How to Introduce Your Team to a New Work Style
Taking as a starting point the idea developed in the article 13 Tools That Can Increase Efficiency When Working Remote, I will present you with some tips for the successful adoption of new tools within an organization.
Obviously, as a freelancer, one has the freedom to organize one’s own activity and choose the online tools or the work style that best fits them. Also, studies show that it takes approximately 21 days to create a new habit, therefore the adoption of new digital tools should not be something very difficult to achieve.
But what happens when you need to convince an entire team or even a whole organization to adopt a new tool or work style?
Or maybe, on an altogether different level, you need to apply some change management techniques – such as communication, training, and feedback, in order to ensure the successful adoption of a new technology or of a new internal application. The first thing you need to understand is that when many people are involved, things cannot change overnight.
It takes patience and perseverance, and therefore, before you present your team with ideas for new tools or work styles, you might want to consider the following aspects:
1. Clearly communicate how your team will benefit from the change
For the future users of the new application or for the people in charge with implementing the new work style, the most important thing to understand is probably why they need this change.
Consequently, I invite you to build your message trying to answer the following questions:
● How will the new application help us?
● How will the new application simplify our work?
● How will the new application make us more efficient?
For example, if a new application allows team members to store files in a unique centralized place where they are available to everybody, this may reduce the number of e-mail messages sent among the team members and will consequently allow them to concentrate on the things that really matter instead of wasting time sending emails and documents back and forth.
The digital transformation changes the way a team functions by allowing team members to use time more efficiently and to become more productive, more creative, and also more oriented towards development solutions.
2. Present a timeline for the change
Take into account that both a long and convoluted message and a short ambiguous one, such as „Starting tomorrow we will be using app X” are bound to generate passive resistance. Put things into perspective by breaking up the adoption process into smaller steps and spreading them along a timeline. Make sure to communicate everything very clearly so that everyone understands that this is a decision that impacts the team activity in the long term. Be confident and explain your vision to your team so that they are able to trust you and your proposal.
3. Explain how the new application works
It’s crucial that you explain how the new application works and what are the main functionalities. A short demo session as well as hands-on learning or learning by doing are a must. Invite your colleagues to start using the new application for specific tasks, and be sure to offer help and supervision until they feel confident to use it independently.
4. Find ambassadors
Do you already have one or more colleagues who have understood the importance of this new work style and are already using it? Ask for their support and encourage other colleagues to go to them in case they have questions or if they face difficulties.
5. Evaluate the use of the new tool(s)
Many large companies have invested in digital solutions with the hope that the new technologies will bring in lots of benefits, only to find out that the employees were using them incorrectly, if at all.
Set a time interval after which you can ask for feedback about the new tool, then ask your colleagues how they feel about the new work style and what aspects need improvement. Implement the changes that you consider appropriate, and you will notice an increase in the pace of adoption.
The pandemic showed that a lot of employees were not able to adjust to the change because they lacked resilience and the capacity to react, the ability and the agility to find the tools to help them adapt to the new work style.
If your role within the organization is to design and develop new internal work styles and procedures, make sure to approach change with adaptability and to communicate it in a transparent manner. And if your proposals are not met with enthusiasm from the first minute, don’t give up.