Preparing your team for change
We recently wrote about getting your business ready for job management software. In this post, we elaborate on preparing your people for the changes that the implementation will bring.
Explain why you need job management software
Make sure everyone understands the problems that have led you to consider investing in job management software. In many trades businesses, these problems will be things like the need for:
- Greater visibility of scheduled jobs
- Tighter cost control through better inventory management
- Better project tracking
- More efficient timesheet completion and processing.
It may not be practical to involve all of your staff in the decision-making process, but giving them the opportunity to hear the reasons for the proposed change is pivotal. Keeping everyone informed, setting a vision, and providing an opportunity for feedback is challenging but essential to a successful implementation.
Listen to concerns
The idea of having to learn a new job management software program can be daunting for some people, and may bring up resistance to the idea of implementing one. The resistance is based on fear:
What if I can’t understand the new system?
Am I going to lose my job?
Things are always changing – I can’t keep up.
These are all reasonable concerns, and there may be others that come to light. Employees who are struggling with mental health issues may be particularly anxious about the coming changes and may need extra support.
Giving people the opportunity to voice their concerns will go a long way towards replacing fear with confidence. You may not be able to alleviate all their concerns at once, but be patient. Coming to terms with a major change is a process and it takes time.
- Consider having discussions in small teams rather than trying to communicate with the whole business at once. People who are unlikely to speak up in a large group may feel more comfortable doing so in a small group or even one-on-one, and sometimes their contributions can be very helpful.
- Creating small teams lets you identify who may be struggling, and who may be more likely to embrace the new system. You can engage the latter group as product advocates to help temper any negative sentiments others may express and to help everyone see the benefits the change will bring.
As the job management software implementation proceeds, have regular catch ups with your small teams with the aim of having everyone contribute to the process, if possible. This creates a feedback loop that can keep everyone on track. Use these meetings to assign tasks, set goals, help those that are struggling to adapt, and get feedback. The product advocates can be very powerful here as they can mentor colleagues and reassure them that the system will enhance their work day, not detract from it.
A good way to reassure staff is to explain that they don’t need to learn the whole system. Most job management software systems are extensive business tools that can cater for a wide range of work processes and business needs.
If a staff member is going to be the Site Administrator, they’ll benefit from learning as much about the system as possible. But staff who only need to log in to complete their time sheets or to see what jobs they’ve got on for the day need only learn those specific functions. You can use the power of permission groups to give users only the access they need to do their jobs.
Prepare your clients and suppliers
If your clients will notice any changes, whether positive or negative, after you implement your new job management software, try to give them a heads-up in plenty of time to make any adjustments that may be necessary. Explain what the new system will mean for them and give them the chance to ask questions and voice concerns.
You may want to involve your staff in this process. If your staff serve as account managers for your larger clients, coach them in how to present the news of the upcoming change to their clients. This can help give your staff a sense of ownership of the change.
Consider talking to your accountant and some of your suppliers, too, about integration possibilities.
Remain flexible and open to change
Some of the concerns your staff or clients raise may warrant adjusting your approach to the implementation. Be flexible and allow for changes to your initial ideas.
Sometimes when implementing job management software, people try to force the system to accommodate their current work processes. In many cases, the decision to invest in software has come about because current processes are failing in some way and need to change. It’s often best to avoid replicating them.
Use the implementation as a chance to review your processes, discard any that are no longer relevant, and adopt capabilities that you may not have realised were available.
Often the people who benefit from change don’t initially see the benefits through the fear of the unknown. By having a consultative approach and getting buy-in from the start, you will be more likely to achieve success and reap the rewards of your new job management software across the whole business.