When you decide to make a big change to your business, it’s always going to cause a stir among long-standing employees. Whether it’s changing location or adopting different technology, you need to manage change carefully. If it’s done too quickly, you risk alienating your employees and risk resignations. If it’s done too slowly, then you just simply won’t see the business benefits. A move to the cloud is no different. However, like with all digital change, people get skeptical and worry about their jobs – will they be replaced by automation or AI? So, you need to take these ten steps to ensure that your employees are confident and excited about the change, and you still get the benefits you want, within a reasonable time frame.
1. Announce the plans as soon as possible
You don’t want to spring this move onto your employees like a big surprise. Introduce the decision as soon as you can, being clear about the whys and hows. It might all still be up in the air, but at least mentioning that this change is on the cards will give your employees time to either absorb it and forget about it, or do research and come to you with any questions or suggestions. By alerting your employees to this change with lots of time to spare, you’re ensuring that no one gets alienated, or turns up one day and everything is different.
2. Ask for your employees’ opinions
Make your employees feel like they’re part of the process by asking for their opinion on the cloud and moving to it. While you might not get any feedback at all, any comments you do receive should be treated sensitively. Not only will this reassure your workforce, but it also gives you the chance to learn more. Perhaps some of your newer employees come from a cloud environment, or have seen this migration happen before. If that’s the case, you’ll be able to ask them questions and use their experiences as a case study.
3. Reassure people about job safety
The main thing that people will worry about is how this change will affect their jobs. There’s plenty of talk in the media about digital tools replacing humans in jobs – and your staff might worry that a move to the cloud is just the first step in reducing the number of people you employ. So, you need to be open, frank and honest when it comes to job security. If people are likely to lose their jobs, let them know it’s a possibility – but reassure them it won’t be for a while. Likewise, emphasize the point that you don’t expect them to know anything about the cloud – they won’t lose their job just because they haven’t used cloud applications before.
4. Make sure people know the benefits
Many people might not be aware of how much easier their lives will be with the cloud. So, it’s your job to battle through the negativity and make people excited about the change. You’ll always have the cynical, skeptical employees who won’t believe that such benefits are possible, so try to have case studies and examples to hand. Show them how much more time they’ll have, as they won’t need to waste their day on mundane tasks, thanks to automation. Explain how data will be managed better and more up-to-date, using examples like the Celigo data loader tool. It’s all about inspiring confidence, and making your employees realize that this change is a good thing.
5. Show them any backup plans
People will also want to know the worst-case scenario. What if it all goes wrong? What if you lose all the company data in the migration? What if downtime causes huge losses? You’ll already have worked through these issues with your cloud service provider, so simply discuss your disaster recovery policy with your staff. Likewise, it might be worth having your cloud partner come in and reassure your staff about the change, and the small likelihood of disasters occurring.
6. Offer any training or courses
The one thing that people will really worry about is if they can’t use the cloud, or don’t know what it is. So, to reassure them, set up training sessions or offer to pay for courses. This way, you’ll be showing you care by helping them develop new skills, and reassuring them that they’re still an important part of the company, as you’re spending time on training them. Once they begin to use cloud software in training, they’ll soon realize that the change is good. Sometimes, people need to see how it works in action in order to believe how good it’ll be.
7. Choose easy-to-use applications
If your workforce is made up of digital natives, you’ll be fine choosing any kind of cloud applications and software. However, if your employees are mainly of the older generation, you might want to use ‘plug and play’ style programs, to make it an easy process as possible for them.
8. Have a group of ‘leaders’
To help integrate the move in a more widespread way, choose a group of employees from across the business, and give them extra training and detail. These leaders will be able to internally promote the move to their peers, and be on hand to offer advice and support. By generating excitement from within your workforce, you’ll make more of a difference, rather than just having senior management telling employees what to expect and do.
9. Start integration slowly
If there’s still some disquiet when it comes to the move, try to migrate sensitively. Don’t just have your employees leave on a Friday and turn up on Monday morning to an entirely new way of working. Roll it out slowly and carefully to avoid alienation and upset. Most good cloud service providers will be able to help you with this area.
10. Always be on hand for questions
Most importantly, make sure you’re always on hand to answer any questions. Yes, employees could go to their line managers or peer-leaders, but sometimes they’ll want the answers straight from the horse’s mouth. So, be mindful of this and let your staff know that your door is always open if they want to discuss their worries directly with you.