We are entering a new era of computing, and most companies are making plans for hardware and software updates to accommodate the incoming age of mobile technologies, the Internet of Things, and big data. This means the IT service desk will have to ease users into new systems, which isn’t always easy. The key is to get users on board with your plans before the fact, and keep them informed along the way. By involving users early and fully, you won’t be in the position of having to defend against their resistance later.
1. Get User Input From the Beginning
Users can actually be one of your greatest assets during the planning process. What do they like about the current systems? What do they dislike? What common problems stand in the way of them doing their jobs? What do they need that they don’t currently have? Send out a survey to find out the answers to these questions. This will help steer you towards a useful system and avoid the pitfalls of delivering technologies that don’t meet the needs of the employees.
2. Identify the Real Leaders, Not Just the Managers
It’s common practice to involve managers in decision making and to keep them informed of progress, but managers aren’t always the real leaders of the departments. Sometimes the de facto leaders are actually non-management personnel whom others look up to, admire, and follow. Identify these leaders and get them on board with your plans. They will do more for garnering mass acceptance than the so-called managers of the departments.
3. Offer Incentives for Acceptance and Adoption
In manufacturing facilities, companies often offer rewards to workers for achieving 90-days, 6 months, or a year with no accidents. This incentivizes employees to be more careful on the job, and therefore results in fewer accidents, which improves productivity and lowers insurance costs. IT service management can use this principle too. Offer incentives and rewards for workers who volunteer to give their input into the new system, test it out, and encourage others to go along with changes.
4. Communicate Throughout the Process
Often, it isn’t the new technology that is off-putting to users, it’s not knowing what is going on. They wonder how the technology will change their work, how it will affect their ability to do their jobs, and what they’ll have to learn or adjust to make the new technology work for them. Communicating regularly, often, and transparently puts users at ease. Users who are informed are less resistant to the changes new technologies bring.
5. Start Training Early
Nobody wants to have to learn a bunch of new skills today and be held responsible for all that new information tomorrow. Give your users ample time to learn the new technology, ask questions, and adjust to the changes it brings. Training should begin well ahead of implementation, and should include enough sessions to make users comfortable with it before they are forced to perform with it under the pressure of work deadlines. It’s best to train in small groups with a knowledgeable instructor who can fully answer their questions and help them adjust to the technologies in a comfortable, low-pressure environment. This translates into fewer panicked calls to the IT service desk upon implementation.