It’s been said that “technology is everywhere.” The same people are beginning to say the same thing about organizational change, which is all about making businesses more efficient and effective. But what if tech and organizational change haven’t exactly been knocking on the door of your small business? What if you’re a little behind both of these learning curves? Is it possible to catch up?
You bet, and here’s a short but efficient in lesson in how: consider two ways that you can set the stage for technology and organizational behavior to flourish in your business. Then consider two timely organizational issues that business owners are grappling with right now: changes to the traditional work model and finding ways for people and machines to work together in harmony. Once you create this fusion of ideas, you should do more than make up for lost time; you may be able to reap the benefits of technology and organizational change in your small business, too.
Enact Changes in Your Technological Environment
- Bolster the “hard skills.” If it’s any consolation, no one is keeping score about how “far behind” you might be with technology. In this way, plunging into the tech world is like plunging into the world of college. Suddenly, high school no longer looms large; the past fades because your focus is on the future. It’s the same way with tech. Since there is no point in delaying the inevitable, begin the plunge by fortifying your employee’s hard skills with hands-on training courses and even online courses and webinars. They will need these tools anyway. But if organizational change is on the horizon, they (and you) may sink without them.
- Develop multiple channels of communication. Once you start breaking down resistance to technology, a “funny” thing often happens: People discover they actually like it, especially if they find that it makes their lives easier or better. In the case of organizational change, they should definitely find reassurance at being kept in the loop, empowered with information about the changes taking place around them. “An ideal platform for communication during organizational change management will have features that support both top-down and two-way communications, survey and recognition tools and a robust analytics suite so you know exactly how your strategy is performing,” advises CmBell. Expect to embark on a period of experimentation with communication channels, which could include emails, e-newsletters, podcasts, videos and even your own internal company app. Your employees may not embrace all of these channels. But through your good example, they could come to regard the impact of technology on organizations as a positive and energizing force.
See How Technology and Organizational Behavior Converge
- A traditional model gets a “facelift.” In addition to part-time and full-time employees, chances are good that you’re also going to work with freelance professionals and professional service firms to augment your small-business needs. Even employers who resisted the trend toward engaging with contract workers are finally realizing that one of the most positive impacts of technology on organizations is the opportunity to “optimize risk and not just minimize risk,” Rise Smart says. This requires some paradigm shifts. For example, instead of worrying about how to minimize the risk of turnover or the risk of poor performance, the company suggests that business owners focus instead on how to prepare employees for organizational change and how to engage them to become more flexible and adaptable.
- A perfect storm develops. The irony is striking: Organizational development is essentially about breeding greater efficiency and effectiveness. The same goals drive the integration of artificial intelligence and robotics in the workplace. Of course, convincing your employees may take some doing on your part; they may be fearful that they will be replaced or usurped by machines. No doubt you will have to steer this paradigm shift, too. “The ideal is to create an operational environment where humans focus on ideas, innovation and change while everything that is executed more than once is automated,” Fintech says. In other words, people and machines can work together in harmony if for no other reason than technology may be everywhere, but people are, too.