Digital workplace: does anybody seriously believe they can do without change management?

The transition to a digital workplace is now unavoidable! By unifying the tools we use every day, it offers benefits that no longer need any introduction: more efficient individual and team working, smoother communication and an enhanced employee experience, which are also key drivers for remote working. While you have certainly considered the required technologies, what about change management?    


Change management: crucial for the adoption of your digital workplace  

The promises of the digital workplace have convinced your organisation that it is time to make the leap, or improve what you already have. Never forget the major role played by the human factor in the success of your project!  A digital workplace can be a major departure from your existing processes and corporate culture. Beyond unifying a set of tools, it involves the introduction of a system that will change the habits and working methods of all departments and employees. Like an organ transplant, there will be a high risk of change being rejected if it is perceived as a threat. So, to get change underway, it needs to be explained and understood.  

A change management policy is therefore essential. It will be determined by your vision of what your new digital workplace will look like and how it will operate. In other words, you must give it direction and governance. For example, you may want to put the focus on strengthening collaboration or boosting innovation. Remember that, in order to guarantee a significant business impact, your digital workplace must be aligned with your strategy and direction.    


Bring the right people on board to make change happen 

Once your direction and governance have been defined, it is time to look at the agents of change involved in the introduction or development of a digital workplace. Bear in mind that a lack of internal engagement is one of the main causes of failure. This is why the earlier you bring your employees on board, the easier it will be to manage change. 

ccording to the size of your company, an ambassador or ambassador community must be defined. Who are they? Supportive key employees who will be continuously informed and trained, in order to make them stakeholders in the design of the system, which they will know like the back of their hands. They will be able to help bring the rest of your employees on board.  Executive and line managers also have an important role to play in managing change. Without clear instructions from management, new ideas run the risk of being rapidly ignored. For example, by adopting the change themselves, they will demonstrate their adherence to the digital workplace concept, thereby giving it a significant boost. Managers are also best placed to oversee new practices. The idea is not to make the process of bringing people on board top-down, but to get support from management to complete the mission.    


Provide training to concretize change management 

It is now time to teach employees how to lastingly and effectively use the tools in your digital workplace. Developing skills will greatly influence your change management policy. This is where the ambassadors come in: once they have fully understood the use and value of these tools, they will be able to promote them to a wider audience. It is also possible to provide short, time-efficient training sessions for this group of ambassadors, in order to strengthen their skills.   Another advantage of providing training for ambassadors, rather than for a wider audience, or even all employees, is the time and money saved. In order to support this approach, it is advisable to provide extra training materials via a range of digital tools for those who require additional help. In addition to technical skills, it is a good idea to include the communication skills needed to promote change in the training. Elsewhere, this part of the training can cover management of the change in culture and thinking, as the level of digital maturity will vary among employees.   

Various formats are available to conduct this change, such as the production of guidelines using UX Writing, or remote sessions led by coaches. All depends on your organisational environment and DNA. There is, however, one rule that applies to all: avoid the "Big Bang" approach, i.e. using a single launch. It is better to proceed in stages, with small steps, in order to regularly introduce new things. This will help employees involved in designing and promoting your digital workplace keep up with the pace.  As with any transformation, the introduction or development of a digital workplace is an approach that must be personalised. The uses, cultural changes and aims are specific to your organisation. Establish your change management policy now to make sure your project isn't a flop! 

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