Getting employees on board with a new process, software or system can be challenging, particularly in construction which has been building in the same manner for centuries. As a company that prides itself on developing user-friendly, low maintenance solutions, we take worker buy-in and smooth implementation personally. Here are some of the best practices we’ve developed for getting – and keeping – workers on board with new jobsite technology:
Choose Systems that Work for Your Employees, Not Against Them
Many individuals who resist the implementation of new technology worry that it will add more work to their day. A lot of this concern stems from a lack of education around why changes are being made, what the new system is designed to do, and what it will mean for them personally. Be upfront with workers and explain why the new technology is necessary, how it was selected and the benefits you expect to see within a certain time frame. Show that you’ve done your research and that end user concerns have been considered. When workers see this effort, they are more likely to give a new system an honest try, even if it means minor headaches in the short term as new systems are learned.
In addition, be sure to include department managers in the evaluation and implementation processes. Seek feedback from different sources – HR, IT, accounting, etc. – to weigh pros and cons, and pilot the technology with a small group of end users whenever possible to work through issues and avoid large-scale problems during a company roll-out.
Consider implementing a “feedback jar” to allow employees to share questions or issues, feature requests, and ideas about other technologies that would benefit them. In fact, some companies offer incentives – whether it’s entering into a drawing for participating in surveys or identifying a new tech tool – for employees who identify promising technology solutions. Encourage your workforce to take ownership in the system’s overall success. When employees have a seat at the table and feel like they matter, it is much easier to ensure buy-in.
Expect the Unexpected
Too often companies rely solely on quick, online demos – or webinar trainings – to select and implement a new technology. Successful implementation takes time, planning, commitment and follow-through. Take a hands-on approach to implementation; While many people can learn via instruction or “lectures,” many more learn by doing.
It’s also important to keep in mind that no implementation will go absolutely smoothly – there will always be hiccups and questions, and it’s how you respond to them that matters. When evaluating solutions providers, ask what on-boarding, training and support looks like. If companies do not offer firsthand on-boarding, create an alternative plan such as finding an outside implementation partner or appointing an internal implementation team.
Make yourself available to answer any and all questions employees may have about the technology and how it works. Plan for this by requesting an FAQ from your service provider or developing an internal FAQ with managers and implementation leaders. Remember that successful implementation takes time and patience. Also remember that few people fully utilize what they can’t understand, so hold regular training sessions or “office hours” to work through on-going questions or challenges.
Don’t Go Back to “The Old Way”
A common mistake that can turn new technology from an investment into an expense is allowing your employees to continue doing things the old way. Avoid this by making everyone – including management, supervisors, foremen, and the workers themselves – accountable to the new system. Require compliance with new processes across the organization to speed up familiarity with the system and unite everyone in the learning process.
The most important part of realizing return on investment is leveraging the technology to its full capabilities, which requires employee buy-in. Top to bottom, make sure your organization understands why the system is being adopted and set data-driven goals to track roll-out progress. Finally, hold firm in new processes; there will be complaints and foot-dragging, but accepting the new way or no way at all will help your workforce grow accustomed to the new system faster, saving you time, headaches and money.