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Hannah Taylor

How to Manage Change When Introducing a New Resource Management Tool

Eager to reap the benefits of optimized resource management? You'll want to understand how to manage change when introducing your RM tool of choice.

Change is non-negotiable if you want to grow your business. From investing in new technology to targeting alternative customer segments, growth-minded organizations regularly adapt their strategies and ways of working to achieve better results.

But making an effective change isn’t as simple as flicking the switch and watching the money roll in. When organizational change is poorly handled, a business can be thrown into chaos, resulting in slower growth and dissatisfaction among its workforce.

This is especially true when making changes that will affect how your team members approach their day-to-day tasks, such as introducing new resource management software. 

If you want to reap the benefits of optimized resource management (and who wouldn’t?), you need to be prepared to effectively manage change.

So, let's take a look at how this can be done.

Why is managing organizational change important?

If you’re making any significant changes to your organization’s ways of working, your business needs a strong change management process.

Why? Well, as we mentioned, implementing a change in enterprise software isn’t as simple as downloading the new software on everyone’s computers and calling it a day. If you want to make sure the change sticks, you need to control the change management process properly. More on how to do this in a minute. 

Introducing any new enterprise software will impact your business in two ways.

Firstly, the business will undergo a technical change. Switching from one tool to another or digitizing a previously manual process may introduce technical challenges — which will require a technical solution.

Such a shift can also result in a culture change. It’s easy to underestimate the importance of getting your employees on board with organizational changes, but any decisions that impact how an individual works, such as introducing new software, have the potential to be received negatively if not handled appropriately.

While organizational change represents opportunities for growth and success, for many, it equals risk and uncertainty. When new software is introduced, workers need to spend time adapting to new processes, learning new technical skills, and letting go of old ways of working.

It’s important that those overseeing the change management process are conscious of these frustrations and fears and take the necessary steps to facilitate a smooth transition. Luckily, change management models exist to guide you through this process.

Outcomes of an effective change management process

So, what are the end goals of an effective change management process? Let’s break it down.

Preparing effectively. Only fools rush in, and building a successful change management process is all about ensuring you’re prepared to overcome barriers to adoption.

Gaining support. If your business wants to successfully implement a new tool, it needs buy-in from every team member — A.K.A., the people who will use the software every day. Failing to do so can severely impact company culture.

Successful implementation. The end goal is for your new tool to become a valuable and trusted part of BAU.

TL;DR, change management is important because it smooths over issues when implementing new software and encourages critical stakeholder buy-in.

How to manage change when introducing a new resource management tool

In our recent webinar on Leading Change in Resource Management, we spoke with Rahul Sirimanna, who has recently led introduction of a new resource management tool to a large, international team, and and Kent Frazier, a change management expert with experience of coaching executives through change.

Speaking from first-hand experience, they took us through their change management best practices. Let’s get into it!

Communicate why an organizational change needs to be made

One step our experts highlight as being incredibly important is ‘having a clear purpose or reason why.’ Defining and communicating your ‘why’ is essential to successful stakeholder management; in this case, your stakeholders are your employees, and your ‘why’ is the reason the change is being made.

Whether you’re investing in a new resource management tool to improve company-wide utilization or for cost-saving reasons, make sure to communicate with your team what company goals or challenges the change addresses.

The logic behind this is simple. Most people find it frustrating to be left in the dark, so being transparent about the motivations for the change and openly communicating your plans can help your more change-resistant employees understand the importance of adopting the new software.

It’s worthwhile considering your key stakeholders’ perspectives at this point, as understanding their needs, potential challenges, and potential reservations will allow the business to address them appropriately.

Start slow with a pilot phase

While it can be tempting to roll your new software out across the entire organization immediately, our experts recommend starting slow.

Kicking off with a pilot phase offers tonnes of benefits, including:

  • Testing and refining processes based on real user feedback
  • Gradual adaptation and minimize disruptions during the broader rollout
  • A smoother and quicker software phase once you’ve ironed out any issues and gained stakeholder buy-in

Rahul Sirimanna, Director of Delivery Excellence at Royal Bank of Canada, shared why he found taking the pilot phase slow so important when introducing a new resource management software in his business:

We spent a lot of time with the pilot process, a lot of people tend to, you know, pilot for four weeks, six weeks, and then jump into production. But we really wanted to make sure that we got this right. So we spent almost eight months piloting Runn."

Build a team of change ambassadors

If you want to secure stakeholder buy-in quickly and painlessly, you need a team of change ambassadors who can advocate for the new software among the workforce.

Kent Frazier, Chief Evolutionary Officer & Co-Founder of ParadoxEdge, suggests finding your ‘natural ambassadors within the organization who are naturally, innately drawn to the work’ and getting them involved in the pilot program. Building a team of change ambassadors will:

  • Create feedback loops, ensuring the software meets your employees’ needs
  • Give your team members a sense of ownership over the change process
  • Provide natural opportunities to model the change and new software through testimonials, videos, and other materials that can be dispersed among the workforce
  • Allow employees to hear real user testimonials from their colleagues, making the proposed change more relatable and grounded in real experiences 

Connecting with employees who can advocate for organizational change on your behalf will encourage the wider community to embrace change, as Sirimanna experienced when piloting Runn.

They don't want to necessarily hear from a strategy group. They want to hear from the users. So, we actually took the pilot users into our all-hands meetings, into our town halls, and had them speak about the experience that Runn had brought them and articulate the benefits that it brought to them and how excited they are about the future that it’s going to bring."

‘Sell’ the solution

Another way to look at this process is as if your employees are a target audience to whom you need to ‘market’ your new resource management solution.

The end goal is to successfully ‘sell’ your solution or convince your workforce that changing the way they manage resources is worthwhile. As Frazier says, individuals need to know what’s in it for them:

Before I can enroll myself and get on board, I have to understand what's in it for me. If I can't answer that question, I'm going to be, you know, a little bit more resistant or thinking 'I don't want to do this, I'm not on board'."

This will involve engaging with key stakeholders at all levels to understand their specific needs and then outlining how the software will support their work and solve their problems.

If you want to convince your stakeholders you’ve selected the right tools, you need to prove their value, which may include improved workflows or reduced burnout.

Want to learn some techniques for better understanding your stakeholders? Read on to learn about Stakeholder Mapping ➡️

Let people know that it's okay to find change uncomfortable

Interestingly, one of the most popular approaches to organizational change management, the Kübler-Ross change curve, asks its users to consider the natural emotional responses humans have to significant change, including shock and frustration.

That’s because we’re all a little change-adverse by nature, and employees shouldn’t be punished for experiencing negative feelings in the face of significant change.

As Sirimanna puts it, "Change is not easy." He adds that if team leaders want to build trust, they need to be honest about the fact that going through change will introduce pain points.

People tend to be scared to make mistakes, but accepting that learning new processes can lead to mistakes is how you go about enabling change.

Our advice? Encourage your team to communicate openly and be honest about their reservations and discomforts. Be ready to provide the support they need.

Provide a good user experience

Your team members should be at the center of your business’s universe. That means prioritizing creating great experiences that make their workdays easier and support psychological safety.

When introducing a new resource management tool, our experts recommend focusing on building a great user experience. This will show that you care about your employees’ experiences and want them to get the most out of the software.

For example, ask yourself, "How can we make sure that we give them a good starting point?" This could include setting the tool up to better alleviate their pains, limit time spent on boring administrative tasks, or ensure that they can experience the tool’s benefits from the get-go.

Provide proper training

Part of creating a great user experience includes providing proper software training rather than leaving your team to figure out a potentially complicated new system on their own.

Our experts recommend providing comprehensive training, either internally or with the help of the software owner’s customer success team, and establishing a robust support system.

Don’t forget: support shouldn’t disappear once implementation is complete! Ongoing training should be an important part of your software implementation plan.

Introduce a new resource management tool today

Now you know everything about managing organizational change and how to get buy-in for resource management software, is it time for you to make a change?

Start your change management journey by exploring the best resource management software ➡️

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