HomeFuture of WorkBusiness TransformationWhere IT stops and HR steps in: how to ensure a smooth transition to new technologies

Where IT stops and HR steps in: how to ensure a smooth transition to new technologies

  • 4 Min Read

In today’s digital landscape, its undeniable that technology is playing an ever-increasing role in ‘doing business’. Nowadays, regardless of size or sector, each process and each interaction undertaken within an organisation is underpinned by technology.

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With customers demanding new and improved experiences, and competitors investing millions into the tools to deliver them, organisations have been left executing one technical strategy after another to ensure they remain agile and front of mind. Love it or hate it, digital transformation is a term we’ve all grown accustomed to, and it’s one that won’t be falling off of the boardroom agenda any time soon. Megan Barbier, VP of Human Resources, Wrike discusses the importance of a smooth transition into the digital landscape. 

In fact, according to IDC, 30% of the world’s 2,000 largest public companies will have allocated at least 10% of their overall revenue to fuel their digital strategies by next year. Take industry leaders such as IBM, Google and Microsoft, for example – all of which are known for their influence on the tech landscape – and that’s a lot of money being spent.

However, while the large-scale benefits to businesses are clear – improved processes, greater levels of innovation, and the chance to strategically identify new revenue streams – for employees, the concept of having to get to grips with new ways of working can be daunting.

In order to ease the knock-on tension that these worries can have on an organisation, it’s essential that the HR department is heavily involved in the digital transformation process. Only through ensuring that members of staff understand the changes they could be subjected to, and more importantly, how these will impact them on a personal level, can businesses hope to achieve a smooth transformation to new technologies.

Manage the team, not the tech

Whilst the initial task of implementing innovative tech across the enterprise will inevitably come from the top-down, with the CIO likely leading the procurement process, the real challenge lies with making sure they are accepted beyond the IT team.

Without the right level of change management in place, any new tools or software can set off a ‘fight or flight’ response among employees, leading to unwanted resistance and disruption across the organisation. Not only can this result in an easily-avoidable backlash, it’s also likely to cause a plummet in productivity, as staff take time to process the change.

The solution lies in a personalised approach to change management, in which businesses can ensure they offer the right support and guidance throughout the whole implementation process – from adoption to deployment, and beyond. A combination of transparency and expectation-setting will be key in maintaining morale and retaining an organisation’s most important aspect – its people.

Getting to grips with personality types

Any new practice, system, or tool is an unknown, and can therefore cause feelings of uncertainty for many people. To combat these feelings, it’s important that HR departments work to instil as much confidence as possible, through tailored management techniques.

In order to anticipate the needs and concerns of employees, organisations need to identify each different personality type, ensuring they can leverage the strengths of each character and help make the transition to new technologies smoother.

Whether you identify employees that are sceptical of change, those that are eager to jump ahead before they’re ready, some that are willing to just go with the flow or perhaps even a few that are intimidated by new technology, understanding and acting on each diverse character profile will result in greater individual productivity. This will then lead to projects being completed faster and heightened levels of confidence earned.

Accepting the inevitable

In order for businesses to remain competitive and continue adapting to constantly-evolving markets, embracing modern ways of working is essential, a lot of which will be inevitably be driven by new technologies.

By adopting a personalised approach to implementing new technologies, businesses can foster the idea that change doesn’t have to be negative. With the right guidance and support, it can be an exciting, valuable and in many cases, welcome time for the whole organisation.

At its very core, resistance to change only exists due to fear of the unknown. The solution, therefore, is to adopt an engagement over interaction approach. Instead of seeing change management as a tick-box exercise, it needs to be a conversation, not a dictatorship. Without an open and honest means of communication, organisations will struggle to see the signs that could indicate an issue amongst staff.

Change is unavoidable, but with the right techniques in place, it doesn’t have to be an unnerving process. With technologies coming and going, employees need a full grasp of their purpose and benefits. Only then can businesses successfully turn apprehension into opportunity.

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