As a member of a global group of entrepreneurs, all owners of businesses like myself, we often contemplate where our businesses are today, versus where they were five years ago, while trying to plan for and anticipate where they will be five years from now. We share experiences with each other as the membership’s business are at varying stages of growth, headcount and vibrancy. And for most of us, our employees are our business, so their success is our own, and their misery is ours as well.
One of the most challenging areas we have identified is the recognition that employee behavior change can be affected for the long term by small moves over the short term. Too many businesses we see, both within the organization and also with our clients, attempt to affect too much change, too quickly.
While there is something to be said for ‘cleaning house’ when it is necessary and to recognize the ‘forest through the trees’, the ability to meet employee organizational goals over the long term without drastic, gut-wrenching change is the art, not the science of evolving an organization. More recently, across most of my fellow entrepreneurs, this is no truer than when it comes to the implementation of new technology.
In our client’s world, we frequently deal with organizations who are seeking, in our cliché, a ‘better mousetrap’. In other words, a better way to accomplish the everyday, required tasks that are normal to running an organization. For us, it’s the ‘business of the business’, specifically when it comes to managing the employees and their needs in an organization, that we’re focused on.
I recently referenced an article by MIT Sloan about the need to digitally transform an organization. Within the study, ‘Technology’s promise is not simply to automate processes, but to open routes to new ways of doing business”. However, it’s noted in the study that management teams feel frustration with how hard it is to get great results with new technology.
Regardless of this, and luckily for us, the world of HCM (Human Capital Management) offers great strides in the automation of processes (think timekeeping and the application of labor policies like overtime and holiday pay) but also offering new ways to engage and retain employees (online learning, performance reviews, and other employee self-service tools).
The key is not trying to ‘shock’ the organization into the use of these tools all at one time, but rather to put them in place strategically and systematically so the small changes, over a longer period of time, mean the organization has adopted the technology and the employees AND the employer are the better for it. I found a great write up on this on a site called HRlab.com called 6 Tactics to Improve Self Service Adoption.
Let’s not forget that many small changes is succession can make huge differences, when viewed as a body of work – and the lack of shock in the process can result in the embrace of change, rather than the resistance of it.