One factor that can be overlooked when introducing new software is how your employees feel about the change. Do you have a culture where employees feel comfortable and positive about using software solutions as part of their day to day work? Or might it pay off if you put some thought in upfront about the best way to engage employees? If you just present them with a new software package, then expect them to adapt accordingly, it can actually make it harder to bed in. You might get there eventually but it’s far better to engage people from the word go.
What’s the attitude to change in your company?
Some employees might be naturally enthusiastic about change in general, and are positive about opportunities to do things in new ways. But other people might be inclined to worry about what’s in store; they might feel they’re comfortable with the way things are done at the moment and don’t want to do them any differently.
It’s understandable to feel this way, but the problem with this kind of mindset is that processes won’t be improved upon. Businesses that aren’t able to adapt, change and move forward are considerably less likely to thrive. So it’s important to find ways to overcome any inertia or reluctance to do things differently; if you’re considering the introduction of new software systems, here are some suggestions about what you can do.
- Clearly articulate the benefits of the software via effective two-way communication channels
Quite often it’s the case that employees don’t really understand why they’re being asked to make the change. If they’re not clear on that, they’re unlikely to accept the end goal and to play their part in achieving it.
If they don’t understand what the benefits of the software are, then it’s likely they’ll perceive it as being unnecessarily disruptive. They might have been told it’ll be beneficial but haven’t had much detail or a clear explanation of what that means in practical terms. So it’s really important these benefits are clearly identified and explained.
For example, how will it save them time? Will it improve the way their colleagues can work maybe, enabling people in the department to do their jobs more efficiently? Might it enhance job satisfaction by doing away with time-consuming and repetitive administration tasks? Why will it have a positive impact on the organisation? Will it ensure better compliance with regulations perhaps? Maybe it will result in smoother authorisation processes in all kinds of ways like holidays, expenses and training?
There are many practical ways to do this depending on the size of your organisation: team meetings, face to face briefings, intranets and email can all provide effective channels. Make sure there are ways for employees to ask questions too, both publicly and privately.
You can also consider further supporting your communication efforts by appointing a specific change champion who can be a point of contact for people to speak to.
Even once the software is up and running, keep the door open to feedback. It’s important that employees know they can always highlight any issues that need sorting out or adjustments that need to be made.
- Involve employees in the software’s specification and introduction
Obviously you have to be pragmatic: you can’t involve everyone! But including key stakeholders at the early stages when you’re considering which HR or payroll software is right for you can help with engagement. It ensures their perspectives and experiences are used to help the process of specifying the software then integrating it into the company and its procedures.
After all, it’s pretty frustrating for an employee who has a vested interest in how the HR or payroll software works to be kept out of the process until a later stage when decisions have been made. They’ll have a view on the functionality that’s needed so involve them as soon as possible.
- Ensure employees understand the full value of the software’s functionality
If people haven’t had proper training in what the software can offer, and don’t understand its full functionality, it’s very likely your company won’t be getting the full benefit. And if people don’t understand everything they can do with it, they might start drifting back into old habits (and those spreadsheets might start creeping back in to support them…). So it’s important that employees are taken through the software, and have a point of contact for queries, to make sure they are well supported in knowing how to make the most of it.
Good training can also help address the ‘fear factor’: quite often that’s what lies behind any resistance or reluctance to embrace new technology. There might be concerns about ‘getting it wrong’, or being shown up for not taking to it as quickly as others. These very real fears can end up manifesting themselves as resistance to using the new software so it’s important to acknowledge those worries and provide training and ongoing guidance in the early days to offer reassurance.
If you’re considering the introduction of HR software or payroll software in your organisation and are thinking about the best way to manage the whole process, talk to us! We have years of experience in successfully implementing software and would be very happy to have a chat with you and advise on the best ways to manage it.