AT&T is about to force their employees to learn new technology or risk being fired. On the surface, it makes sense to ensure that your work force it up to date and capable of doing what you need done. After all, what good are employees who can’t do the job? The problem occurs when companies make sweeping changes without understanding the people involved. We know, for instance, that many people adapt to change slowly and require more support to make the transition to new technologies. In their rapid move to upgrade, they may lose otherwise valuable and committed workers who could have been saved with a transition plan that started earlier.
Understanding your people and how they learn and adapt to change is an important part of planning your future. Start training programs early with enough support to make it possible for more people to catch on. The cost of upgrading is often much less than the cost of rehiring the entire team.