Change is a constant factor for growing businesses but staff may resist change if they don’t fully understand the reasons behind it or fear the consequences. As businesses take on more customers and staff they often find they need to upgrade their IT and software to facilitate that growth. However, the transition to a new software system can be challenging, staff may have got used to a paper-based system or software they’ve been using for years.
At Webroster we visit businesses day in day out to support them in getting new software up and running, here are our top tips for getting staff on board for successful implementation:
- Get buy in early – discuss the benefits of investing in a new system with everyone who will be using it and deal with any potential barriers to its success before you invest. Front line staff often have great ideas that office based managers don’t think of.
- Communicate! – Tell staff what’s coming. Relate the benefits of a new system to staff on a personal level as well as showing them the benefits for the whole business. Implementing new software is not just the responsibility of the IT department or top managers, make it a company-wide project to feel the full benefits.
- Identify ambassadors for change – identify employees that are enthusiastic about the change and they will spread the word if they feel a positive change is coming.
- Ask an expert – Make sure the upgrade to new software causes as little disruption as possible – software providers should be able to provide you with impartial advice and utilise their experience of successful implementations to guide you through the process.
- Training – Staff training is essential for any new system to be a success, if users don’t understand the system, they are less likely to use it and create barriers to its success. Make sure that attending training is mandatory and that staff give it their full attention. If you anticipate attendance problems make sure you have cover in place so that staff are not on call. Try linking attendance to an incentive or include it in staff appraisals and reviews.
- Plan for the future – Consider your on-going training requirements, if you have a large number of staff or high staff turnover you may need to schedule on-going sessions. Also think about the type of training that you will require throughout your business, it’s essential that top managers as well as staff users understand a new system and its implications, however, senior managers may require a less detailed session than staff users or more focus on reporting for example.
- Collect feedback and act on the results, survey or ask staff for their thoughts on the system before and after implementation, use the result to improve next time a change comes.