Login | December 18, 2018

How to implement technological change without stress

Technology for Lawyers

Published: November 3, 2017

A recent edition of Law Technology Today brought up an interesting point: it can be very stressful to staff to have the office switching over to different technologies. Maybe the equipment is plug-and play, or the software changeover is easy, but that doesn’t mean that the people who are affected by the changes will be fans of the process or the outcomes.

In fact, the article cites a study which found that change-based stress can cause a five-percent drop in employee productivity. Numerous studies have found in many other ways that workplace stress causes drops in productivity in all industries. Treating employees the right way during stressful situaitons like technology changes will only help the workplace envisonment and bottom line.

So, here are five points to consider when making large changes to your office technology, all aligned with the goal of getting buy-in for the changes from the people affected by them, thereby helping to alleviate counter-productive workplace stress.

First, appoint (or hire) a “change manager.” Someone from the top of the chain of command should be visibly and actively in charge of the change—in the tech, in personnel, and in budget, building coalitions and creating buy-in.

Next, build that buy-in through active listening. People’s jobs and job descriptions will be changing, and they need to be in direct communication with the change management and listened to. It is personal to them, so the relationships should be personal as well.

Then be able to give something to the affected employees. Be able to answer the basic question: “what’s in it for me?” That more-or-less entails explaining how the changes will make that person’s job easier, more interesting, more relevant, more lucrative, or more whatever.

Make sure that all communications are up-to-date. Stay in constant touch with all those affected by the change. Use the changes as a basis for communication rather than just giving orders from the top. And talk to people personally and directly, not through intermediaries or impersonal communications like email.

And—train, train, train and reinforce the training on the new tech. That not only makes the new tech “stick,” it also alleviates stress when the employee knows what she or he is doing.

All that can make potentially stressful tech transitions a little easier for everyone.