4 Tips for Successful Change Management in AI Implementation

Inspire your team to embrace new technology with effective leadership strategies. Discover tips on creating processes and coaching for smooth adoption.

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Nobody wants to experience disruptions, major or minor, in the way they work. But some level of disruption is inevitable when introducing a new technology or process. And in the framework of technology, process, and people, each relies on the other to be successful—making it important for leadership teams to smooth out disruptions as much as possible so they can successfully roll out new solutions and ensure they are adopted by the teams who use them.

Revolutionary new technologies like AI add more variables to the mix. Some people may be excited to jump in to try trending technology. Others may view AI as risky, too disruptive, and inefficient—even scary if they think it could make them obsolete. And if you don’t have the right processes in place to help people change their workflows, then it’s more likely that the technology change could miss your KPI targets. Especially when looking at the potential for AI to revolutionize the workplace, leadership teams have to successfully execute and manage change. Not only do leaders have to cultivate excitement and interest in the changes, they have to create processes and coach their teams along the way. Here are some actionable ways to manage (and encourage) change in your financial institution during AI adoption.

1) Set a good communication strategy

It may feel basic, but the right communication strategy helps you mitigate risk during change management while also creating buy-in and building excitement around the project. A communication strategy doesn’t merely inform people about changes—it invites people to participate and give them a sense of ownership and community. Start your communications before your project launches so teams don’t feel blindsided with new information and new workflows at the same time.

Think about your own institution. Each team and stakeholder cares about different things. For example, your call center team cares about answering caller questions quickly and correctly. HR folks focus on successful onboarding and ongoing training activities. Your operations workers are plugged into regulatory compliance and risk management. So when you think about how to message and talk about a new AI-supported workflow, process, or technology at your company, you can’t communicate to all of them with the same message. 

Instead, craft a unique message for each team who will be impacted by the changes. Talk about the outcomes they care most about. Highlight features that directly impact their everyday work. The more specific you can get about how the solution improves their lives and why the implementation matters to them, the more likely it is they’ll get excited about the change. Don’t forget to immediately quash anxieties that your people will have about their jobs being replaced by AI (plenty of people are scared of being replaced by AI). Regardless of which team you’re talking to, be explicit that AI is there to help people be better at their jobs or free them up for more impactful activities; not that AI will replace them. 

Don’t limit these messages to email or intranet newsletters—host lunches or town halls to explain what’s happening, why, and how it will make them more efficient and productive at their job. Most importantly, don’t shy away from questions. Especially for workers who might feel uneasy or nervous about the disruption, listening to and addressing their concerns will go a long way for technology adoption.

2) Establish AI ambassadors

People will usually get excited about eliminating the mundane, stressful, or overly complicated parts of their job, even if it does mean changing their workflows. The right communications strategy will do a great job telling people what to expect and starting to create excitement. Once you’re ready to launch your new AI solution or workflows, show your teams how it will improve their lives in a way that reflects your initial communications strategy. 

First, consider asking for volunteers for a pilot test. If you’ve been executing your communications well, you may already know who is most excited about the project and would serve as a good ambassador for the roll-out. Create a small group of AI ambassadors who represent different teams at your institution and ask them to try out some of the new workflows or solutions. Ask for their feedback, and thoughtfully apply it where it makes sense. Most importantly, encourage them to tell their colleagues about their experiences. Your biggest naysayers are more likely to trust their everyday colleagues who perform the same function they do, versus management who “just don’t get it.” You may even ask the naysayers to join the AI ambassadors group so they get first-hand experience working with the solution (and more one-on-one attention from you and your vendor). 

Establishing AI ambassadors accomplishes a few key things for you. First, it continues to generate excitement about the changes and continues the conversation around your implementation and new workflows. Secondly, it proves to the folks who are most excited about the solution—or the ones that are most unhappy about change—that you trust their insight and opinions. You’re proving that you’re making concerted efforts that the solution actually solves their biggest challenges (not just what management perceives to be their biggest challenges). Finally, you’re encouraging transparency and trust across the board. Your teams have more trust in the solution and in your leadership to execute the changes because you’ve been clear and straightforward with them—and that goes a long way in change management.

3) Train the whole team (including your customers)

From the communications where you tell teams what to expect, to the pilot tests your AI ambassadors have been finessing and raving about, you’ve been building a positive culture around the benefits and values of the new workflows. And that means once it’s time to launch, you have a higher likelihood of success. But that doesn’t mean you should try to roll-out quickly or in major chunks. 

Consider rolling out in smaller phases so you don’t overwhelm your staff or your customers with the sudden changes. When executing in phases,your staff and customers are more likely to be comfortable—and confident—in the new workflows before moving onto the next. Be sure to  align your new workflows with specific targets and KPIs. That way, you can point to real improvements and change so the next phase can be met with more excitement. 

The same goes for your customers. As you slowly introduce valuable changes that improve their experience, they won’t feel disrupted or averse to future change. Even the most change-averse on your team, or in your customer rolodex, will come to embrace change if they can see the proven improvements to back it up.

4) Lean on your partner for support

Not all AI solutions are built the same, and not all vendors provide the same level of support. If you’re partnering with the right vendor for your new AI-driven technology or workflow, you won’t be alone in change management. Ask your partner for best practices, recommendations, and guidance on the best way to roll-out changes or which workflows make sense to start adapting. The right partner can help you with your communications strategy, working with your AI ambassadors, and onboarding strategies.

For example, Posh’s Partnership for Life Promise commits to ongoing support, continuously meeting with you to provide insights and consultative guidance on future optimizations and additional opportunities based on what’s happening in the market. Together, we build out an AI roadmap that aligns to your unique needs and business goals–as well as adapting to changes in the financial industry such as changes in regulations or compliance. To see how Posh’s AI solutions can dramatically improve your processes and workflows, visit posh.ai/ai-in-banking.

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