Full engagement of staff is key to IT success

News: Staff engagement

July 08, 2013

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Legal

It’s all well and good planning for the implementation of a new system or service – or even thinking about outsourcing your dictation and document production to a company like Document Direct – but don’t do it without the full engagement of your most important and hopefully favourite resource: your people!

It’s your team’s attitude to change that needs to be fully recognised and understood.

Most IT systems are generally specified and implemented by the IT team, and their need is originated by perhaps the MD or Managing Partner, and they will always have a compelling business case and the ROI will always be so positive.

What is often overlooked is the detailed day-to-day impact on traditional and indoctrinated procedures, custom and practices, and the small and larger impact changing these factors will have.

So, the start of any new IT project should be at the beginning, not the end; and by that I mean we should assess the current situation and truly understand what is happening, how much human intervention occurs, and how much impact even minor change may have on individuals.

It is almost a fundamental part of the human condition to resist change. It moves us away from a place of comfort and warmth and into one of uncertainty and challenge – just ask Adam and Eve.

If however, we involve those to be affected at the earliest possible stage, then change or the likelihood of change can be gradually introduced, explained and then welcomed.

The key to this is gaining consensus that the current system or IT in this case does not provide the correct level of information that is needed; and then welcoming comment as to how improvements can be made, and then crucially, giving appropriate recognition and respect to this input. It’s an additional level of understanding that is needed, but if gained at this early stage, those wonderful ROIs can be more easily achieved – better a slightly lower ROI, than none at all.

The next step then involves the identification of a “change champion”, and this should not be from the project team. There is nothing more effective than a poacher turned gamekeeper, and offering the opportunity to be an early adopter of a change which offers improvement will help reduce resistance, and will encourage others to welcome the change. Choose someone who will not be too troublesome, but who will be respected by his peers. Gain their backing, and really support them through each step of the implementation.

It’s not always (if ever) just about technology – it’s about a mind-set, and it’s about engagement, and it’s about welcoming change.

Like MoneypennyDocument Direct is an experienced outsourced supplier to the legal industry, providing firms with digital dictation transcription and document production.