Have you even been part of a team that spent time and effort resolving a problem only to see their changes lost over time? The old problems return, and the outcome may be worse. Team members become frustrated when their work proves to be futile. The cause is often the failure to adequately plan for the implementation of the new procedures.
Teams need to be reminded that just because they have worked hard to develop new processes, not all employees will immediately embrace them. When CALMC works with teams, we use a rule of thumb that about 20% of employees will be ready to embrace any changes, 20% will be opposed to change, and about 60% are uncertain. The latter group is the one on which we must focus. They will be skeptical of new ideas, perhaps because they have seen new ideas come and disappear over the years. We need to consider their needs and how they can be more comfortable with the transition.
We must begin when the new process is being planned. We need to engage all employees in helping them understand why the current status needs to change and how they will benefit. The team needs to secure their input on what should be changed and better ways to accomplish the desired goals.
When possible, try implementing the new methods as a pilot process in a single department or area. This will provide an opportunity to test the process on a smaller scale before full implementation. Any problems can be discovered early, saving time and money.
Training on all facets of the new process must be implemented well in advance, and coaching should be provided to continue to assist employees with the new process. Employees need to be encouraged to use the new process. We must be certain adequate resources are provided, including needed technology and other resources.
Part of the training and encouragement process should include supervisors and managers. They will be a big part of implementing any changes and will need to help support their staff during the process.
As we monitor progress of the change, we need to gather data to determine its effectiveness. This information should be shared with all employees to document the progress and provide reinforcement for their efforts. We continue to review the data, tweaking the changes as necessary to improve the system.
By carefully planning and implementing change, encouraging employees and supporting them through the transition, and monitoring the success of the new process, we can be certain changes are effectively implemented. If employees see the new procedures are good ideas and work, they will be more likely to continue to use them. The changes and system improvements can be sustained.