By Julie Moffitt, VP of project delivery, Jolt Consulting
It is often difficult to prepare employees in a service organization for necessary IT upgrades, realignments, and strategy shifts — especially given their close connection to customers. Employees are creatures of habit and are sometimes afraid of the unknown or pose resistance by uttering the dreaded “because that’s the way we’ve always done it” mantra. Furthermore, service employees interact on a daily basis with customers and are often protective of customer interactions due to fear of any change negatively impacting their customers. However, strong service executives know that remaining agile is necessary to thrive in today’s competitive environment and the challenge is to successfully enact change to ensure everyone within the organization is in alignment.
Time and again when a service organization decides to implement a new IT system, often not enough emphasis on change management inhibits employees’ embracing the new system. We have seen far too often organizations that fail to adequately plan for change reach out to consulting firms like ours to help right the project. To compound matters, failure to plan for change often reduces the efficiency and effectiveness of the service IT implementation, resulting in lower user adoption exposing the project to the dreaded IT death spiral. Additionally, if employees aren’t pulled through their resistance and challenged to overcome their fears, the service IT project goals and return on investment may delayed or not achieved.
To accomplish effective change management, planning is needed behind the scenes before any actual change occurs. It is imperative for service organization leadership to fully commit as they are the lynchpin, helping to communicate the strategies from the top down and ensuring completion of initiatives. Service leaders must develop a change management plan with solid components, including creating the vision for change, proper communication, accountability, and resource availability, helping to implement change much quicker within an organization.
There are various reasons why employees resist change, but techniques exist to help personnel overcome their fears.
Change management is a critical component and must be completed in tandem with any new service IT system roll out. From day one, change management should be a project budget line item and built into the project plan, with a detailed strategy, assigned leadership, and actionable implementation steps.
Incorporating change management before beginning any new service IT initiative will assist service employees adopt and maximize the benefit of the new system and lead to success for the service business as a whole.