Change in business has always been a constant, and getting employees to embrace change within the workplace has never been easy. But thanks to the acceleration of technological advancements, change is more rapid than ever before. In turn, employees often find their heads spinning in the rush to keep up.
"Some companies are finding the accelerated pace of technology change overwhelming, leading them into a state of digital culture shock. The winners not only embrace change, they thrive on it," observes Accenture in its Technology Vision 2016 report.
The global consulting firm believes that the companies that will do best in this environment are those that make change part of their organizational DNA. To change culture, it argues, you must put people first. Or, as TechCrunch points out, the whole organization needs to be on board for change to be successful.
How do you make that happen? Here's what the experts say.
1. Culture Change Starts at the Top
For change to stick, it must have visible proponents, noted Norm Sabapathy, Executive Vice President of People at Cadillac Fairview Corp., at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference & Exposition last year. Culture change should be a top priority for the CEO and the board of directors, and they should be vocal about helping employees understand why it's essential for the future of the business.
2. Measure Employee Attitudes Toward Change
Enthusiasm for change is baked into employee attitudes. Before any organizational effort begins, executives must first understand which employees embrace change and which prefer stability, says Willis Tower Watson, the advisory company. Employees who embrace change are more likely to be enthusiastic about experimenting with new technologies, while those who prefer stability are more likely to prefer working with proven tools.
Generally, 25% of an organization's employees prefer change, 25% prefer stability and 50% fall in the middle. Understanding the composition of their particular organization will help executives design more effective change-management messaging, rollout and adoption programs.
3. Help People Get Comfortable
To build support among skeptical employees for new technology and processes, it helps to choose user-friendly solutions.
"If your goal is a high adoption rate within the organization, make sure you're choosing the most approachable, most intuitive system possible," Michael C. Mankins of Bain & Company, told Harvard Business Review.
But businesses also need to communicate a "compelling vision for what the technology is and what it's going to do," adds Didier Bonnet, coauthor of Leading Digital and Global Practice Leader at Capgemini Consulting. That means clearly articulating not only how new technology will benefit the company, but how it will make employees' lives better as well.
4. Adapt Culture to New Digital Norms
Businesses that align their processes and policies with the new reality of digital culture are also more likely to gain a competitive advantage and attract top talent, according to Deloitte.
Cloud and mobile technologies have altered employee expectations about the nature of their jobs. Employees are now able to work remotely, collaborate globally with a diverse set of colleagues, and stay connected to the office. But, in a people-first environment, organizations must set policies that create a distinct line between work and non-work if they want to foster a thriving digital culture.
Remember, cultivating a positive attitude about a change in technology is just step one. Competitive organizations in today's world are those with a workforce that's eager for change. By following these steps with every transition, executives will be on their way to embedding this DNA into their corporate culture.