Today's workplace is very heavily digital, meaning hardware and software are the elements that determine trends in the office environment. When a new piece of software is released, companies can react to it in one of three ways, two of which have serious flaws.
- In the first model, the business does not adopt it and misses out on all the potential benefits. This is problematic, but becomes the default when organizations don't want to spend time or money.
- The second scenario involves organizations ending up with the software but no training, either due to leaders buying but not supporting it or employees acquiring the program of their own volition. This is risky due to the fact that new programs without training can lead to either lost productivity or a lack of good security practices.
- The third approach to software adoption is the model leaders will want to emulate, with new programs that can help the business purchased in a timely fashion and employees trained in their use. Yes, there is an investment required, but today's systems training methods, incorporating online resources, should be up to the task.
"Professionals who avoid transitional periods may be weakening their prospects."
A guiding hand through change
The world is changing around companies, and their practices will have to switch along with them. This is especially important in the digital age, for the reasons discussed above. The passing of time could render a business's old model obsolete far faster today than in any previous era, with a whole infrastructure suddenly out of step with competitors.
Speaking of business development over time in more general terms, a recent Chief Learning Officer blog post by Ed Cohen explained training officers are supposed to step into leadership roles as these changes come to companies. Businesses will adapt their processes over time, adopting new approaches and perhaps even shifting their branding significantly. A lack of support from learning leaders could leave employees feeling confused or drain their morale.
Cohen emphasized that embracing change within a corporate structure is one of the main duties of learning leaders. These professionals have to contend with some organizational discomfort as the business takes on new practices and processes, but the end result is a new set of practices that suit the situation better than whatever went before. Making the decision to wade into change and emerge stronger is pressing for training organizers because the entire company's future hangs in the balance, Cohen noted. Professionals who let their businesses slide backward to avoid transitional periods may be weakening their prospects in the long term.
When change hurts
A recent example of the problems caused by an improperly handled software upgrade came from a Bloomberg Business report on the Internal Revenue Service. The source pointed out that the switch from Windows XP was handled poorly, with employees confused about the new system. Tax examiner Jenny Brown told the news provider that there was a point when she began to ask her sons about how processes worked in the new systems, unable as she was to get support through official channels. Bloomberg explained the service had its employee education and travel budget slashed.