Is the dog wagging the tail or ….?

Having recently completed some work looking at how employees react to IT systems, it got me thinking. Many of the biggest errors that have happened in industry have focused on the interaction by the employee and IT. With so much money being spent on the usability or user friendliness on anything from your company intranet to your HR management system – why do people still struggle to use IT systems correctly?

Many organisations look very different now prior to the global financial crisis – for good reason. Streamlining and growth are definitely the orders of the day. However, this has resulted in significant organisational change. Some employees are exhausted from the number of changes that have occurred in their organisation post GFC and just cannot keep up with everything. I remember, one of my personal frustrations was just getting used to Windows 7, when Microsoft released Windows 8 with all its user interface challenges. I am still on Windows 7 and have no desire to change. However in an employment situation this luxury of choice does not exist and they have to rely on the support they are given during any transitional process of new IT systems implementation – and therein lies the problem. 

All too often support, training and change management is absent or barely adequate at best. Companies are desperate to move forward and grow as fast as possible and this often gets overlooked. Lack of post implementation support and change management from a user centred point of view, results in apathy, anger, reduced morale, negative culture, informal workarounds, data integrity issues and increased cases of human error.

For those employers - please, please think about the end game – who will be using the systems, who you rely on for good data, and who will be your ideal sources of feedback on the system. At the moment, employees have no choice but to change their operating practices time and again, rather than reaping the benefits user-centred IT tools geared to helping them succeed, not set them up for failure. The tail is definitely wagging the dog at the moment.

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