Many managers face the challenges making changes to technology in the workplace. Sometimes they have the assistance of team members to decide the best way to implement the change, but sometimes managers are confronted with the task of making the switch on their own. This is often where a manager can thrive, or in some cases, where they can crumble. While some changes can be as simple as using email to confirm decisions made among staff and with other stakeholders, others are extremely challenging and deal with an array of possibilities to which the outcome is difficult to know. These decisions often require action by the employees. When technology is involved, this can become somewhat of a challenge, depending on the type of office in which the business operates. For example, an IT company shouldn’t have much of a problem implementing technological change, while a real estate brokerage might be confronted with confused employees. In this literary review, I will lay out some of the ways certain articles suggest ensuring employees carry out the technology change.
According to “Strategic Planning Facilitator Guide,” several techniques – when only one person is responsible for making the decision – can often be ignored by employees. They may not want to commit the time or energy to tackling a problem. Attempting to make the change is also risky because it could lead to failure. For a manager, not being able to fix the issue can damage their reputation. Many managers believe that ignoring the problem will cause it to go away, but this is rarely the case, (Muller, N.D.). This is an accurate outlay of the issue; however, I would go a step further by emphasising that change isn’t often easy to implement. Employees are sometimes unwilling to co-operate because of personal barriers, organizational barriers and lack of readiness. It is up to management to overcome the resistance and guide employees to accept. Many employees are afraid of the unknown and are unwilling to stop their habits. Many may not agree that change is needed.
The article goes on to say that a training module can be executed in 10 steps: defining goals, defining the scope of products and services, assessing Internet resources, assessing the external environment, analyzing Internet arrangements, assessing competitive advantage, developing a competitive strategy, communicating the module to stakeholders, implementing the strategy and evaluating the outcome, (Muller, N.D.). This makes sense, and the essay does well at explaining that, but what I found to be most interesting was what it had to say next:
Identifying and diagnosing the problem with the employees’ reluctance can only be accomplished by telling the employees that a problem exists and needs to be assessed and fixed. To help the employees understand that a problem is present, a manager must have a goal ready from which to compare the current state of affairs: they must see the way things are and understand the way they ought to be. The manager can compare current performance to past performance of each employee and match the company’s overall productivity to the productivity comparable companies. It should be noted that the majority of technology changes are made to increase productivity. The anticipated future performance is another area where a manager can encourage an employee to make an effort at learning new technology, (Muller, N.D.).
I think it should be added here that after reviewing the training module with the employee and working closely with them will help them understand how to make the switch. Setting out milestones will work to achieve that. Here’s what “Planning and Goal Setting for Small Business,” form the U.S. Small Business Administration, had to say: The manager will need to evaluate their performance. This involves the collection of information about the decision’s success. Goals, such as a 10 per cent increase in productivity, or a 100 per cent of deliveries on time, for example, are effective at evaluating whether an employee has the willingness to learn the new technology and whether the adapting is at the pace the company needs. Data can then be gathered to analyze where the training module is meeting the goals and where it falls short. If the employee isn’t meeting the milestones, then the manager should return to the drawing board to try a new course of action, (Planning, 2010).
While it can be difficult to convince employees to make the change, a more inclusive environment could help employees’ willingness. For example, in “Guidelines for Planning and Conducting Workshops and Seminars,” it says various alternative technologies can be set out and voted on. Another option is to set one or two people in the group as the decision-makers. However, the issue with designating certain people in the group with the authority to decide which decision is better leaves people out and may keep otherwise helpful voices silent. It should be noted that a workshop such as this would be helpful while creating the training module, (Guidelines, 2010).
The guide goes on to say workshops are an effective way for a group to come to a decision. A workshop will combine each member’s skills and training into a group setting. The participation of staff also increases the sense of each team member’s involvement and worth to the company. It also helps educate and develop each person involved through idea sharing. A workshop or series of workshops can focus each team member’s skills and interests. These skills should overlap with the goals and values of the company, (Guidelines, 2010).
The guide is quite clear, but I think this could be added: While the workshops are clearly a way to combine the ideas of multiple people, it also presents an opportunity in the work environment to break down barriers (particularly if there was company merger), integrate staff and improve overall communications. The workshops are also an opportunity for those who are less experienced in the company to learn from those who have been in the business for a while.
Each member of the team should be made comfortable so they will freely speak about the technology change and to communicate their ideas about what course of action they think the company should take.
Once a training module is created, another workshop could be held in which the team can be addressed by a facilitator, which will encourage the overall participation of the group, rather than have them trained by a single person, which can be quite detached for each person of the group. This can hinder their willingness and confidence to adopt to the technology.
Technology is always a welcomed addition to a workshop room. Presentations made on software such as PowerPoint can be extremely simple to create and they communicate a clear message about items such as the company’s goals, previous actions, values and any charts and graphs necessary to communicate a team member’s line of thought. This can improve employee retention.
After reading “Guidelines for Planning and Conducting Workshops and Seminars,” it convinced me that conducting workshops would actually likely get people to participate more in the change, particularly if their ideas were adopted. I think the article could have talked a bit about how the workshop’s ability at facilitating an overall understanding of the need for the technology change would encourage people to participate more in the change, rather than just hearing that out-of-the blue that they will have to make the change.
It was interesting when “Guidelines for Planning and Conducting Workshops and Seminars,” noted that the technique chosen by a company to come to implement a change will be different on a case-by-case basis, but clearly laying out a company’s goals is fundamental to the process. Without having a clear vision about where a company wants to be in the future, management isn’t able to make a decision that will be consistent with the company’s identity. Whether an individual or team approach is taken, a company should utilize the information that is already available to them, and determine how to acquire the knowledge needed if a company approaches unfamiliar territory, (Guidelines, 2010).
I found many of the guides and essays reviewed lacked one fundamental component. And that is a general way to implement change effectively by creating an ethical culture. It should be made clear from the start what the expectations are from each individual in the company. These could include setting out the company’s goals and core organizational values, which could include a willingness to take risk, placing value on people and including all employees in developing ideas, for example.
I believe the pieces were also lacking information about effectively implementing change by having managers demonstrate their commitment to follow the standards set out. A reduction needs to be made in the rewards for unethical behavior. For example, a car salesman that sells a lemon for profit shouldn’t be encouraged.
There was one piece that did mention ethics: In “Developing caBIG Training Modules: A How-To Guide,” the agency explains that a comprehensive training module is the groundwork for a business to move forward with the company’s goals. It must convey the problem-solving fundamentals of the in a clear and concise manner. Consideration for all that is affected doesn’t only line a company with conducting business legally, it also improves public relations and makes the consumer happy to buy the business’s product. This is a particular concern today, when people are becoming progressively concerned with the Earth’s sustainability. Throughout the process, the workshop should have a defined purpose, while presenting the overall goal of the project. Summarizing the audience analysis is also important and proposing a training setting, outlining required resources for training and listing the leaders involved is vital (Developing, 2006).
In a perfect society, the good of a person could be trusted and that employee could be given free rein to make their own decision. But this isn’t always possible. Many people require ethical guidance to help them make their decisions. Therefore, the module should outline what is expected of each employee. And this should allow some freedom to the employee to come to their own decision, but while taking into consideration the company’s framework. For example, a newspaper might outline in the strategic plan to not have a conflict of interest with the sales and editorial side of the operation. A newspaper sales agent might consider selling advertisement on the basis that an article is written about said company. This would go against the moral guidelines of many companies that want the editorial department to be unbiased.
On occasion, the training module can go against the good of the company, if it is to be replaced by the good of society as a whole, in my opinion. The immediate result, as well as the result which most clearly considers the future of the affected stakeholders should be factored in. When faced with a difficult situation where a manager can’t decide what action to choose to get employees responding to technology change, they should consult all stakeholders to come to an agreement about the strategy to take – and after reading the articles, I believe the best way is by conducting a workshop.
Developing caBIG Training Modules: A How-To Guide. (2006, March). caBIG Training
Workspace. Retrieved from https://wiki.nci.nih.gov/download/attachments/8159856/Developing+caBIG+Training+How+To+Guide.pdf?version=1&modificationDate=1227494398000
Guidelines for Planning and Conducting Workshops and Seminars. (2010, Feb. 3). Government
of Barbados. Retrieved from http://www.reform.gov.bb/page/newspdf/guidelines for conducting seminars and workshops.pdf
Incorporating Ethics into the Organization’s Strategic Plan (2006). Retrieved from
Muller, G. (N.D.).Strategic Planning. Open Space Institute Denmark. Retrieved from