Change Management in a Business as NEW Usual World
During these times of uncertainty, companies are finding themselves going through an abundance of change. Businesses are facing disruptions to their supply chains, consumer demand is shifting or being reduced, and workforces are adapting to remote work. These challenges can easily pause Business as Usual (BAU). But do they have to?
At Kenway, we believe a comprehensive Change Management plan and approach to any of these disruptions can help businesses continue their operations through Business as NEW Usual. Let’s analyze how organizations can confront these disruptions to the workforce, and successfully continue in a Business as NEW Usual mode.
In a normal environment, companies take months to plan large-scale change initiatives – they analyze the impacts to their teams, they survey, they define the best approach, etc. With COVID-19, all of this has flipped on its head. Companies don’t have the time they are used to; they have had to move whether they were ready for it or not. The rapidly changing pandemic has forced them to fully integrate a digitized workforce, and so they needed to define their Business as New Usual world fast.
This change is a complicated one for many businesses because remote working requires certain technologies, including virtual communication, collaboration and instant messaging tools. Processes must be considered and amended to capture this change in environment. Most importantly, people must be considered as well. This switch to remote working will not be the same for everyone. Some may find it productive while others may struggle with web conferencing or managing distractions from their kids throughout the day.
At Kenway, we approach Change Management by integrating people, process and technology to ensure that large-scale transformations deliver value by placing end-user adoption at the forefront.
Remote working has the largest impact on people. Employees are now required to navigate their jobs from the comfort (or distractions) of their own home. It’s important to understand that this experience will not be the same for everyone. The following factors are essential considerations to effectively implement this change:
- Communication: Clear communications and expectations are critical to successfully implementing a change of this magnitude. It’s important to be authentic and craft communications that consider employee points of view. Connecting emotionally with employees during this stressful time is just as important as solving the business problem.
- Training: Since this change will be different for different people, it’s important to provide adequate training so that everyone can effectively use the virtual communication and collaboration tools available to them. Offering different times and options for training can ensure that everyone can complete it on their own schedule. In the current environment, recording all training sessions is a great option to create on-demand assets.
- Resources: Everyone should know where they can go for more information or who they can go to for help. Additional resources can include one-on-one working sessions or job aids. People will feel more comfortable if there is clear direction on what to do if they get stuck.
An important consideration regarding the shift to remote working is the impact to business processes. It’s likely that BAU processes need to be amended or revamped to reduce employee confusion and ensure the organization is ready for Business as NEW Usual. A key consideration when amending business processes is the likelihood that remote working will exist in some fashion in the future. Taking this into account as these processes are being redefined will avoid continuous updates moving forward.
Onboarding new employees is a process that is best served in person. COVID-19 has forced many companies to conduct this process remotely. When shifting to remote onboarding, we recommend a few critical updates to process:
- Provide a checklist of essential remote work equipment (e.g. computer, office supplies, computer monitor, etc.) and clearly communicate which items are covered by the employer.
- Schedule tutorials and trainings on the firm’s communication and collaboration tools (e.g. Teams, Zoom, etc.) early in the onboarding cycle.
- Plan virtual Zoom lunches, happy hours, or casual meetings with other colleagues to ensure the new employee feels welcome and part of the team.
Video conferencing is the new norm for meetings, and will likely continue to be for the near and distant future. This large-scale change can be challenging, especially given the lack of time to properly plan ahead. To ensure adoption, it’s important to prepare for resistance and ensure impacted parties clearly understand the vision and benefits of the change.
Resistance can take on many forms: fear of the unknown, unclear benefits, impact to current job and responsibilities, etc. In order to manage resistance, it’s important to proactively prepare and assess likely areas and resources that might oppose change, apply the drivers for change to weaken or eliminate the resistance, and routinely request feedback to ensure issues and concerns are addressed. As it relates to a new technology, creating open lines of communication are critical to receiving honest feedback about the tool, and ultimately ensuring the tool is effectively solving the business problem. Employees should feel comfortable expressing their opinions or ideas about the tool through these open channels, especially if the tool isn’t working, because new technology is only as effective as the people using it.
Effectively managing resistance allows companies to focus on adoption. One critical component to ensuring adoption of a new technology is to clearly articulate the benefits of the change to the end user (i.e., answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”). A benefit of a video conferencing tool allows for virtual collaboration and discussions with fellow employees without the need for an office or conference room. In the world of remote working, this type of tool is extremely valuable and necessary for employees to continue effectively communicating with each other. Reinforcing these benefits through various mediums of communication will help feed user adoption.
Is your organization going through disruptions to BAU or struggling to implement a large-scale change across the business? If so, Kenway can help you with a transformational Change Management approach that drives employee adoption. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how we can help.