EHS software has the power to lower costs, reduce risks, and prevent unwanted events. But in order to fully realize these benefits, you need to convince your team to use the new system.
It’s not always easy — especially when your office is full of people who’ve been in their roles for decades and are used to doing things a certain way. Over the course of many successful software implementations, we’ve identified some steps you can take to get your employees to adopt EHS software fully and quickly.
1. Get them involved early on
Imagine your child is about to start kindergarten. Would you spring the news on them on the first day of school? Of course not! You’d probably spend some time talking to your child about their new school, attend open house and meet their teacher, and go shopping for a backpack and school supplies.
Similarly, it doesn’t make sense to spring new EHS software on your employees with little or no warning. Yet, that’s exactly what many organizations do. Senior management or corporate decides they need EHS software, and the end user doesn’t fully understand why — which can create feelings of resentment down the line.
Instead, start discussing the new software early and often. Allow employees to ask questions and offer constructive feedback. Simply giving people time to get used to the idea of change can go a long way toward helping them embrace and adopt a new way of working.
2. Communicate the value
EHS software offers many benefits for your organization as a whole. But the only thing your employees are thinking is, “What’s in it for me?”
Before you can convince people to change the way they work, you need to sell them on the value of doing so. If software doesn’t offer the benefits they’re looking for — if it doesn’t make their lives easier and less stressful — they’re going to go back to their old way of working.
Start by making a list of all the benefits your employees will get by using EHS software, such as:
- Spend up to 50% less time on administrative tasks
- Get reminders for upcoming tasks and deadlines
- Create complex reports with just a few clicks
- Capture and access data on-the-go from any mobile device
- Easily view key metrics on intuitive dashboards
Then, be sure to emphasize these points when talking to your employees about the new system. We've even seen organizations create an internal "press release" to build excitement and communicate the value of their new EHS software!
3. Get supervisors and managers involved early
Supervisors and managers play an important role in user adoption — or lack thereof. They have a direct influence on their employees’ attitudes, motivation, and performance. They can communicate the value of new software and a new way of working. They can also offer insight into how their employees work day-to-day and what challenges they face, which can be useful during the software selection process.
A good place to start is by establishing one key goal -- such as reducing serious incidents by 10%, or improving on-time completion of compliance task obligations by 20% -- and getting supervisors to rally behind it. With that goal in mind, EHS software becomes a valuable tool to help the organization get there (rather than just another new system to learn). Leaders can even use dashboards to track their progress and encourage continued use of the system.
4. Choose a good EHS software system
One of the biggest reasons software implementations fail is because the system is too difficult to use. All technology comes with a learning curve, but some systems are more intuitive and user-friendly than others.
When comparing different EHS software systems, look for a system that:
- Is standardized rather than customized
- Is cloud-based, so it can be implemented quickly
- Integrates with your other systems (ERP, CEMs, financial, etc.)
- Offers mobile capabilities
- Has pre-set dashboards, which can also be configured to specific users/groups
- Looks clean and easy to navigate
- Provides ongoing support and training
- Engages with users to to develop new features and product improvements (through focus groups, user surveys, etc.)
5. Don’t overwhelm them
Successful organizations know that change doesn’t happen overnight. Expecting your employees to start using all the features of brand new software from Day 1 is a surefire recipe for disaster.
Instead, start small with just a few key features — like tracking documents, getting alerts for tasks and deadlines, and creating basic dashboards and reports. Once your team is comfortable, you can add on more features and functionality.
6. Provide ongoing training
Learning a new skill takes time. You wouldn’t expect to be able to play the guitar after only one lesson.
Similarly, you can’t expect employees to know how to use new software after only one or two days of training.
A better approach — and one that we use at Perillon — is to look at software training as an ongoing process, not a one-time event.
The first session is typically a one-day workshop before rolling out the software. This session teaches trainees how to get started with the system. In the 6-12 months after going live, we offer monthly scheduled web sessions. Trainees learn important skills like how to complete form items and upload data. (These sessions are provided at no cost as part of our Perillon JumpStart program.)
Depending on your organization’s specific needs, these monthly web sessions can be supplemented with recorded training sessions to address other skills and activities.
By following the tips we’ve outlined above, you’ll be in a better position to get your employees to adopt EHS software and make the most of your investment. To learn more, check out this post on 3 simple ways to get started with EHS software.