptance. Be purposeful, think long term, and stick to thoughtful strategies. Then, the odds of your success are high.