We have previously discussed how becoming data-driven is essential for organizations in today’s digital world. In fact, the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology listed maximizing data and applying analytics first in its list of the top 10 workplace trends of 2016. While learning how to maximize data and analytics to improve efficiency and make better business decisions is crucial for businesses to remain competitive, it is just as vital to properly acclimate and prepare employees for some of these changes.
In order for employees to optimize a data-driven environment, be sure to consider the following:
Give as much notice as possible
Any type of change, whether it be new technology or new processes, can be very intimidating. Giving too short notice or no notice at all can cause stress and anxiety for employees. The more notice you give to employees the more they can prepare themselves for whatever new implementation will be taking place. This will also be less disruptive and yield less pushback from individuals affected by the new changes being implemented.
Similar to providing notice, transparency helps for an easier transition when preparing employees for a data-driven culture. Employees are less likely to feel stressed or resentful towards management and the new process or technology. Being transparent also fosters trust. Individuals will be more open to new procedures when they feel they can trust the process and those implementing them.
Provide “The Why”
Humans are creatures of habit and are often resistant to change. Even if management knows new technology will make employee lives much easier and more efficient, employees may not see it that way. They may feel inconvenienced, intimidated, and frustrated. Explain to your staff why the change is being implemented and how it will improve the organization. Get people excited and interested to take on new challenges. The goal is to provide meaning for employees so they’ll be more likely to support whatever will be implemented.
Assess the organization’s data-driven readiness
It’s crucial to be aware of the state of readiness of your audience. For example, if employees are going to be using a new software, it’s safe to say there would be little to no knowledge abut this product. As a result, plan for that. Completely new technologies or processes require a more thorough preparation than small adjustments. Don’t just throw something new out to your employees and assume they’ll figure it out. Take the time to understand what people know and what they don’t know, then plan accordingly. Would you ever implement a new core without training your staff? Of course not. The same principle applies to your data and analytics projects.
Train and prepare
The level and length of training will depend on the readiness of those being affected by a more data-driven culture. For a small implementation, holding a short meeting for Q&A may be sufficient. For larger overhauls, formal training and guides are typically required. Regardless of the extent of the impact of change, providing as much information and background as possible is ideal.
Provide a support system
Like most groups, there are those who learn quicker or find new technology more intuitive than others. Similarly, there are those who struggle with change or aren’t quickly able to embrace new technology and processes. Try to find ways to create a support system in order to ensure a smooth transition and to avoid resistance. Providing mentorships or open-door policies for questions and concerns are ways to help make changes in the workplace easier and more effective. For systematic issues that a larger number of employees share, consider focus groups to understand the root of the problem.
Reinforcement is essential
Letting people know they’re doing well or that the new culture is providing a positive impact will go far with your employees. Reinforcement provides reassurance and lets people know they’re doing a good job. This helps to foster a unified environment and keeps people motivated and confident during times of change.
If you can apply these techniques during your data and analytics implementations, we have no doubt you can achieve greater buy-in and utilization amongst your staff. Like any other technology initiative or major process change, properly readying staff and supporting them throughout the effort is critical to success.
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