17 Jan Motivating your staff to use new Software
Introducing new software to your employees can be a difficult task. People get into a routine of using the same software for years and to suddenly ask them to change can be intimidating, whether you are a large corporation or a small firm, but there are numerous benefits to be had by changing your software. The process of learning new software often isn’t as scary as it seems, and if you go about it the right way, then it can really increase your company’s productivity. Introducing new software represents material organizational change. You may want to do some homework and read up on organizational change strategies. John Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model may be useful here.
Here are a few ways that we have learnt work well when implementing new software in to your company.
INCLUDE YOUR TEAM IN THE SELECTION PROCESS
When considering your options for new software, include your staff in the process and don’t just spring something new on them and expect them to use it. Your selected software should be introduced as the “why” and the end goal should be clear. People aren’t going to trust that the hassle of using new software will offset the potential future benefits. Ensure your employees have a say in what platform you will be using, as they will more than likely be the ones using it the most. When you include your employees in the decision-making process there is more of a chance of them feeling involved and they’ll be excited about the prospect of new software that will make their working lives easier. Have your whole team participate in the needs analysis with the software vendor so that they have an opportunity to communicate their challenges with current processes and systems. They will feel “heard” and bought in when current challenges are reviewed at the presentation and demonstration stages. Your team should participate in the live software demonstrations and they should be given access to sample platforms, so they can experience the software for themselves. If your employees feel like they are being forced to use new software, then they are more likely to push back and not be as invested.
GIVE YOUR TEAM A REASON TO USE IT
An important part of the implementation process of new software is to focus on why the software is being introduced. There are many potential reasons, but they must be clearly identified and communicated. The ‘why’ could include:
• Alignment with corporate goals and strategies.
• Ensuring people have access to accurate information when required.
• Helping to keep employees accountable for the deliverables required by other departments.
• Secure access to information, including an audit trail, to prevent disruptions in business due to lost or incomplete information.
• Provide transparency into the workflow processes so that they can be made as efficient as possible.
Set up an exercise that will have your team using the new software in a way that increases their job productivity and use this as an opportunity for them to see the real benefits that the software offers.
PROVIDE ADEQUATE TRAINING
Don’t give your employees a reason not to use the new software correctly and provide the necessary training required to use the software. Software companies will usually provide their own training of the software, so ensure your whole team is involved and asking as many questions as possible. It’s also worth investing some extra time to train your IT staff, as they may understand the software at a more technological level.
ASK FOR FEEDBACK
You should be asking for feedback from your employees after every meeting, training session or training demo and really listen to their questions and queries. After you have decided on your chosen software, ask for feedback from your employees after a few weeks of using it and see what their biggest challenge has been. You should also be looking at things like employee productivity – is your business benefitting from the software?
Implementing new software and motivating your employees to use it can mean big changes in your business, so don’t underestimate the importance of training and support for your team. Successful adoption always starts with ensuring that the software is meeting a real need and involving your employees in the process is a much better approach then attempting to force them to use it.