Agent of Change
8 November 2016
Overcoming the fear of new systems and technology requires training and good communication. Easier said than done...
As you gaze up at your newly constructed building with wonderful, state-of-the-art technology, picturing the influx of patrons sharing your admiration for the new facilities, you are suddenly hit with the startling realisation - are your staff ready for this? Your mind is suddenly filled with dollar signs, the costs of training, the resistance to change, the time consumed. This sounds more complicated than the actual construction process itself!
But it doesn't need to be. With the right strategic direction and some concrete planning, you can use this opportunity to develop a more engaged and constructive workforce. But first you need to ask yourself, what are the experience, skills, knowledge and commitment levels of your current employees? What do you want them to be in 5 or 25 years? Are these the employees you want to invest in, or is it time to make some tough decisions?
If you chose tough decisions over investment, please skip to the final paragraphs of this article (we'll see you there!). If investing in your current resources is is your plan, here are some handy tips to add to your toolbox:
Involve Your Employees In The Process - They Are Your Bricks And Mortar
Employees are more likely to embrace change and participate in the process if they are kept in the loop. Actively communicate with your employees about the nature of the change and the technology and how the process of change and introducing the new technology will unfold. Deliver this information in a timely manner so employees can adjust and prepare for the change.
Aim For The Perks, Not The Challenges
Highlight how the introduction of new technologies and facilities will benefit employees and make their job easier and more enjoyable. If you focus on the positives, employees will be more likely to embrace change and commit to learning.
Train, Train, Train
Training is key in the implementation of new technologies and the earlier the better. The sooner and more frequently you can get your employees interacting with the new technology, the smoother the transition with be when it is time to flick the switch. This process will also reveal any kinks in the system or fresh perspectives on the usability of the technology.
How clubs roll out their training is directly related to how employees respond to it. Appointing ambassadors to promote and facilitate training could smooth the transition. Ambassadors should be briefed on frequently asked questions and be available to assist employees adapt to new technologies. They could even lead focus groups to help refine how your club should prepare employees for the changes ahead.
It takes time, effort and money to implement new technologies and devise foolproof training plans. To prevent your seemingly well-oiled machine from cracking, check in regularly with your employees. Ask them how they are finding the technology, whether they require any additional training, or whether they have any suggestions for improvements.
The resisting Employee
You've read this article, you've consulted with your employees, you've appointed ambassadors and provided training. But there is still one employee who refuses to adapt to change. Now what?
Meet with the employee to find out the source of their resistance. Maybe they are still having difficulties using the technology or feel they can't keep up with the changes. This could easily be resolved by offering more intensive training. Or maybe it is simply an act of defiance and you will have to performance manage the employee.
(SOURCE: Alexandra Bonello, ClubsNSW Member Enquiries Advisor, ClubLIFE OCT 2016)