According to a report from last August, 82% of employers plan to allow their team members to work remotely at least part of the time, even after the pandemic. Meanwhile, 47% intend to allow full-time remote work. 

What does this mean for organizations that are implementing ERP software or planning a digital transformation? These organizations must adapt their project plan to suit remove environments – specifically the organizational change management aspect of their project plan.

Today, we’re discussing how to approach change management in virtual environments. 

Navigating Change with Rick & Christi

Watch these short and sweet videos to learn about change management from the experts! The series features Rick Platz and Christi Trinder from Panorama’s change management team.

7 Virtual Change Management Tips

1. Create New Ways to Engage

If you’re eyeing new enterprise software, such as an ERP system, you’re probably wondering how you’ll encourage employees to support the coming change.

If everyone was working in the office, you could hold in-person meetings with employees where you’d discuss plans for the project, answer questions, and set expectations. 

However, in a virtual environment, you must find other ways to bring everyone together. Fortunately, there are many different video conferencing platforms that allow everyone to communicate and participate, including Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams.

2. Allow Informal Outlets

One aspect of change management in ERP projects is creating a culture where everyone feels welcome and included. Often, this means initiating discussions that have little to do with actual work and more to do with morale.

At the office, these usually take place in a common area, such as the water cooler or company kitchen. 

While you can’t exactly spur those dialogues from afar, you can find ways to encourage employees to connect with one another. Something as simple as creating a new Slack channel for informal conversations can go a long way toward building team rapport. 

To keep these conversations from impeding productivity, we recommend establishing policies that dictate how and when employees can use these channels. 

In addition to using Slack, you can also build relationships by creating virtual events and get-togethers that allow employees to discuss common interests and make personal connections. 

3. Include Your Leadership Team

In a remote or hybrid work environment, it’s important to include your executive and leadership teams in virtual events and discussions. This allows them to get employee feedback and ensure everyone understands where the project stands, where it’s headed, and any critical issues that need to be resolved.

As you connect, you can discuss even more ideas for making the virtual experience as positive as possible. You might share insights on talking points, activities, or scripts you can use to maximize employee engagement throughout the project.

4. Be Flexible With Your Communication

For many employees, 2020 was the first time they worked from home, so they may still be adjusting to a virtual work environment. As such, you should be flexible in your change management approach. 

For example, you should account for employees’ different work hours and availability. This means keeping your lines of communication open, so employees feel confident they are being heard when they share concerns and issues

5. Leverage Mobile Collaboration

In addition to the platforms you use on your computer, don’t forget to also make use of dynamic mobile collaboration apps, such as Google Workspace and Trello.

These programs allow users to easily share files, assign tasks, manage work, and more. Most of these programs also include user-friendly chat functions that allow employees to post discussions inviting coworkers to respond at any time as they might not have a live connection or availability at the time of the post.

This is useful in change management as it helps you engage employees on their own time, using their preferred devices. 

6. Train Users on Digital Platforms

Don’t expect every employee to instantly grasp new digital collaboration tools. Many will need training to get up to speed on the various features and functionality. 

We recommend training both your project team and general employees on how to best utilize the change management tools and technology you’ll be employing.

This is essential because change management for an ERP implementation often requires new collaboration tools in addition to the ones you’ve been using since 2020. You don’t want stakeholders struggling to use these tools at the same time they’re being trained on a new ERP solution.

7. Rotate Sponsor Appearances

When work is virtual, it’s all too easy for executive change sponsors to disappear. Yet, the opposite should occur because their visibility is more important than ever. 

You can keep them front and center by scheduling them to appear virtually and participate in project meetings and activities. This way, employees can see that they’re still actively involved and invested in the effort. 

Physical Distance Doesn’t Have to Impede Engagement

Whether your office is fully remote or using a hybrid setup, it’s important to adapt your change management approach as necessary.

By understanding the unique challenges of change management in virtual environments, you can mitigate risks and help your employees feel included regardless of how physically distant they may be.

Our change management consultants can help you navigate these next steps. Contact us below for a free consultation. 

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