Training your staff
Stage 1 - Learning the software tool
Learning the product is something that management needs to do. It might not be the most senior management of the company with any good tool, management needs to know: - How to operate it - What is its potential - Why the staff will benefit from using it - How usage may evolve - If it is a good tool or not
There are many tools that can be marketed to business that they will fix all their problems. This tool will make their lives easier. This is often not the key to success. The tool can enable better ways of working from staff or it can restrain them. No matter what, the main essential driver to getting the right outcome and getting your team to benefit from the new technology is actually the process. Some software offerings are very rigid about the process they will create on the business, and some are very flexible.
The flexible software can be great when the business has established its processes on how it will utilise the tool, how work will flow in and out of the tool, and has documented them well. Adversely, it has affected many businesses when they have implemented software and not applied a process on how they want their business to run with that software. Likewise a software that is very strict about its usage and processes often means you will be using the software very well and efficiently, but it may not work with your business model.
The key point is: Management should be using the tool
This enables them to build the processes around the business that ensure the software is used efficiently and more importantly that it provides great use to the business.
Stage 2 - Overcoming the Push back
it is not uncommon for staff to push back on using new tools and software. They have been doing their jobs fine for a long time, they know the job they do and how to do it well. Therefore having to use something that is different often feels slower and more difficult because of the argument: “Why cant i just do it, how i did before”. In the beginning, it normally is the case, that they would be faster using their own ways of working.
This is where the benefits needs to be stated. NOTE: If you cannot spell out the benefits of the new software you are introducing and why it will benefit the organisation, then its time to look at re-evaluating the software choice. You introduce new software for a clearly perceived benefit. Ensure the benefits are clearly articulated and share these with the staff. It may be:
- We will see less mistakes made on out going orders
- We will eventually see greater efficiency
- We will be able to double our output
- There will be less wasted time
- Record keeping and auditing will be simple
- Enabling better collaboration amongst staff
What ever the perceived benefit may be, when you explain this to the staff and why you see that being the outcome. They are more likely to trust the implementation of the software. The best thing you can do is get them to be an advocate of the software.
Stage 3 - The tough sell (or maybe not)
Sometimes staff will resist to new software regardless of if you share the benefits. We hope you can skip past stage 3, but sometimes there is just one stubborn employee who isn’t going to change.
This is where you now have to trust your decision to implement the software. If the benefits are solidly grounded and you know your in the right path then you just need to move forward. If you keep pushing to use the software your employees have to follow suit. As they work through the slow uptake of the product you need to be back there checking all the processes are followed completely correctly. People who are not advocates will not follow process, they will try to take shortcuts. You need to stop that in its tracks.
This is Unfortunately the difficult part of being a boss. Making people do things they don’t want to do. Managing is a lot like raising children. Often kids won’t want to clean their bedroom’s or brush their teeth. However the parent knows what is best for them and they will see the benefit later. This is where you as a manager need to draw from your strengths and keep pushing on.
Step 4 - Small wins
With the team working on the software and new processes, with it being actively monitored and enforced. The team will start to see little wins and slight benefits. This is a great stage. This is where you turn doubters to advocates.
If you can get small wins, make sure people share them with others. Praise them from following the processes and they will be a lot more happy to continue following and then to share with others why they should follow.
Step 5 - Its too early
After you’ve got the team on board, everyone is enjoying the processes and software you have introduced. There will be two ways the employees will go from here:
- They will introduce new processes that they think builds on the old
- They will acknowledge the small benefits and start to become comfortable
Option 1 is a good road for employees to take. It means they are passionate about continual improvement. The most important thing to do at this stage is listen to everyone. If they are heard with their ideas then they will continue to be advocates regardless of if you implement their suggestions. Often getting the implementation right on the very first go is near impossible, so listen you employees as they may have a fantasic idea that will continually build on the team success.
Option 2 is a road to be wary about. People can see some of the road ahead of them but not the eventual goal. Sometimes this vision is only in the heads of the management. You need to keep ensuring processes are followed, revise them if people are taking shortcuts as to why they should or shouldn’t do that. This is the 2nd tough stage, you need you second wind. Once this stage is progressed upon then you will see the benefits!
Step 6 - Refine
I stated before that you wont get everything right the first time. If you think you’ve gotten everything right and there has been absolutely no faults then you haven’t done everything right. Good processes are continually refined, stages may become more automated, documentation may become more critical, wastage of time and effort can continually be reduced.
Work with your team to establish on a regular basis what is and what isnt working for them. What they love and dislike about the process and software. Listen to how they would solve these issues and then implement as need.
We offer help for companies who need to train their staff and help define the best processes that will suit the technology they are working with. Call us today and we can help you.