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A case for enthusiastic (or at least purposeful) Change Management

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Remembering those last days before every company had its own www address, it can feel like we’re facing a similar paradigm shift with eCommerce. Today, enterprise retailers, B2B Manufacturer and Wholesale businesses are forced to create a new commerce strategy. This strategy entails overhauling their businesses and implementing an eCommerce platform. It is an extremely daunting task, and to shamelessly plug our brand, that’s why companies like Thinkwrap Commerce exist. When all is said and done, the celebration begins. The backend has been coded, the quality has been assured, the integrations are integrated, and the frontend is shiny and polished. However, in reality, your job (and our job) isn’t over.

It’s fun for management to pat themselves on the back and the end of an implementation and enjoy some relief after a few months of honest hard work, but you’re also still a manager, and now you have to answer to your employees… and the fact that you may have just completely changed the way they do their jobs. Now is the time for effective, and much needed, Change Management.

Change management is often overlooked as an integral part of any large overhaul of an enterprise’s business tools. Change management helps your employees take advantage of the new tools you’ve just spent (possibly) millions of dollars for, to bring you an expected ROI. Change management increases employee satisfaction, improves user acceptance, supports business adoption, decreases employee churn, and reduces overall risk. Change management means nothing and nobody gets left behind or forgotten.

As you can tell, I am pretty passionate about change management. The Harvard Business review takes a more positive spin on the topic and asks us to “change the way we talk about change”, so how can we do that?

Did you know that, according to McKinsey, “when people are truly invested in change it is 30 percent more likely to stick”? That sounds pretty positive to me. However, it can be pretty hard as a manager to stay positive when your employees are… less than enthusiastic.

One of the biggest reasons your team may be resistant, according to Enclaria, is that they are experiencing an “outward reflection of their emotional response to change”. As a leader, have you provided a consistent example of adapting to your corporation’s recent change? If your change implementation is designed to streamline operational efficiency (and aren’t they all) - do your employees feel secure in their roles? There could be many reasons why, emotionally, change can be jarring. And while change might make sense to you, it may not to someone who wasn’t involved in the implementation. In other words, “If you assume people will appreciate the idea of change as much as you do, you’ll create blind spots to potential resistance”.

 

Here is a list of variables to consider when you’re about to make your change announcement:

 

#1 - Accountability

Are you committed to adapting to change well? What example will you set? 

Your employees need a clear demonstration of how new business processes are to be run. If they don't have a clear example, how can they learn? When they have learned, if you slip back into old habits, what will that make them stop and think? Will that influence their willingness to stick to the change? 

 

#2 - Communication

What listening systems are in place? Do you conduct town halls? Surveys? Forums? Employees need to feel heard. Anonymous feedback tools may be useful for complaints if an employee feels insecure in their role, but an executive level team member showing accountability in a real-life town hall can also create trust for your employees.

While taking feedback is one thing, it is another to follow it up by following it through. A good suggestion should be implemented, and the person who suggested it, thanked. Suggestions which won't be implemented should still be acknowledged. Keep in mind, employees may have their own preferred person to deliver responses. Some may prefer a trusted manager with whom they have worked closely, while others may appreciate the authority of an executive's announcement.

 
#3 Benefit for Employees

Is there a potential for career or personal growth after this change? Will employees have increased job satisfaction? Or will the opposite be true? Will the job become redundant, or dull?

The potential for the unknown can create a general anxiety that is pretty hard to describe or escape. The unknown is a scary place. Keep your employees away from it as much as possible.

 
#4 New Roles

What jobs do you need to create?  What roles and responsibilities need to change? What support structures are you creating to increase current skillsets, enabling individuals to take on greater responsibility for managing within the new environment?

If you don't have the right people in the right roles, you can't expect a decent ROI. You have the system, but no one is running it properly. This is a big one.

 

 

While it may be challenging to stay enthusiastic, you can at least stay purposeful. Provide a clear example of change adoption, pay attention to your employee’s feelings about the change, communicate well, and keep tabs on tasks and new responsibilities as they crop up, so you can address them quickly and efficiently. The team at Thinkwrap understands the sheer enormity of the task of implementing such a huge change in an organization. We have been part of it, over and over again, supporting our clients who represent a notable list of international brands. If you’re thinking about the development of your eCommerce strategy, and are concerned about Change Management, we’d be happy to schedule a chat between you and our Digital Transformation Experts.

Alternatively, you can find Tracey Nero, Chief Revenue Officer of Thinkwrap, at Shoptalk, in Las Vegas, from March 18-21, 2018, or at B2B Online, in Chicago, May 7-9, 2018. Tracey or any of the Thinkwrap team are happy to discuss your organization’s Digital Transformation and Innovation goals with you. 

 

Learn more about Digital Transformation and Change Management

 

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By Aisling McCaffrey

Aisling is our Demand Marketing Specialist, and loves working with both technology and humans. She studied International Business (concentrating in Marketing) and has spent several years living and working in China, mostly in Shanghai, where she became passionate about global innovation and how the use of social media changes in different cultures. Aisling likes to keep up on internet trends - from business to memes - and is always looking for new ways to learn or entertain herself.

Tags: Change Management, Culture, eCommerce