Change. That simple word can be frightening to many people. I don’t know of anyone who really LIKES change. Change is often thought of as something that happens to you, not something you can control and it can be scary – that unknown quantity that can turn an End User’s routine upside down.
Most often the Change Management Team communicating a software change to End Users happens something like this:
- We’re changing to a new more efficient ABC Software on these dates, check the calendar for your conversion date!
- The ABC Software Project is on target, don’t forget your roll out date is going to be …!
- Executive Bob will be out talking to your management team about ABC Software and how it will save the company tons of money!
- Training for ABC Software is coming on these dates, be sure to sign up for your class!
But End User is thinking something like this:
- Yay. NOT!
- I barely have time to get my work done now, I don’t have time for training.
- What’s wrong with what we’ve already got?
- Wouldn’t we save more money if we didn’t spend it on new software?
- Does more efficient mean fewer people?
I’ve found that the most successful organizations, while promoting the new application, also take into account the questions not being asked by the End Users and seek to address them in very tangible and specific ways and use programs as client management software to know exactly what the users need. Here are a few of those tips that have been used to help calm some of the fears and even get the End User to engage and embrace the new application.
Know your audience – communicate to all levels within the organization. Each level has different needs and fears.
Before formal training begins here are some ideas for warming up your audience but they all come down to one simple concept – SHOW THE SYSTEM.
- Lunch and Learns where you can discuss and demo portions of the new software – remember each group of people will be interested in different aspects of the application so tailor the sessions to them.
- Cafeteria Sneak Peeks – set up a place in the lunch room for a few hours/days to demo the application as people come and go – this is great for showing the basics like system navigation. Let some folks click through the menu for a hands-on approach.
- Webinars – again, tailored to specific audiences – your accounting team won’t be nearly as interested in creating a work order as your maintenance team.
After training, be sure to have a Sandbox or Training environment set up so End Users can get in and practice what they’ve learned. Becoming more familiar with the look and feel, the navigation, and functionality will provide a stronger level of confidence when you go live.
I’m a firm believer in showing as much as possible, as soon as possible, to End Users. This helps to build familiarity with the application and reduces the stress of the unknown. While I can’t promise that everyone will simply gush with joy over the change, it will help to improve acceptance and engagement of it. Go ahead, don’t be afraid – it’s just change.