As with all new technologies, it’s as much a question of your people as it is their tools. It’s a finance leaders’ role to guide leadership through the transition and understand that there needs to be an investment in communicating changes, managing people’s concerns, and ensuring buy-in. If your team isn’t involved in the transformation, it’s unlikely to be successful as they will revert to old systems and tools when under pressure or feeling stressed.
Perhaps one of the fastest ways to exacerbate fear and create a disconnect between new technology and your people is to rely heavily on third parties to manage your financial transformation. Although consultants provide invaluable insights, they cannot spearhead organizational change as effectively as the teams who implement the new technologies and processes. At the heart of every major transition is a significant change in your people’s mindset.
Nothing engenders fear more than the unknown, and it’s not unusual for people to feel threatened by new technology—especially technology that automates many of their routine day-to-day tasks. Concerns may include uncertainty around future jobs’ and whether adequate training will be provided to handle the new tools and processes. Regardless of whether you’re willing to address these anxieties, they exist and can leak into every facet of your company, increasing turnover and creating a feeling of distrust.
To avoid this, leadership needs to communicate the change consistently and appropriately over time. It’s as much about reassuring and retraining teams as implementing new software. It’s possible to use third parties to advise you on best practices for your communications strategy. However, the messaging should come from trusted team leaders who will be available to manage concerns and questions on an ongoing basis. It’s not as simple as providing a quick training session. You will need people in place to keep your transformation on track long after the consultants have left the room.
This is an extract from our recent whitepaper “The finance leader’s playbook for financial transformation”, which also includes financial health checks, best practices and tools to help you on the road to a successful transformation.