Lauren Scholtz, L&D Manager at intelliHR and Ami Price-Gagnon, Chief Customer Officer at Ento, provided tangible actions and processes for you, as a HR leader, to undertake when putting in place HR software, getting buy-in from stakeholders, and making the implementation process as easy as possible for the entire organization.
Missed the live session? Watch the webinar on-demand
With so much engagement from our audience of HR professionals and business leaders, our live Q&A session ran over time, and we promised we’d get back to you with responses to your unanswered questions.
So, let’s dive in and discuss your additional change management challenges (and solutions) as guided by our experts.
Q1: Implementing company change isn’t easy. How do you help employees to understand why the change is important, what’s driving the change, and why they should get behind it?
Lauren: Storytelling is a powerful tool to help inspire and motivate people, and workplaces are no exception.
Business storytelling expert, Stephen Denning talks about ‘springboard stories’ as a way to inspire and motivate people to implement new ideas. This kind of story is told by leaders and hits home because it shares a real example of the change being successfully implemented elsewhere, with a hero that employees identify with.
This helps people to visualise how things could be and start getting excited. Add in a reference to what could have happened without the change and the motivation to act starts to come together. The story can be retold and shared during the change period to keep things moving. (Check out “A leader’s guide to storytelling” by Stephen Denning for the other 7 types of stories which are handy tools to have for any leader).
Ami: In addition to having consistent, and agreed-upon messaging that will occur again and again, visions become most real when they are accompanied by stories. Stories are even more powerful when they include details that spark the senses, and are relatable.
For example, you might start with a story about an employee having the most stressful day ever, in a way that hits real employee pain points. Maybe there was a miscommunication about their shift start time and they woke up from a phone call from their manager, finding out they were already late. They were in a rush and had to skip morning coffee, and felt grungy all day.
Then, work was stressful because they were understaffed after two people called in sick, and it was taking forever to call every other employee to see if they could come in. When checking the roster for next week to make sure they weren’t late again, they spilled a drink on the printout where all shift changes were tracked, and their manager cried.
To top the day off, pay didn’t go through. They had to wait until the next day to get a hold of someone to find out what went wrong, just to learn that head office typed in their new banking details incorrectly.
Then you can tell the story of the future state, where the same day goes smoothly because shift info is available through the app, mass communications are seamless, clock-in is digital and there is no manual entry of employee data.
RELATED: 5 Strategies to increase digital literacy and adoption when rolling out a new HR platform
Q2: What are some ways in which you can offer and set up support for employees in times of change?
Lauren: At an organizational level, it’s important to give people a voice to share what they are experiencing. Feedback channels can range from listening sessions, surveys and anonymous suggestion boxes.
There’s also a benefit to leveraging the existing company structure and empowering managers to support their teams. Rolling out knowledge and processes from the top down gives leaders a chance to get comfortable with the change themselves before their teams go through it. This isn’t always possible to do, but when it is, the strength of it is the existing relationships managers already have with their people; they know what their team members like, dislike and struggle with, and how they like to receive support.
Also, factor this extra ask into your planning around managers’ capacity. They’re amazing people, but don’t have unlimited time. What’s in it for them? What’s in it for the employees? Can you share some tips on how to make the change matter in an individual way?
Ami: Include a ‘hyper-care’ phase for the first two weeks post-go-live so that employees have an easy way to get help fast. This may mean setting up a dedicated inbox or adding capacity to your existing support teams temporarily. If things are going wrong they need to be able to notify someone fast.
As per above, they should also have on-demand materials for them to see what good looks like.
RELATED: Learn more about obtaining, analyzing and making decisions with employee feedback
Q3: If we’re asking people to change, they need to know specifically what they are being asked to do differently as well as how to do it. How do you approach this when it comes to implementing change?
Lauren: This flows on from explaining the ‘why’ of the change. It can be tempting to micromanage and give long lists of what and how things need to be different, and in some cases where processes are firmly established, this will be necessary. To start with, though, it’s important to be confident that your people understand the end goal.
If you’ve got a new system you want people to use, it’s much more engaging to show them how to use it in the context of a task they’ll need to complete, rather than just running through what each button on the page can do. Outcomes-based learning resonates more strongly with adult learners than focusing on theory, so lean heavily on scenarios and examples where you can.
Ami: One of the best practices in change management is to ‘show what good looks like’. Tactically, this means actually demonstrating the new process, ideally both ‘live’ and through on-demand resources such as a video or step-by-step guide. Bonus points for weaving in messaging on the benefits of the new process as you go.
Still in the decision-making stage with your HR tech? See our guide on how to choose a people management system
Q4: Leaders are typically the change advocates for any business, so how do you ensure your leaders are equipped and know how to manage the change?
Lauren: Leaders usually have multiple priorities running simultaneously which means that while they have the best of intentions, they don’t always have the time to do everything they’d like to when it comes to supporting changes. Equipping them with an appropriate level of knowledge (not too much, not too little) is incredibly helpful.
For example, highlighting the key benefits of the change, in a place they can all refer back to, makes it easier for leaders to deliver a consistent message that supports the reason for the change. Depending on their level of seniority in the business, they may not need to know the nitty-gritty details of how things work, or that might be exactly what’s required. Meeting their needs will help those great intentions to shine through at all levels.
Ami: The best way to enable leaders is to make sure they’re comfortable with, and fully understand, the messaging about WHY this project is happening.
If you have some dedicated leadership time together and are willing to have some fun, you could do an activity that I’ve witnessed as having great results. First, summarise the benefits of the project for the leadership team, then have leaders form into groups and ‘play back’ the messages to the rest of the team in a creative way, including a project slogan. I’ve been very surprised by the playfulness that has come out of this activity, including songs, poems and even dances. These creative activities shouldn’t be presented to the rest of the business, but are a way for leaders to bond around the messages in a memorable way, and potentially even find a catchy project slogan.
Q5: Have you seen any impacts on change management or adoption of software following the pandemic given people have been “forced out of their comfort zone” already?
Lauren: It’s tempting, in a time of ‘flux’, to just toss some extra change in there since “things are already chaotic.” Change fatigue is a real thing though, and businesses need to be aware of it rather than just steamrolling through because it looks like they can.
We think people are more open to particular kinds of change at the moment; when communicating, the key is bringing it back to the benefit of the change. Is this initiative designed to help solve a pain point that emerged as a result of the pandemic? Great, then lean into that and show exactly how this will help this particular situation get back to the way people are used to.
HR systems are a great example of this; during the pandemic, many businesses instantly lost visibility over their people and their wellbeing because nobody was in the office, and a good people management tool put that connection back in place (though in a slightly different way). Businesses are adopting them at a higher rate than we’ve seen in the past, as a result.
If the change is a chance to build further on something new, it’s a whole different story to tell. The focus here is on the progress that has already been made and the benefits that came from it and that this is an opportunity to take it even further.
For example, digitizing and streamlining processes has been a project for many organizations, but they’ve been forced to speed up, as a result of the pandemic. Now is the time to celebrate those hard-earned wins and see where else improvements can be made.
Ami: We’re seeing fewer scenarios where people have change resistance due to a lack of familiarity with technology.
However, we’re also seeing scenarios where people have added change resistance because they’ve been ‘burned’ in the past, from projects that were rushed or under-resourced or had other significant pain points.
In conclusion, while change management for a new HR system can be challenging – from gaining stakeholder buy-in to training staff to use the system – right through to supporting managers to lead the change, we hope we’ve offered some valuable insights into making it work in a seamless and stress-free way for all.
Learn more about how Ento works with intelliHR to optimize staffing levels, easily pay your staff, and keep your workforce engaged. Visit our integrations marketplace for more specialized HR tools to add to your ecosystem.
Ami Price-Gagnon – Chief Customer Officer, Ento
Ami’s strengths are strategy, data analytics, leadership, and change management. She now leads Ento’s consulting, customer support, account management, and workforce innovation functions. Prior to joining Ento, Ami was a Business Strategy Consultant at Accenture with a focus on organization and technology transformation.
Lauren Scholtz – Learning and Development Manager, intelliHR
Lauren is the Learning and Development Manager at intelliHR, where she works across teams to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to deliver the consistently amazing customer experiences intelliHR is known for. She has spoken at DisruptHR and is a regular contributor to the intelliHR insights blog.