Erwin Ronge, IT manager at BOAL
“3 women can’t give a birth to a child in 3 months”
New technologies bring real challenges in choosing the right tools and applications to deploy and create plans to help the organization streamline business processes. Moreover, IT managers encounter different reactions from employees, because most people do not like to change. How to go smoothly through changes within the company and how to make change easier? Erwin Ronge agreed to share his insights and thoughts from his longtime working experience. Erwin works at BOAL company that is a world-leading designer and manufacturer of aluminum greenhouse roof systems for horticulture. It also produces and supplies specialist extrusions to the building, engineering and transport industries.
Q: Now your company is on the way through changes, how do employees react to these changes?
A:Differently. I saw the adoption of new techniques… it’s not easy. Not impossible, but not easy… it really depends, but yes, you can see the reluctance. And a lot of resistance of small areas. When we are starting with CRM people got the idea that they will be controlled that’s why it was some kind of resistance, but it is about the new way of working for them and for all managers as well. It is the new way of managing, not a control. This is the big change and it is not about collaboration yet! It’s just sharing the information, so this is why people are a bit worried about.
Q: Because you are changing not just the tools, but the entire way of working, right?
A: Yes, so this is why it is not technical, it’s about people. When you are in a company like this, most people are not from the new generation so change is a bit hard to accept it.
Q: And which tool or method you are trying to implement to avoid this rejection?
A: To be slow. Nothing more. Slow and communicate, tell them what you do, tell about our plans. Because if they don’t want to, we can’t win the battle alone at all. We now started to involve the rest of the company.
Q: So it is about changing the behavior of people and so your strategic plan is to give them time, let them go step by step. But what about motivation? When you told them about changes, were they happy about this or more reluctant?
A: No, no, they were happy. We took the easy part first. When I joined this company 2 years ago, everyone had two questions. When we will get Outlook and when we will go for a CRM? So yes, it took me two years. So we are now at that point… it won’t be any reluctance to move to Outlook. First people want to, and you have a group that adopts it quickly, and the then rest of the people. We are in the group of early adopters and the rest will follow the group. And in the end, you always have a few who don’t see the need for changes…. Our team will help them by any means that is necessary, in order to overcome reluctant people.
Erwin thinks that in order to overcome the reluctance and inspire employees to change, it is important to build a good relationship with them. For this purpose, he adds:
’’You have to be seen by them and be accessible. And if you are transparent, you will get them eventually, but to change… it always takes time, you can’t push someone through in a couple of months. I use this example: 3 women can’t give a birth to a child in 3 months, it needs 9 months. So what it meant to be for a year it will take a year, and you can’t make this process faster.’’ According to Erwin Ronge, change is difficult, but not impossible. IT managers should be motivated and believe in changes they are doing, but they cannot forget that people are different and react differently. The right attitude and patience are necessary qualities.