Kanter’s Law: Everything can look like a failure in the middle.
People resist change – it is a cliché because it is true. In any position of leadership, you will encounter resistance to change. People resist change in many different ways: from foot-dragging and complaining to petty sabotage or even outright mutiny. Change is a universal challenge because change always brings more work. The individuals closest to the change often find themselves in a place of resistance because of the inevitable unanticipated glitches in the middle of change, per “Kanter’s Law” that “everything can look like a failure in the middle.” Navigating change in the workplace is one of the most challenging endeavors an organization must take on.
In the world of Workforce Management Software, change is a frequent occurrence. Organizations often deal with significant internal resistance during an implementation or upgrade of a major system. A workforce management system, specifically a system like Kronos, touches every employee in an organization. Therefore, dedicating a significant amount of time, energy, and resources into organizational Change Management is key.
Change Management: How an organization plans to help employees deal with change and use the new software correctly.
There are three main steps needed to effectively execute Change Management.
1. Identify Potential Friction
Pain and politics often go hand in hand. Resistance to change in the workplace often reveals organizational politics that can create potential minefields. In order to avoid any damage, project leaders need to identify who will benefit from the project success and who could potentially be against the project. Identifying these individuals allows for the targeting of potential friction points. The policy for any leader when leading change is to be honest and transparent.
Employees are often incentivized by project success which can creating an environment where competition resources, time, and money can result in the derailment of important projects. Asking these key questions can help identify potential friction:
- What are the incentives to help the project be successful and prioritize it?
- What counter-incentives might be working against prioritizing the project?
- What are the needs, wants, and values of the project participants?
- Are employees’ bonuses or compensation packages dependent on the project?
2. Employ Effective Communication
Honest, transparent, and effective communication is the best way to help employees deal with change. In recent surveys conducted by the International Journal of Business, Management and Social Sciences, communication was ranked as the fourth most important critical success factor for implementation success. Successful communication before and during and implementation includes ensures there is widespread understanding of the project expectations placed for each department.
An effective communication strategy includes at least four components:
Communications Planning: Determine the information and communication needs of the key project stakeholders: who needs what information, when they need it, and how it will be provided.
Information Distribution: Make needed information available to project stakeholders in a timely and effective manner.
Performance Reporting: Collect and distribute performance data, including status reports, progress measurement, and forecasting.
Administrative Closure: Generate, gather, and distribute information to formalize a phase of project completion.
Working with outside consultants can save time, and increase the efficacy of communication and the final system through the expert application of industry Best Practices and standards. Consultants can be one of the most valuable assets when it comes to designing and implementing a strategy for Change Management.
3. Effective Training
A big part of change management is ensuring user adoption. Since new workflows and software are being introduced, employees will need effective training. Employees may express skepticism about whether or not the updated WFM software will work, but those concerns may be a symptom of a deeper concern; they are worried their skills will now be obsolete. Training assists employees to understand how business processes, job responsibilities, and work environments will change with the implementation of Kronos.
Education should be a top priority from the beginning to end of the project, warranting substantial resources. Training is most often handled by the combined efforts of the organization as well as the outside consultant or vendor. A comprehensive training strategy includes a training plan, training location(s), and resources, including educators and curriculum.
While every Kronos implementation will be unique in certain particulars of the project, there are a few points that every implementation will share: it will be complex requiring detailed strategy and change management while failure can have catastrophic consequences across all departments. Kronos implementations also share with all IT projects a significant risk of failure. Strategic planning at the outset of an implementation saves time and money, while increasing the likelihood that the expected benefits will be delivered on time and on budget.
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