The COVID-19 pandemic swiftly changed the way that companies work and emphasised a growing need to be agile and adaptive to change as an organisation. This article looks at tools for successful change and how these can drive change and collaboration in today’s world. It also explores that having the right culture and ecosystems in place is endemic to successful change.
While a lot of change management theory has been researched over the years, when it comes to change practice, this is an area that can be difficult to manage successfully due to the people element. People are creatures of habit, and therefore, one of the biggest challenges facing organisations wanting to implement change is getting wholesale buy-in to the change. Two of the greatest influences on how people adapt to change within an organisation are the overriding company culture and the toolsets that the company utilises.
The culture of an organisation can greatly help with successful change; as the Harvard Business Review put it, “Culture is like the wind. It is invisible, yet its effects can be seen and felt. When it is blowing in your direction, it makes for smooth sailing. When it is blowing against you, everything is more difficult”. Companies that are built on agile, adaptive thinking and open communication are more likely to find the wind at their backs.
Companies need to be diligent in their planning and in leveraging tools that best fit their teams and what they are trying to achieve. Taking the time at the beginning of the change planning cycle to choose tools and systems that help promote and bring about engagement, collaboration, and communication with key stakeholders can promote and strengthen change adoption. Organisations also need to be cognizant of their workforce when choosing tools, i.e., the skillsets that are inherent and, maybe, more importantly, those that are missing. There is a challenge in selecting tools that strike a balance between rich features and ease of use.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, remote and flexible working very quickly became the new norm. Organisations needed to act quickly to acquire new collaborative technologies. There is increasing pressure on staff to not only embrace these new tools but to quickly learn and apply them as they are now widely used as part of their daily working practice. Having relevant infrastructure and training programmes in place is paramount. There has been a shift away from a culture of one-way, top-down information to one where collaboration, ideation, and the open sharing of ideas and experiences is what staff expect when being engaged and communicated with.
Technology is central to this new way of working; technology that has become more accessible and affordable, allowing more organisations and their employees to connect more effectively regardless of location. A combination of Cloud-based tools, social media, open networking, and learning platforms promotes a culture of openness and knowledge sharing that is no longer restricted to where you are physically located. Global organisations are finding it easier to be truly global with a dispersed workforce and leadership. This can empower departments and workflows to be always on and reduce any risk of single points of failure due to time zone centric workloads.
With many Cloud-based tools offering free trials, organisations have the option to try before they buy. This, and the way the SaaS subscription models work, allow for greater flexibility and the ability to try a multitude of products without having significant overhead costs or long-term contractual commitments. Further flexibility is enabled with many SaaS tools, allowing easy API configuration and plug-in to other products and services. With this ability for toolsets to adapt and evolve with an organisation, options are endless, enabling people to engage in new and exciting ways.
Collaboration platforms also allow us to engage with people virtually; some organisations have even ditched physical office spaces in favour of becoming a digital workplace that fully embraces remote, online working. Tools for working are now at users’ fingertips with the ability to access this technology via different platforms, i.e., phones and tablets, allowing for a greater reach to all members from all parts of the business.
The importance of ideation and investing in tools that help organisations harness innovative ideas can be a contributing factor leading to successful change initiatives. This allows leaders to reach a wider pool of knowledge in a short timeframe and to also reach employees who might otherwise feel disenfranchised by company change. Using connective technology allows SMEs to give real-time feedback that is inclusive and time flexible and lets organisations keep their finger on the pulse of the workforce at large. Therefore, matured ideas are more readily available to leadership and can be tracked through to fruition with an engaged workforce behind them.
With the right toolset(s), organisations can help foster positive engagement, data sharing, collaboration, inclusiveness, and buy-in. As well as this, they can break down silos and empower employees with up-to-date data and the ability to collaborate across departments more effectively, which lends itself to prompt insights and decisions. Organisations and their leadership need to be adaptive and embrace a culture that takes advantage of new toolsets and the new ways of working that they enable.
Looking for tools to cloudify your business? Integrated Cloud can help. We offer a no/low code development toolset as well as our business management system, CloudCube. It offers modules designed to run all aspects of your business including PPM, Meetings, Finance, HR, Absence, Time and so on. Our Ideation module can act as a digitised “suggestion box” allowing you to track simple ideas from inception to fully fledged projects through to ROI. Best of all, it’s all part of a single integrated platform. You can find out more about CloudCube from Integrated Cloud here.