Helping State and Local Government Employees Adapt to Change

Government agencies aren't known for their speedy transactions or use of the most up-to-date technological resources. Many people assume these organizations use dated devices and systems to save money. However, legacy systems are expensive to maintain and pose a cybersecurity hazard. In an era when most people rely heavily on technology for convenience, it might seem surprising that government IT modernization can be met with apprehension from employees. 

However, the stakes are particularly high when it comes to changing processes within government agencies. Anything that requires government approval needs significant documentation and an entire process must be repeated when a single mistake is made. When government employees have to deal with so much red tape, the idea of updating IT systems brings with it worries of complex, time-consuming new procedures.

Yet, like in most other industries, modernizing government IT systems offers a plethora of benefits including improved security, efficiency, and agility. IT system modernization helps organizations save money, keep data secure, and better assist  the individuals that depend on the services provided. While there is no doubt that replacing outdated systems is necessary, this knowledge does little to settle the apprehensions of government employees. To ease these fears, it's important to develop a change management strategy that will promote learning and highlight the benefits provided by new systems and processes.

Empowering Employees and Stakeholders to Embrace Change

Often, legacy systems on both the state and local levels are outdated and stakeholders and decision-makers are misaligned about how to address the problem. Employee adoption/satisfaction is critical, so implementing employee training and highlighting the value that the transformation will provide to employees is a good start. 

Advisory services work to help employees get comfortable with change by helping  you determine the best strategy for digitally transforming government systems. Typically, the service provider will then assist your organization through implementation to ensure maximum adoption among users. 

Along with employees, it's important to ensure decision-makers are on board with proposed changes. State and local governments spend over $118 billion on IT annually. However, about 80% of this amount is used to operate and maintain legacy systems. Since they are responsible for allocating the spending of tax dollars, government decision-makers are held to different standards for spending than private sector shareholders. 

While the expense of maintaining legacy systems is a valid reason to invest in new technology, ROI is still a critical factor. Any budget proposal for new technology will need to define how the investment will work to save the agency money in the future. 

Employee adoption is a vital factor in the successful use of new IT systems. Proper training and support lead to increased adoption of new technology which improves the likelihood that the implementation will be successful and result in higher returns.

Establishing a Change Management Strategy

When implementing new technology, a focus on change management tools and the people affected by digital transformation in government is important. Instead of just focusing on the technological side, an organization must strategically consider people and processes. 

An employee-first culture is one that works to make the employee experience as seamless as possible. This is accomplished by prioritizing people, processes, and technology. By utilizing modern technology to streamline processes, the employee experience is improved. However, learning to use new systems can be challenging. When a change management strategy focuses on helping employees learn to use new technology, the hurdles that arise during the implementation process are minimized. 

By beginning with a strategy and governance model that makes sense for your organization, and then providing adequate preparation and support for employees, you can improve adoption among users. The resulting improvements created by new technology and streamlined processes will improve company culture, create a more satisfying workplace, and offer an improved ability to overcome obstacles. 

Allowing Employees to Focus on the Work that Matters

Public sector employees spend a significant portion of each day completing tedious tasks that are inefficient. More than one in three Americans report difficulties receiving service or accessing information from government agencies. Both of these problems are caused by legacy systems that use outdated technology.

Tedious tasks that employees routinely perform can be made more efficient through automation. For example, when the Veterans Benefits Administration utilized artificial intelligence (AI) to improve processing time, employees were able to reduce the time just sorting the claims from 10 days to about half a day. When processes are streamlined, employees can focus on work that matters and deliver better experiences to constituents.

Still, IT modernization may not be embraced at the beginning. Public sector organizations face the burden of implementing new technology without interrupting essential services for constituents who depend on them. Choosing the right implementation partner can be the catalyst that allows employees to recognize the value of the change and how it will make their work easier. 

At Collaborative Solutions, we help move public sector organizations, from the local to the federal level, into the future. With global resources, deep  Workday knowledge, a proven deployment methodology, and extensive government experience, Collaborative Solutions is uniquely qualified to support your organization's Workday project, no matter what type of deployment you need. Get in touch to learn more about how Collaborative Solutions can help your government agency prepare employees for change.


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