Today more than half of EHS executives have implemented a digital transformation strategy within their organizations, with varying degrees of success.
So why are some employees enthusiastic to embrace new technology, while other initiatives are met with groans and eye rolls? And what can you do to make sure you get it right the first time?
It all comes down to one thing: change management.
We asked our Director of Client Services, Kyra Sharp, what companies can do to manage technology change successfully. Here are some of her top tips:
Give employees a heads up about the new system
Picture this: You walk in after a long day of work, toss your keys on the counter, and notice something strange — a dog bowl and chew toy on the kitchen floor. Only...you don’t have a dog. In fact, you and your spouse haven’t discussed getting a puppy at all. So you’d probably be less than thrilled with your significant other’s impromptu purchase, right?
Yet, that’s exactly how many companies approach software purchases. A small group of managers decides to purchase a new product. They spring it on their employees without warning, and then can’t understand why employees don’t want to touch it. Instead, avoid unwelcome surprises and give employees a heads up that a new product is coming before you expect them to start using it. That way everyone has time to adjust to the idea.
Get buy-in from the end users
For any software implementation to be successful, there has to be buy-in from the end users. Otherwise, you lose momentum. Make sure you gather feedback from your user base about pain points in the current system and ideas they have for improvement. This can be as simple as conducting a quick employee survey.
Even though you might not use all the ideas, it will give the managers and implementation team something to think about — especially if there is a trend in the pain points your survey identifies. Asking for feedback also helps employees feel as if their voice is being heard, and in turn they will be more open to the idea of the changes coming their way.
Map out your existing workflows
Before you implement any new software, it can be helpful to sit down and map out your existing workflows. What are the required steps to carry out a task from beginning to end? Who typically performs each step, and what actions must they take? Note where things work great or do not work at all. Knowing this will help the vendor's team configure the software in the most optimal way.
An added benefit: Looking at your existing processes may help you identify ways to be more efficient. For example, you may discover that certain steps in your workflow, like assigning tasks or sending follow-up emails, can be automated with software.
Start with a small pilot program
You wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive. Likewise, you shouldn’t roll out a new software system without doing a pilot program.
A pilot program gives you an opportunity to test the new system with a small group of users before rolling it out to the whole organization. It lets you try things on a smaller scale to discover what works and what doesn’t. And, it gives you a chance to make adjustments prior to a large group of users seeing the system and feeling as if they’re being forced to use a product that isn’t ready.
Plus, once the users in your pilot program see the benefits of your new system — like increased productivity and the ability to work remotely — you may find that it’s easier to get buy-in from the rest of your employees.
By following the tips outlined above, you’ll be in a much better position to manage technology change in your EHS team.
However, change is guaranteed to be a bit uncomfortable at times. Do your team a favor and make it as painless as possible by choosing an EHS software solution like Perillon that can easily be configured to your organization’s needs, rather than a highly custom system that’s going to take months or years to get up and running.
Next, learn what to look for in an implementation program.