ICMI is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Overcoming Fear of Change: Training Tenured Agents on New Techniques and Technologies

The moment has arrived. The pilot was successful, and it's time to roll-out the new system and associated processes. The carefully-selected, representative group of agents has provided valuable feedback and changes have been incorporated accordingly. The new method has proven successful - the agents like the new system and understand the benefits it provides to both them and the business. Roll-out across the organization should be a breeze.

Okay, stop rolling your eyes.  Clearly, this scenario is a bit optimistic, but incorporating new technologies and processes into the workforce does not need to be excruciating. With some foresight and a commitment to efficient training and guidance, change can be a positive.

One of the most challenging parts of organizational change is the requirement to train seasoned employees on new systems or processes. And the main reason up-skilling and re-skilling of experienced employees is so difficult? Fear.

Employees are often fearful of any change. They have been trained, coached, monitored, and had their performance measured (and, oftentimes, compensated) on doing their jobs in a specific way, with specific tools.  Employees who are thriving or, at the very least, comfortable with the status quo, will often feel threatened by the change and be resistant to it.  This means that organizations must communicate the benefits of the change for the employee - and align incentives accordingly.

It is critical that the training is designed in a way that makes employees feel comfortable with change, - and ideally even excited about change. This can be accomplished by aligning the training to the anticipated advantages of the change.  At the risk of stating the obvious, ensure not only that employees are enabled with the skills and knowledge they will need in the future, but that they understand how this new knowledge will help them perform their jobs and hit their goals more effectively.  Essentially, what is in it for them? As for the format of the training, make sure it isn’t intimidating - the change itself is frightening enough. Make learning relevant, make it timely, and make it enjoyable.

Finally, don't just 'fix it and forget it.' Once the employees are trained, ensure they comprehend and apply the material - and continue to do so. Ensure that the material aligns with the end results - did what was trained, when applied, improve performance? Assess and re-assess employee knowledge and the training’s effectiveness. If the training is relevant and engaging, and implemented as part of the overall change rather than as a separate requirement, the fear factor and reistance will be diminished.

Changes to techniques and technologies, and associated employee development measures, should, ideally, lead to improved performance – both organizational and individual. Help employees to understand what they need to do and how to do it, and also why they need to make the change– and the positive results they can expect to achieve.