“Thank you very much for your patience teaching old dogs new tricks and advancing our use of new technology”
Joining the Transformation Programme, we worked with this Global Property Management Company over a 9 month period to help design a scalable solution (planned for EMEA offices) for the UK based department. Aware that the market was moving towards commoditisation, they recognised the need to offer something more to clients which meant there was a need to change processes and free up the time of staff so that they could retain their market position. Alternating between pen and paper and the need to heavily edit word documents, the strategy utilised new technologies to automate repetitive processes and offer efficiencies so that staff could focus on value-add tasks. To ensure long term success, employee support and engagement was critical.
Our suspicions about the likely challenges were confirmed by a change readiness assessment in which a cross-section of staff was interviewed, revealing the following hurdles:
Lack of trust
The potential of the programme to help staff improve their working habits was met with great resistance due to lack of trust. This was in part because of failed transformation initiatives in the past and in part because of the approaches to decision making and communication.
Having been subject to several failed transformation initiatives in the past, many staff were hesitant to invest in this programme. Due to past experience, many were expecting it to fail and therefore were reluctant to invest their time and energy. Additionally, the divided and siloed culture both within the department and the wider company meant that many felt they were not consulted and that like previous attempts, expected that this initiative would simply happen to them rather than with them.
Fear of technology
In being a well established department with a presence in the UK for many years, many staff had been used to processes and approaches that had been applied for decades. Whilst younger staff who had come straight from university or from smaller boutique firms were used to more advanced processes, a large portion of staff belonged to an older age demographic who typically feared technology and delegated technologically based tasks to younger staff. For these senior staff, technology was seen as a threat to their jobs.
Due to the lack of trust, and fear of technology, the implementation strategy we developed focused on the following:
- finding the right messengers or champions for the tools
- creating ample opportunities for staff to use the new tools so they could see the benefits first-hand
- Creating an interactive, easily accessible training strategy to guide staff in using the technologies
Building upon behavioural science fundamentals and borrowing from the MINDSPACE and EAST frameworks, it focused on the following key areas:
- Default options
- Social norms (tied to messengers)
- Implementation of an online training tool for real time product-based training
- Practice scenarios for staff to test out the tools without being pressured on site or by clients
- In person and virtual training sessions delivered to 200 staff across 9 UK offices co-facilitated by senior staff and team leads
- Following training for the new inspection tool, 90% of staff who completed the training feedback survey reported feeling confident or very confident using the application