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Recruitment technology

HR Tech Europe: Managing Change with Technology

Clare Hopping

HR TechInnovative and forward-thinking companies are using technology to embrace change for the better. This week at the HR Tech Europe conference and expo in London, over 65 speakers are discussing these new technologies and how they can be implemented.

“Change management” is one of the top challenges facing HR departments today. Only 40% of respondents to a recent IBM survey believe they have the right skills to successfully manage change projects - but what is it that makes dealing with them such an issue? And how can technology help to alleviate some of the associated problems companies must deal with today?

Change Requires Full Commitment

While change management may only be a small logistical matter for startups and smaller companies, for mid-sized or large businesses, ensuring that each and every person feels able to commit to a change project can be a real challenge. Implementing new learning systems and facilitating constant cross-departmental communication are the primary obstacles many companies find themselves struggling to overcome.

A strong messaging network or mail service can make these adjustments easier, as they provide open lines for instant feedback and troubleshooting. They can also be useful for brainstorming more innovative ways to implement your change project on a larger scale, like using technology to more effectively train whole departments.

People Naturally Resist Change

The human race’s natural inclination to resist change is possibly the most daunting challenge facing any HR department.

Alan Deutschman, author of Change or Die, uses the example of Michael Eisner at Disney to show that even those at the top can grow hostile to adjustments: “After [Eisner] nearly died… he finally heeded his wife’s plea and brought in Michael Ovitz to alleviate the stress of running Disney. But Eisner proved incapable of seeing through the idea, essentially refusing to share any real power with Ovitz from the start.”

This stubborn psychology continues to hamper the introduction not only of new employees, but of new technology as well. While there’s no simple solution, there are a number of methods at your disposal to help ease its effects.

Tapping into the curious side of human behaviour can override this natural fear, making change seem less scary and more exciting. Effective communication that goes beyond the factual and analytical and into the emotional and personal will allow people to not only accept change, but to embrace it as something that will improve their lives. One company that knows this well is Google, which encourages its employees to get excited about new technology and often rewards those who embrace or bring about change.

Technology, Everywhere

Technology can be used for change management at every level, depending on the project. With the ongoing development of “cloud” technologies, locating relevant files or paperwork is easier than it’s ever been. As Jared Lewis explains, it can also help with performance management: “Various software programs make it possible for human resources professionals to examine employee performance using metrics to ensure that employees are meeting performance standards.”

Beyond all that, technology is also being used more and more in the initial recruitment process - both for job advertising and at the interviewing and training levels. Employees who were recruited through innovative means will more quickly and willingly accept innovation and change in general, as they’ll already be privy to their new employers’ forward-thinking nature.

Conclusions

As the late Steve Jobs once said, “Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity, not a threat.” By using technology to help change management, an HR department can not only gain the full commitment of everyone within the company, but also overcome employees’ fear of change. These technologies include various software packages, cloud-based file storage, and innovative recruitment methods.

There’s also a constant stream of new technologies being developed to address these problems and more, many of which are on display at the HR Tech Europe conference and expo, going on this week. While how effective they’ll ultimately be remains to be seen, we’re excited to see how it all unfolds.

Clare Hopping

Clare Hopping has been involved in the recruitment of both full-time employees and freelance staff for ten years. She specialises in recruiting staff via social media and digital platforms.