As a CIO, your superpower is your ability to manage change. The great thing about your role is that you get to move; technology doesn’t stand still, so you’re always looking for the next iteration, the next bridge to a more streamlined operation.
The strongest IT change management – both individually and organizationally – is built on transparency. That transparency is achieved with open communication.
Success in IT change management is all about meeting people’s needs
Employees are likely to resist change unless you as a CIO meet certain requirements. (A McKinsey study finds that only 26 percent of organisational transformations succeed.)
People need an explanation for upcoming disruptions, and an opportunity to give input. They also want to know about the expected benefits. Is there a risk that the changes turn the organisation into something unfamiliar?
These elements require clear communication throughout the organisation. Below, we take a look at the crucial aspects of change management.
Communicate reasons and expected benefits
It’s no wonder that employees are resistant to change: As their skills increase, tasks become more predictable and they feel more at ease. However, people’s anxiety levels increase with new operations and processes.
They want to know WHY those changes are being introduced. The answer to this “why” must explain the benefits you’ve identified.
Invite feedback at all stages
People are empowered when their voices are heard. You need to gather employee feedback during the change process.
While managers know how the company is supposed to function, there may be roadblocks or workarounds that they don’t know about.
To create sustainable change, you must take everyone’s experiences into account. Similarly, feedback after introducing change is also essential. Internal beta-testing scenarios smooth out unexpected wrinkles and ensure a smooth final roll-out.
Give everyone a voice and let them shape the final version – that’s the most reliable way to make sure that employees feel a sense of ownership.
Deliver power, don’t remove it
The question of “who is in charge of what I do” reflects a person’s need for control. If employees feel that their workflow is being dictated from the outside, they feel disempowered and will resist.
This resistance can spread among teams, as colleagues band together to defend their process territory. That’s when the skilful change manager has to take this into account and flip it: Instead of removing an employee’s sense of power, present the change as an enhancement of their control.
In general, this will be an easy case to make, since digital transformation is about increasing human reach and options. It’s simply a matter of framing.
According to Harvard Business Review, “A root cause of resistance to change is that employees identify with and care for their organisations.” This means that people's tendency to resist change is rooted in a worry that that their identification and belonging will be disrupted.
HBR’s research finds that the effectiveness of IT change management is related to leaders’ ability to “communicate a vision of continuity”.
IT change management depends on communication
CIO.com points out that “IT is the predominant delivery agent for business change”, and a CIO’s value is based on their ability to manage change.
As shown above, effective change management depends on communication – your most important tool is something that opens and streamlines all the channels.
Telavox not only provides the means for great internal (and external) communication, but it’s also super easy to use, administer, and implement.
This cloud-based solution gathers all of your company’s communication channels into one unified platform. Some of your team members may rely on voice calls, while others use chat, direct messaging, video calls or email.
In many cases, teams are spread out across time zones, making a secure, streamlined connection even more essential. A cloud-based solution is quick to initiate and user-friendly, with no high starting cost – which translates into smooth IT change management for all stakeholders.
In other words, Telavox is a great start for CIOs aspiring to become true change masters.