Change Management Tips to Get Your Team Onboard With New Software
In this 7-minute read, we’ll offer key tips from change management theories that will help you with getting on board with new software. Hopefully, you’ll feel more confident in gaining support for software implementation from your team members.
1. Acknowledge that most people don’t like change… at first
Before introducing any new system in the workplace, remember that most people are not big fans of change. Change is usually at least a bit inconvenient because it requires learning something new and doing things differently. This means people have to modify their habits and step out of their comfortable ways. This tendency is definitely something that can be overcome, but it will be easier to lead the process if you know that most people will tell you “no” as their first answer. After reading the next tips you’ll know how you can change that.
2. Most people actually know that things could be improved
If you talk to any employee in any organization, most people can bring out something that could be improved in the workplace. There are some problems which are universal in many organizations: people tend to be too busy, too much energy is spent on mundane tasks, or there is not enough time and focus on innovation. Admitting there is room for growth opens up the door for accepting change. Talk to people and make them acknowledge things could be even better – this will help you lead the change.
3. Build a core coalition
In every group of people, there are some that are more eager for improvement and change. Kotter’s change management theory suggests to find these people and include them from the very first steps of our change management process. Naturally, it’s important to have your management team on board, but don’t be afraid to build your coalition across departments and seniority levels. If handling change depends on just one or two people, it’s more likely to fail. Make sure that there is one person in every team who can help others to cope with change.
4. Get everyone on board and dispel rumors
Make sure every person on the team gets enough information. Organize a meeting to create a space for everyone to ask their questions and express their worries. The more people know about the change process, the less likely they are to be in opposition. If you can, try to have all employees together in a general meeting when you announce the change. This means you can give information to everybody equally at the same time. In case you need to have several smaller meetings, try to hold them as close as possible in a small period of time. If you hear any rumors that are untrue, calmly explain what the actual situation is.
5. Identify detractors and work with them individually
If you notice that some people are still in strong opposition, talk to them individually. People tend to be more constructive in personal meetings. If you don’t address their negative attitude, it can become a significant obstacle for the whole team. Keep in mind that everyone has a right for their fears and doubts – remain respectful and friendly. Remember – you have taken this decision for a good reason and you are on a mission to make things better for everybody.
6. Be aware that some problems might not derive from the new software
When starting to use a new tool, the whole working system will be challenged, too. While analyzing problems and objections, keep in mind that not all of them might be directly connected with your new software. Sometimes people aren’t happy with the internal procedures or with some aspects of the management. Maybe there are other systems that don’t work smoothly and using the new software only highlights this issue? This is absolutely fine and will actually give you a chance to learn more about the organization and address several issues at once.
7. Listen to bargaining
One mechanism of coping with change is bargaining. Before or right after starting to use the new software, people might ask you if they can be excluded from using this new system or if they might do it only partially. A good strategy is to remain confident and stick to your decision. At the same time, make sure you are not only hearing excuses and try to find out the actual reason behind the complaints. Listen to their arguments and try to find out if some of them might have a valid point about something that could be improved.
8. Offer support through the depression phase
Most change management theories describe a phase called depression or chaos that follows immediately after starting to use the new software. Be aware and let others know that you understand that the first days or weeks using the system can be difficult. Make sure people receive adequate training and provide support to their questions and emotions. Remember – this phase will go by and you’ll soon enough get to a point where you reach even higher efficiency and happiness than your previous status quo.
9. Celebrate short-term wins
Appreciating little improvements is an important part of any difficult process. According to Businessballs nudge theory, it’s important to notice and celebrate small wins you achieve along the way. Make sure you turn positive attention to people who actively use the new software. If you want, use competitions or gamification to win quick acceptance. Bring out the benefits you are already gaining thanks to the new system, like saving time or having a better overview of things.
10. Give the new system enough time
Be aware that any change will inevitably require time and patience. You have made a calculated decision and worked hard on the change management process – don’t be too quick to dispose of that. You can seek advice from other organizations that have gone through a similar process.
Some employees might try to convince you that the time is not right but remember – there is no ideal moment to introduce new software. No matter what time you choose, you’ll have to deal with challenges anyway.
If you feel like something isn’t working right or you, make sure you reach out for solutions. Most software providers offer manuals, customer support, help articles, videos, and webinars.
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Managing change can be a bumpy ride, but it will be a lot easier if you know what’s waiting for you. Great achievements don’t usually come quickly, but you’ll be much happier when the new system is up and running smoothly.