Implementing a new piece of software can be an extremely exciting but stressful moment for an organization. It’s important to understand the psychological effect of change in order to support our teams during any form of transition.
By bringing new technology, let’s go with the example of an intranet to the workplace, you bring new processes and new ways for people to do their jobs. Without proper use and engagement, your intranet is going to do nothing but collect dust on a very expensive server. It could have acted as the company’s beating heart brimming with information and cross-departmental connections. But no – no one knew how or wanted to use it.
Where’d it all go wrong?
When facing a moment of change, all of us go through the same phases. The first reaction is to deny and refuse to change; the second is to explore and gather information about the change; the third one is to start changing and the last phase is when you get used to it and move on.
These stages can bring anxiety and a certain degree of suffering to the ones involved. It will also take people a different amount of time to move through each phase.
For someone younger or familiar with technology it could take no time to go over the stages, implement the routine in their work lives and move on. For the ones who are not so familiar or that have been doing their jobs in a certain way for a very long time, this can take a little longer.
It’s estimated that 70% of change efforts fail because of employee resistance. So, what can you do to ensure a successful intranet implementation? Hint: it’s all about company buy-in, here’s what you need to do:
1. Give as much information as you can
People are more willing to adapt if they understand the reasoning behind a change. Having open and honest communication with the employees will help them feel more confident about the change.
One of the first steps in communicating change is answering all the questions relating to why. “Why a new software”, “why a new process” or even “why now” are questions that you need to be ready to answer.
Let’s use the intranet as an example. Some of the questions you would need to answer up front are:
- Why a new intranet?
- What are the benefits of the software to the organization?
- Where does the intranet fit in the overall strategy of the organization?
- Why did you choose that intranet provider?
- Would new processes be created? How would that work?
- What’s the timeline?
2. Provide training
Learning a new technology can be an uncomfortable process. Offering training sessions with different approaches to different levels of comfort can help. It’s important to reassure the employees that they will be supported along the way and that they are not going to be judged by their abilities in operating the software.
Going back to our intranet example, offering training sessions by the department and/or roles can give the employees more confidence to ask questions since they would feel more comfortable around people they work with.
Don’t forget to think about the future either, when it comes to onboarding, new employees also need to be taken through training. Recruitment firm Go2HR found that 40% of employees left their positions within one year due to poor training. This is your chance to step up from the get-go!
3. Provide additional materials
Each person learns in a different way and you need to make sure you are facilitating all types of learning.
Offering pre-recorded walkthroughs or how-to videos will also help after the launch when the employee doesn’t know how to perform a task. You can also involve the employees by asking them to record the videos themselves for the tasks they perform on the intranet on a regular basis. If a team or individual is more technical, having some technical guides will help them to understand the software.
Staying on the topic of intranet, you can even make these resources part of the intranet itself!
4. Get support from key people in the organization
Have employees that can be your “change ambassador” by your side. Having the support of the leadership team is important but having the support of informal leaders is crucial.
Invite employees who are regarded as influencers in the organization to help you not only to build the content but also to promote it within departments. Ask your ambassadors to help other employees in their department to learn how to use the intranet or where to find what they are looking for.
If they always refer to the intranet, the other employees will embrace it as the place to look for the documents, forms, or company news.
5. Once the decision is made and communicated, stick to the plan
There is nothing worse for getting people to change than changing the plan. Most of us will only change when there is no other choice and any back and forth with that decision will prevent people from going through the curve.
One of the questions we get the most is: “How can I get the employees to use the intranet?” The answer is simple: give them no other options.
Move all the company documents, forms, calendars, and any other information they need to do their jobs over to the intranet. But also make it fun – have kudos and employee recognition features, contests, and quick polls.
6. Be ready for complaints
Even when doing all the above, some employees are still going to complain and resist. That’s human nature. Don’t take things personally, be assertive and remember to:
- Reassure them by saying that you understand the frustration
- Explain again why the change had to happen
- Tell them how important would be to get their buy-in
- Ask if they are having any issues learning how to use the new software and offer to help
Getting a new intranet in place is a challenging process, but you can definitely help your employees to get where you need them to be in a smoother way. If all else fails, reach out to us. We have definitely seen it all and heard it all – and we’re here to help.
If you’re in the research phase of your intranet journey, here are a few more articles that might be useful:
You can also take our Internal Communications Assessment for a detailed report on your efforts, plus resources to help you become a stronger communicator.
Still, looking to start your intranet journey? Book yourself a FREE DEMO call with us today. We’ll be more than happy to be your partner.