We may know since Ancient Greece that the “only constant in life is change”, a quote attributed to Heraclitus. Even so, no one will argue that change is hard for most people. Human beings are creatures of habit: we tend to dislike change because it interferes with our sense of autonomy and it can make us feel we’re about to lose control.
That said, and more often than not, corporate software platforms may need to be changed. Whether this change is dictated by growth, better functionality, new features, higher performance, security or compliance, team leaders need to help their teams and offer guidance and leadership when an old software needs to be replaced to avoid resistance, inertia and mistakes — as all of these factors can cause a drop in productivity, and no-one wants that.
So, how do you get your employees on board and excited about software changes?
Here’s a list of steps that can make such transitions as smooth as possible:
1. Manage the transition like a project
You already know that change is hard. You have a set of objectives you want to accomplish. The timeline is clear. Now, you need a plan. You’ll want to have specific employees or workgroups assigned to the different aspects of the transition, define milestones and ask for updates as in any other project. Remember that your transition project plan should include technical implementation details, a communication plan, an outline of the training required as well as contingency procedures.
2. Have your leaders advocate for change
You can create a video in which your head of department or even your CEO highlight the benefits of the change. Remember to have them focus on the employee benefits and the advantages of the new software. They can also clarify any misconceptions and provide clarity on why the change is important for the business as well as each team member. After you share it with your current team members, this video can also be added as an introduction to the new software training.
3. Find your ambassadors
In any group, there are always a few people who are more eager for improvement and change. We advise you to find them and offer them training on the new software beforehand. Record their testimonials and have them be your ambassadors. It is important to have at least one champion in every team: they can participate in the roll-out and will help others cope with change.
4. Proper training and gradual roll-out
The best way to ensure a smooth transition to your new software is to train your workforce on how to use it before they actually have to do so. This training should be made available at all times and encourage independent learning. To offer software training, video is the best format as you have a mix of both a presenter and screensharing with voice. Make sure to include an introduction from your CEO or team leader(s) about the benefits the new software will bring, and create an easy to access video-based user guide that you can use to train your employees, but also to keep available at all times whenever anyone needs a refresher, and as part of your onboarding training.
5. Communicate clearly and transparently throughout the entire process
A lack of communication will increase change resistance and negativity, so you must never leave your employees in the dark. It is absolutely fundamental to include regular updates in your project plan: this will ensure all participants are kept aware of timings, expectations and next steps. It is also important to remember that the roll-out plan will not stop once the new software is in place. You must ensure there is a two-way communication — your ambassadors can act as point people to collect employee feedback and evaluate the need for additional training on specific areas.
6. Make it fun
Training does not have to mean boring PowerPoint presentations, obsolete worksheets or formal in-person sessions that have a higher cost, need to be duplicated to include everyone, have lower retention rates and mess up your team’s agenda.
You can create, for example, a challenge for people to complete based your implementation milestones and use a lively tone in your communication about the new software. It is a good thing after all!
When preparing your action plan for the implementation, try to anticipate some of challenges that may come up such: What do you expect the main roadblock will be? Is there a way you can mitigate it? Do you already know who your champions are? Write all of this down and get planning! If you invest in preparing this transition carefully, the change process to a new software programme will be smoother.
If you are planning to change a software and would like to know more about bugle as a training platform or how to create the best product training and user guide to make available to your team, we're happy to help.
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