Implementation involves executing a new way of doing something, and that’s exactly what it can feel like: an execution, particularly if you’re the only one on board with making a change. Change is inevitable to any operation, though. It’s the only thing that’s constant, as they say, and is essential for growth. As time passes and your industry evolves, you’re bound to see change in your personnel, equipment, processes, outlooks etc.
One of the most painful things to change within a company or organization is technology or software, but it doesn’t have to be. A technology or software shift usually faces disgruntlement only because it isn’t handled correctly. Learning new technology is a challenge, even for younger team members who are well-versed, so some resistance is normal.
The key to starting a successful implementation process, however, is taking some time to reflect on why your employees may experience resistance.
Maybe they feel like they’re too busy in their role to learn something new at this time. Maybe they worry they’ll look bad if they struggle to understand or fear their job security could be jeopardized with the oncoming of this technology. Or, perhaps they simply loathe facing the unknown. It’s important to gauge what your team is thinking and feeling prior to implementation so you can meet them where they are instead of dragging them through the process. Without all hands on deck, you’ll be swimming against the current, causing you to potentially waste a lot of time and money. That said, getting all hands on deck doesn’t actually start with your team; it begins with you.
Implementation is a process, and you need a well-structured plan for it to go smoothly. If you do a halfway job in preparing for it, you’ll get halfway results. When you’re managing the expectations and frustrations of others, you need this to go well from the start. Rehashing your game plan partway through implementation is only going to confuse people.
So where do you begin? Here’s a roadmap for a steady, effective implementation your whole team can feel good about.
Who will this change affect? Those are the people who need to be informed about it from the beginning. If it’s your entire company, then your entire company needs to be notified a change is coming as soon as possible. They not only need to know it’s coming; they need to know why it’s happening, how it will affect them, and what your expectations of them will be. Few people do well with change when they’re blindsided by it, so don’t keep your team in the dark.
Get them talking about it and asking questions, and make sure to ask for their input. The more they get to express how they feel about this new technology or software, the more ready they’ll be to explore it and the more information you’ll have about handling both collective and individual needs during this time.
When it comes to the workplace, most people aren’t agreeable with change for change’s sake. They’re busy. The last thing they need is a headache disguised as progress. That’s why it’s necessary to explain what this change is and what it will do for them and the company. Arm them with the information, and get them excited about the benefits this will add to your business growth, culture etc. Make sure they know this change makes sense and will lead to more job satisfaction and company health. For example, if you’re using a new software to execute a preventive maintenance program, illustrate exactly how it will make their day-to-day responsibilities easier.
It’s a good idea to have a guinea pig group, especially if your team is large. Do a mini-implementation to see what issues could arise, what questions will need answers, and how this new technology will function in day-to-day operations. You’ll have a chance to work out the kinks before rolling the change out live, and you’ll be equipped with a group who can encourage and help teach the new technology to others down the line. Check out our Q&A about training your team for more help.
If you do a test run, you’ll have a better shot at this one, but don’t go into implementation blindly. Make a solid plan for how you’ll introduce new technology, what pace you’ll go at, what your goals are, what you’ll need, and who will lead the pack. It’s also a good idea to consider that you likely have different types of learners at your company. Some will want to learn by jumping in and trying it for themselves. Some will want lecture-style meetings. Some will want one-on-one help. Some will want visual aids or how-to guides. Keep this in mind so everyone gets the resources he or she needs to be comfortable and successful.
Because we know the stakes of a smooth implementation process, our client support team at Dude Solutions sets our clients up with a tried-and-true training outline. Plus, we never stray far. We’ll be there to guide you each step of the way, with answers and advice quickly available by email, phone, chat or our active help site. We’re here when you need us to make sure you get set up as quickly as possible and can use your new software to the fullest from the beginning. We even offer on-site consulting services for those that want face-to-face help getting started.