By Sarah Howland, Editor In Chief, Field Technologies magazine
Technology deployments bring change. Whether it’s the major change of transitioning from paperbased processes to a mobile solution for the first time, the moderate change of migrating from a first generation solution to the next, or the minor change of an upgrade to an existing solution, it is change. If you think you can make these changes successfully without a strategy in place to manage that change, you are sorely mistaken.
Why does change require management? Because change brings about uncertainty, and uncertainty causes fear. Your employees are comfortable with the status quo. Asking them to change the status quo will bring about emotions that can turn into resistance, which will quickly get a technology deployment off track and prevent you from achieving the results you’d like. So do yourself a favor, and plan ahead to manage any change you are introducing. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did. Here are some tips for building a good change management plan.
Obtain Employee Buy-In As Early As Possible
You may be leery to get your employees involved in your technology evaluation/ selection process, and I get it — you don’t want too many opinions to muddy the waters and make tough decisions even tougher. But communicating with your employees from the outset will make the adoption much smoother. Explain to them why you’re investing in the technology, and get their thoughts on what they think would make the best solution. You don’t have to take every suggestion, but empowering your employees to be part of the process will make them feel a sense of ownership that will translate to better adoption of and compliance with the new solution. If you have a large workforce and can’t include everyone, select a group, or ask for volunteers to act on behalf of the mobile workforce.
Provide Proper Technology Training
You can’t expect employees to use a solution properly if you don’t show them how. Document how you want them to use the solution, provide classroom training, use a train-the-trainer approach, or conduct ride-alongs to help familiarize your workers with the technology in the field. Or do all of the above. Just make sure that you provide them all the tools necessary to understand how the solution should work and to use it effectively. And remember, if they don’t first understand why the solution is being put in place, this step will be virtually futile.
Conduct Ongoing Performance Management
If you’ve done the first two steps well, you’ll be in good shape to measure and coach their performance over time. Rather than settling for just the initial benefits the solution provides, you can get more out of it by thinking of it as an ongoing improvement project versus a one-time activity. It’s also important to continue to obtain feedback from your mobile workers — they might have wonderful ideas on how the solution could be used in another way or functionality you could add that would provide exponential benefits.