In last month’s article, we started talking about steps you can take to ensure a smooth transition to automated workforce management. To quickly recap:
- Write down your project plan.
- Assemble the right team.
- Document and review your current policies and procedures.
- Select the appropriate solution to meet your current and anticipated needs.
But a successful workforce management implementation doesn’t end when you select your solution! Following a few additional important steps can improve employee acceptance of the new system and ensure you get the maximum return from your investment.
You Cannot Over-Communicate
Unfortunately, this step tends to be overlooked, which is a big mistake that can lead to a lot of problems in getting employees “on board” with the new system. Communicate with your workers. Then communicate again. It’s almost impossible to over-communicate on this topic. Your employees are bound to be anxious about anything that potentially impacts their paycheck and employment. A new workforce management system falls squarely into that category.
We’ve probably all heard stories about workers rebelling or refusing to cooperate when a new time tracking system is installed. You don’t need that kind of headache, so do what you can to head that situation off at the pass.
Workers will likely wonder why you’re implementing the new system, and will probably have a lot of questions about how things will change once the new system is in place. Consider implementing some sort of feedback system so they can ask those questions. Then post your answers somewhere everyone can read them, email them to everyone or read them out at a company meeting. If you’re comfortable with the idea you could even hold a live Q&A session.
Focus on how the new system will make things easier for your employees, supervisors and managers. In a way, you’re marketing the system to your workforce. You’ll get much better acceptance if employees understand how a new system can benefit them. It might be nice to know that the system will save the company time and money on payroll preparation, or reduce your risk of getting hit with government fines for not filing the proper paperwork on time, but I assure you your employees care a lot more about how the new system will affect them personally.
Of course, the specific benefits you focus on will depend on the specific features of the solution you’re installing, and the interests of your employees. For instance, all your workers will probably like the idea of more accurate paychecks. If your system includes an employee self-service component, they may like the idea of being able to update their information such as address or dependents without having to fill out paper forms. Others may appreciate being able to file and track the status of their time off requests online without having to track down a supervisor to submit a request and find out if it’s been approved.
The point is, think about the system from the standpoint of your employees and make sure they know what’s in it for them.
Don’t Forget the Training
Don’t neglect testing, training and documentation. Seldom does a new system installation run 100% smoothly right from Day One. Rather than simply switching all at once over to the new system, consider running the new system in parallel with your existing system for a payroll cycle (or two or three). This will give you time to adjust system settings as you need to ensure the new system is capturing time and calculating totals properly.
Make sure everyone — employees, supervisors, your techies and the payroll department — are trained on how to use the new system. Many systems are intuitive for basic tasks, but newer full-featured workforce management solutions are also powerful, with many useful features. If you want to get maximum benefit from your investment, you won’t skimp on the training.
You might also consider offering a “quick guide” or user handbook that gives your employees and supervisors step by step instructions for performing the most common tasks on the system. Your vendor should have something available. If for some reason they don’t, consider putting a user guide together yourself.
This will be time well-spent, I promise you! Not only will a user guide reduce the questions you have to deal with over time, it will provide a useful reminder to employees of the features that are available. What good is having a system that offers (for instance) a robust employee self-service feature, if none of the employees or supervisors know how to use it?
A “quick guide” such as this can also make your life a lot easier when it comes time to help new hires get acclimated to the system.
Be sure to also write down any new administrative procedures or other useful information about the system (such as the administrator password!) and store this information somewhere secure. This will not only help the managers and administrators as they adjust to the new system, it will also prove useful in the future in the event of staff turnover or new hires.
We get support calls all the time from companies frantic because their old system administrator quit — and now they don’t know the system password or how to export time or how to set up a new employee. A few minutes documenting system procedures could have saved them a lot of time, worry and headaches.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat
And finally, review and, if necessary, revise. For maximum return on your investment, after you’ve used the system for a couple of months, take a few minutes to review the new processes and procedures to make sure you’re experiencing the anticipated benefits.
See if there are any bottlenecks or rough spots in the process. You might discover additional hold-over procedures that can be eliminated or changed, now that everyone has become familiar with the capabilities of the new system. Or perhaps you want to add additional data-collection terminals to eliminate delays at the clock-in/clock-out stations or relocate the stations to more convenient areas. Or maybe you need to make some tweaks to the system configuration.
You may even find some additional features which you thought you wouldn’t use, that you want to enable now that you’re all comfortable with the new system and using it regularly.
In any case, after you’ve used the system for a while, a little fine-tuning can make your investment pay off even more.
Change is often hard, but when it comes to modernizing your workforce management, automating and integrating can pay off for you and your business in a big way: improved employee satisfaction, reduced time on administrative paper-shuffling, fewer errors… all adding up to time and money saved for your business.
Now that you know the steps you need for a smooth and successful implementation, visit our site to choose the best automated workforce management solution for your organization.