Change is rarely easy and in the workplace it can seem like an overwhelming task to get your employees onboard. (Just saying the word “change” might get the same dreaded response as “team building exercises”). As hard as change is, technology is ever-evolving and can bring great advantages to your company. Creating your own spreadsheet app can certainly make life easier when it comes to timesheet tracking, monitoring mobile employees, updating inventory data and implementing a variety of checklists. Here are a few ways to help with the transitional process as you introduce your new apps to your employees.
Before you introduce the app (or possibly even in the beginning stages of construction), ask for the advice and opinions of a few key staff members who will be using the tools on a daily basis. As an employee, few things are more frustrating than additional tasks that feel like busywork handed down from management. If employees are able to voice their concerns or recommendations, they are much more likely to accept the new way of doing things. More importantly, the app will be user friendly and customized by those who are using it. They’ll love the app because essentially they made the app!
Additionally, your staff will feel valued and heard. Dwight Lacey, President at Workplace Engagement Insights, evaluated a specific client’s customer service ratings which increased when employees were engaged. During this study, he had this revelation: “Why is it so important to seek employee input when making changes that impact the employee’s job?...Respect and integrity were core values of the client...Is it not necessary to solicit input and buy-in from employees in order to live up to those core values of respect and integrity? Is respect only about your dealings with guests, clients, or customers?”
When employees feel like they are valued, respected, and have a say in the future of the company, they will be more willing to cooperate with the upcoming changes.
There’s an old saying that goes, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” I’m sure many of your employees feel that same way about your current system of doing things, so create a comparison that presents a side-by-side analysis of the old way versus the new way of doing things.
For example, let’s say you're a manufacturing business that needs to process work orders throughout the day. The old method may have involved paperwork that needed to be filled out in multiple copies, submitting it to the appropriate manager’s inbox, and waiting for the request to be processed. With a work order app, you have created a paperless office; the form is downloaded on a mobile device and can be filled out and submitted offsite. This eliminates the possibility of lost paperwork, the app provides easy tracking to see if the parts have been approved and ordered, and status updates are accessible to see when the repair will be completed. An app takes the guesswork out of the equation and allows your team to be on the same page (and therefore your customers can stay abreast of the process, too).
“What if you are disconnected to the Internet?” “What if my phone battery dies?” “What if our account gets hacked?”
Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Knowing the answers to just about any question or scenario that comes up can allay pending doubts or fears by showing that you have done the research and the pros far outweigh the cons. (If you lose Internet connection, you can still input the information and upload it when you have service again. If your phone battery dies, have backup forms in your car. Your account won’t get hacked if you take the proper precautions.)
If you don’t know the answer, be honest and say that you’ll research it and get back to your team with the answer. Honesty is always better than trying to filibuster the issue.
Create benchmarks that you want to achieve and measure the results from before and after the use of your apps. Are there less mistakes on employee timesheets? Are customers getting their product faster? Is customer satisfaction increasing? Are work orders processed faster making job completion X days/hours faster? “These measurements will help management to evaluate return on investment and illustrate the value of the technology to employees who are resistant to or struggling with the transition,” explains John Beyer, President/CEO and co-founder of Realized Solutions. “Showing employees that customers are receiving better service, that they are more efficient in their role, and/or that the business is operating more smoothly, will motivate them to become familiar with and consistently use the new technology.”
Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously said “The only thing that is constant is change” and that most certainly applies to business and technology. Setting the foundation for employee support may take additional time, preparation, and thoughtfulness, but this added investment can make the process easier and well worth the effort.