How to Involve Your Team When Changing Software
In a modern workplace built on digital technology, software changes are a regular occurrence. Investing in new marketing agency management software like Scoro can enhance your agency’s overall efficiency, providing a string of benefits for you and the team.
How it gets introduced to the team can help you hit the ground running and easily improve the day-to-day operations in your department. Inviting your team to join the process of implementing new technology in their workplace can make all the difference between slow adoption and having a motivated group that is ready to take on the next client campaign.
If you’re thinking about making changes to your processes in the near future, this guide offers advice and support for successful company-wide software adoption.
What to do before you switch software
If you’re thinking about investing in new work management software, there are a few things you’ll need to do before pitching it to upper management. Each of the points mentioned here will help you to create the best possible software adoption plan for you and the team to enjoy a fuss-free changeover to a new package in no time at all.
1. Single out “champions” of the new software
Before rolling out any changes, find out who is most excited about the prospect of the new software. The person who pitched the idea is a good starting point, but if you’re the one most excited about the switch, it’s worth testing the waters with some of the longer-serving members of the team first.
The idea is to find one or two champions who can help drive the process forward, as well as encourage any skeptical colleagues that it is a good idea.
If there aren’t any obvious candidates, you’re going to have to do some legwork to get more people onboard. If everyone in the team is unhappy with the potential switch, it’s worth calling a team meeting to address concerns and give everyone peace of mind about whether it’s the right time to be changing software at all.
Be prepared to answer any questions your team might have about the new product and how they will be affected during a transition period.
2. Set up a product demo with follow-up training sessions
Regardless of the overall levels of excitement or pushback, it’s imperative that you set up a comprehensive product demo to help the team get a firm grasp on how the new software works. Ideally, the training should be conducted by an external contractor who knows the software inside out and can answer any practical and logistical questions about using it to its full potential.
Keep in mind that some people will naturally struggle to grasp the technology at first. Because of this, it’s worth scheduling follow-up training sessions to help them out. This should be done upfront and communicated when the demo session is first announced. Doing so means you won’t “other” any of the team members who are slower on the uptake and may be slightly embarrassed about needing a bit of extra help to wrap their heads around it.
3. Make room for questions and concerns
Total transparency is always the best approach when it comes to leading a team. One of the best ways to support them during a software change is to make it clear that your door is always open for questions and concerns.
Mentioning this from the first time you introduce the idea to the team will show that you are confident about the process. This will also create space for the bigger challenges – those that could potentially harm the efficiency of campaign operations – to present themselves early.
Just remember to tread lightly and be patient with the members of your team who find the change somewhat sudden and jarring. Be ready to carve out time in your schedule for smaller team meetings if extra concerns arise at any point of the switch.
How to address any issues with new software
There’s always pushback because most people don’t like change at first. So it’s also important to be ready to address any issues along the way. Some of the most common issues we’ve seen come up during new software implementation are:
“It doesn’t make sense to switch software when we have a system in place already.”
Change is something that scares people and if your agency has had a legacy software system in place for years, you may hear this challenge from more than one member of the team. When this happens, having a clear view of the new software’s benefits will present to the person pushing back with this kind of thinking is essential to winning them over.
Although work management software can benefit you as a team leader by offering a holistic view of all ongoing campaigns, it’s worth driving home points about increased efficiency and the way total collaboration will be improved.
“The team is settled and growing, so this is a bad time to switch to a new software.”
An employee who has gone through a retrenchment process in the past is likely to be worried the switch will turn operations on their head and put their livelihood in jeopardy. The economic uncertainties brought about by COVID-19 will likely only serve to compound these worries.
Reassure them that any changes will allow more time for regular check-ins, performance reviews, and extended discussions about career progression plans. Let them know that their professional development is important to you and remind them how important it is to stay on top of changing technologies in the name of remaining competitive in the global marketplace.
“Switching project management tools will take too long and we’re already busy.”
Hardworking employees are already used to the pressures of tight campaign deadlines, and in an agency setting, there’s always something new to do for a client.
The argument that it will take too long to implement new software is essentially an automatic denial that should be addressed by hearing the person out at first.
In response, remind them how useful it would be to have software that automatically integrates most of your existing platforms into a single dashboard. Although there may be some setup time, there is likely to be minimal admin involved.
Once that process is out of the way and any small kinks have been ironed out, everyone will be able to get on with their tasks in a more organized and time-efficient way.
Getting used to new project management tools
It’s going to take some time for everyone to get used to any new tool. Expect to go through a process of trial and error at first, especially when you’re using software that requires customization to meet your operation’s exact needs.
Using your managerial skills during the transition
If morale dips slightly during the transition period, make a point to check in with everyone about how things are coming along and what you can do to help them get the most out of the software.
This may involve some one-on-one sessions to move things along, which might feel time-consuming at first but will ultimately be an investment in the successful implementation of the software. Quarterly refresher training courses to help the team master the software over time should also form part of your planning.
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