New software programs can have a tremendous impact on efficiency and productivity in your office. They offer exciting new features that can optimize your workflows, improve customer service, and make the lives of your employees easier. However, making the switch can be difficult; after all, change often comes with a learning curve, as well as resistance by employees who are used to a particular way of doing things. The latter can manifest itself in employee pushback or uproar, which will inhibit buy-in on their part and prevent you from experiencing the benefits of modern, effective software.

To quell any protest when it comes to rolling out new software platforms in your workplace and to get all of your employees on board with the transition, be sure to follow these steps before and during implementation.

Have a plan – Your transition shouldn’t begin the day your new software is rolled out. Get started well ahead of time by developing a plan. Your plan should include a schedule with discussions about the change and why it’s being made, employee training to ensure your team is prepared to use the new program, and a go-live date.

Identify and utilize champions – Like anything else, having team members to champion the new software will help sell it to fellow employees. Look for tech-savvy people who are open to change and new ideas, in addition to being liked and respected by their co-workers. Getting several enthusiastic champions on board and involved will help make the rest of your staff more receptive to the change.

Highlight and sell the benefits – Many employees care more about how something will impact the way they do their job than it will the company overall. So having to learn new software might seem like a bigger con to them than any benefits the company will reap are a pro. Counter that by highlighting the ways your new program will directly benefit them. Preach to them how it will make their jobs easier, save them time, eliminate tedious manual tasks, etc.

Have fun with it – If you’re still worried about employee resistance or apathy leading up to your go-live date, change their demeanor by lightening things up during training. Bring in food for the session(s), have fun by utilizing games and contests, and give away prizes to encourage maximum effort and participation on their part. Turn a boring training session for reluctant staff members into an enjoyable exercise that changes their attitudes.

Utilize positive reinforcement – Reward employees for buying in and utilizing your new software. Whether it’s in the form of a simple “thank you,” praise in front of other employees, or something small but thoughtful, such as a $5 Starbucks gift card, a reward like this can influence your employees to help gain their acceptance and participation.

While change is often for the better, many people naturally fear it, especially when they’re faced with learning new technology or are concerned about it making their jobs more complicated. Combat this natural aversion when implanting new software and ensure company-wide buy-in by planning ahead and making it as painless as possible.

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