Changes within your organization can feel overwhelming at times. Our team at KCare knows this, as we have helped hundreds of organizations over the past 20 years make the successful transition away from spreadsheets, paper, and other software systems to a solution that better fits their needs and business model.
We’ve created this guide based on our experience. We hope it will help organizations that are evaluating process changes or technology systems to find the best fit for their unique needs.
- Understand the Benefits of Change
Begin by identifying 3 to 5 opportunities and/or problems you’d like to solve. Rather than focus on a long list of wants and needs, make a list of the results you’re looking to achieve. A good process change will lead to improved effectiveness, efficiency, communication, and information tracking.
A list of key benefits is important because it allows you to communicate them clearly within your organization (to both leadership and staff) as well as externally. If you are going to use a vendor to help facilitate the change, it allows vendors to show you how they would help you achieve your goals using the functionality of their system.
- Get Leadership Buy-In
One of the greatest challenges to introducing new processes or systems is user adoption and resistance to change. Identify someone from your organization’s leadership team with strong communication skills who will be a “champion” for the upcoming change. They should have a clear understanding of the benefits of change and be able to demonstrate executive-level support for the change to others in your organization.
Have leadership at your organization involved early on in the process so they have buy-in to the return on investment. Involve them in vendor demonstrations if needed and include them in key implementation meetings. You’ll want to be able to show leadership how the change will contribute to the organization’s success.
- Get Staff Buy-In
When staff first hear about a new process change, it is usually followed by a rush of questions: “How does this affect me?” “Is it better than what I’m already doing?” “Will it help me or make my job harder?”
In order to address these concerns, have an organization-wide communication plan to explain why change is necessary, when it is taking place, and who from your organization is involved.
Keep key stakeholders in the loop during the evaluation period, after the decision is made to proceed, and during implementation and launch.
- Identify the Implementation Team
The implementation team should consist of key stakeholders in your organization who will work to ensure the new process is configured properly to support your current processes and deliver the benefits you are looking to achieve.
We typically recommend 3 to 5 people on the implementation team from a mix of roles (direct service staff, supervisors, administrative, leadership) that possess the following qualities:
- Willing to support organizational change
- Knowledgeable of current systems, processes, and requirements
- Ability to get things done and obtain answers to questions
- Committed to participating in meetings as needed
- Know Your Timeline
One of the main concerns we commonly hear is “Where will I find the time to implement a new process?” Besides day-to-day responsibilities, there is always going to be another special project, an audit, internal organization changes, or new staff to hire and train. The answer is there is no “perfect” time. But understanding the benefits of how a new process will help your organization save time and be more effective each day is what should drive the implementation time frame and the decision to move forward.
You’ll want to plan backwards. Start with your targeted “go-live” date with a new process, then determine how many weeks (or months) it will take to implement. Finally, determine how many weeks (or months) you want to evaluate other changes.
Once you start, it’s important to have momentum throughout the process to keep everyone on board – so try to make some progress each and every week.
We hope you’ve found this guide useful and that it will help clarify the path forward.