Often I meet with clients to discuss plans for their upcoming Workforce Management implementation before the process begins, I find that we tend to spend a lot of time talking about employees’ resistance to change and how to mitigate risks associated with user adoption. Most companies are not immune to the challenges of software deployment. As the landscape for new software solutions continues to evolve, so do the methods and practices we employ.
The good news is that we are seeing a trend in the genuine concern for employee satisfaction and adoption to change.
I’ve listed three areas we value and have shared with many clients, enabling them to boost employee adoption of a Workforce Management solution.
1. Consider How You Deliver the Message
Change can be exciting, but it’s often met with a high degree of resistance. Add to that a workforce who feels they are being blindsided with new processes to follow changing the way they work and you have an uphill battle convincing them that this is going to be good! When meeting with a company, I regularly convey that there are two way to deliver a message: 1) Drive home your point, regardless of what the listener response will be; or 2) Deliver a message that intrigues your audience and engages them to listen further.
The tone of your message plays a big role in how it is perceived. Starting on the wrong foot will often be met with the same resistance your listener is hearing. When delivering a message with a negative connotation you often lose your audience in the first few moments, at this point all they really here is the lack of consideration of the impacts and challenges they might soon be facing.
By starting with an up note, you are leveling the playing field and letting them know you understand this may introduce some changes in their work lives and you are receptive and understanding. Positvity breeds positivity and you will quickly see this as you continue to deliver your message. Make it an interactive conversation, get their opinions and be prepared to answer some questions. Give your workforce the sense of comfort that you are listening to them just as you expect them to listen to you. Don’t forgot to follow up on any take a ways or questions you promised to get an answer to!
2. Prepare Employees for Change
Keeping clear lines of communication with your workforce is important. In fact, it’s a critical step to ensuring a successful transition.
People hate change that is forced upon them. As human beings we build a sense of comfort in routine and tend to put our guard up when this routine is being changed for reasons out of our control. Build a solid plan to keep employees updated on the progress of your new WFM system and give them what they need to prepare for the upcoming changes. These may include holding company meetings explaining the benefits and reason for the change, sending monthly progress updates, and enlisting a few key influential team members to help spread the word.
The value of building a solid training plan is often under estimated. Starting with the building blocks needed to ease the transition for your workforce will yield dividends in the long term. Double check and triple check that you are allocating enough time and resources to the execution of your overall training plan and execution when building your WFM project plan. Well planned and executed training will pay handsome dividends on your WFM investment.
Preparing your workforce for upcoming changes is the best way to arm them to be successful. Having them prepared with a clear understanding on expectations reduces blow back and increases the odds for a successful end result.
3. Solicit Feedback
This last point is an important one. I often have lively conversations with clients on how to engage their workforce in helping with a Workforce Management deployment. Nothing breeds a more successful implementation than the willingness of a workforce to adapt. If you are implementing a system for the first time, make sure to solicit feedback from all respective groups.
If changing or upgrading, talk to the groups to ensure their requirements have not changed and ensure that new processes are included in your deployment. As you begin configuration, engage the different groups to share with other users what the system will look like. Have them walk through the system with their teams and provide feedback.
Keep user experience high on your priority list, and possibly consider it a success criteria. Consider having a few team members act as advocates making time to solicit feedback from the different user groups. This will also help to reduce the shock factor on go-live day.
The key ingredients in Workforce Management Deployment success are employee engagement and feedback. A company that does not take into account how a new system will impact people will set itself up for failure. Companies that embrace employee participation and feedback will more likely have a successful implementation and a happy workforce.