Tips for Ensuring a Smooth Transition to WFM Software
As anyone who has ever been part of a major software purchase or upgrade knows, there is a subset of every company that will resist change. In the case of workforce management, it might be contact center personnel who believe that spreadsheets and arcane formulae work perfectly well. “Why mess with something that works?”
For starters, not everyone is great with spreadsheets and arcane formulae, and if the one person who is leaves, that will put the company in a tight spot. Secondly, while spreadsheets may be able to cope with the basic, they will never be able to achieve the kind of features that modern workforce management solutions can.
According to a recent blog post by Will Boswell of Injixo, there is a common theme that pops up when companies change workforce management. Executives are looking for very rapid return on investment – by the end of the week – and get a little nervous when it doesn’t happen immediately. Those who championed the purchase may not have made clear that the new workforce management solution will take some time, some training and some getting used to before all the benefits unfold.
“This puts the workforce planning team under pressure and can lead to defensive behavior, energy and emotion being wasted on trying to deflect blame,” wrote Boswell. “They may start to get frustrated by having to tell colleagues ‘for the 10th time’ how to achieve an outcome in a new way. If issues persist, some users may retreat to a position where only the base functionality is used, to avoid focus on the areas which are perceived not to be working, not as well as before, or simply differently.”
Of course, retreating to using only base functions eliminates a lot of the benefits of switching to a workforce management solution: the advanced feature sets that can help make vast improvements. Boswell recommends a seven-step program to familiarizing the company with the new WFM solution.
Ensure the benefit case is realistic and timescales are achievable. If people expect a new solution is going to be doing their job for them by the end of the week, they’re going to be disappointed and ultimately negative about the purchase.
Over communicate. Going quiet and resorting to a position of “trust us, it will work” isn’t going to help. Keep everyone who will be touched by the solution in the loop about the latest developments, tips, hints, training and benefits.
Make training relevant, timely and accessible. Don’t begin practical training on the solution too early, or you’ll need to do it all over again later, which is a waste of time. You also risk overwhelming users who may already be anxious about learning a new solution.
Put “floor walkers” into practice. These are people who, once employees begin using the solution, have no purpose other than to provide help, guidance and tips.
Don’t pretend it’s not going to be different. Promises of “it’ll be just like the old way, but better!” are unlikely to help anyone. Assure users that they will get the hang of it, and they will see benefits, but their patience is required.
Challenge your supplier to support you with all of the above. Before you buy, ensure your vendor has a process (and a reputation for) assisting with onboarding the solution and the training.
Don’t try and switch all the new “stuff” on in one go. Advanced features can wait until users have the hang of the basics. If you overload them with all capabilities at once, you’re likely to scare them into not taking full advantage of the solution.
Edited by Alicia Young