One of the biggest challenges our customers encounter when adopting a new system is getting staff on board. Without user adoption, the technology investment you’ve made is useless.
I attended Salesforce World Tour this year in Washington DC, and was able to snag a spot in one of the standing-room only sessions for nonprofits. It was great to hear some nonprofit cloud evangelists review their decision to adopt Salesforce and provide some tips for overcoming their organization’s resistance to change. Here are a few I took away from the conference.
- Share your Vision
Your staff needs to understand what is changing and why. With a clear understanding of the problem you are trying to solve, how it will impact their job, and how success will be measured, there is little room for cynicism and a fear of the unknown.
- Assign Responsibilities
Give each team a task and assemble a diverse group of stakeholders. When your staff feels responsible for the success of the changes you’re trying to make, their input will be more thoughtful. They are also more inclined to become project evangelists. When they encounter a skeptic, they are more likely to field the complaint and smooth any feathers.
- Keep the Line of Communication Open
It’s important to keep staff abreast of the progress along the way. Adopt an open door policy to discuss the changes and how staff members are reacting to them. When people feel that their voices are heard, they are less likely to escalate concerns into full-blown issues.
- Be Flexible
It is impossible to foresee every possible outcome of a change. Chances are, there will be some valid concerns from staff members, and it’s important not only to listen to them, but to consider them. You don’t need to be omniscient to pull off a successful project, you just need to know how to communicate and consider different possibilities as they are presented.
Organizational change is hard, but if your staff get off on the wrong foot with your plans, it’s hard to reel them back in.