New software can streamline a business’s operations, improve efficiency and boost sales. However, the new software can sow confusion, resentment and inconsistency if it’s implemented incorrectly. To avoid having your new software initiative turn into an expensive, inefficient regret, follow this guide before you pull the trigger.
Prepare Your Staff
A business only gets the most out of its new software if the entire staff buys in and commits to the software’s correct usage and application. The single best way to encourage employee buy-in is to include the entire staff in the discussion before the software is implemented. Tell them what the change will be, why it is being made and what is expected from employees during the transition. Don’t force implementation, but do firmly instill the idea that everyone is supposed to participate – and reinforce that to do so will only benefit them.
Focus on Training
As the article “Thought Leader Series: 8 Tips for Introducing New Software Without Disrupting Your Team’s Work” pointed out, it is critical to incorporate thorough training before implementing the new software. Training must be hands-on – academic, classroom-style instruction is not enough! It is critical that the trainer is physically present when the software is implemented to answer questions, ease the transition and help work through the inevitable early bugs. Leave the legacy software in place until everyone is comfortable with the new system.
Employees and managers – especially long-term employees and managers – naturally resist change. This is especially true when they feel that change is happening to them – as opposed to happening for their benefit or with their input. Give every member of the team an outlet to convey their hopes, fears and anxieties surrounding the change – even if they won’t be directly involved in using the software.
Not only will this help leadership take the pulse of the office, but it will make employees feel that they are driving the change, instead of being pushed aside by it. Team members should be given a forum to express their views confidentially if they choose, as well.
Employees will be much happier if they feel their voices are being heard and considered.
Keep your employees involved throughout the entire process. This will encourage staff buy-in and prevent resentment. Train all interested parties prior to implementation, but retain the old system and keep trainers on hand until everyone is up to speed. Choose the right software, encourage employee feedback and take action on that feedback when you can.