For many corporate executives and managers – indeed, in many cases, for entire organizations – the idea of informing their field workforce about the adoption and use of a new application or software conjures up thoughts of angry mobs revolting in the streets, pitchforks in hand.
Organizations should not fear the reactions from workers as they convert to a new way of managing their field service operations. Instead, they should fully understand the concerns and fears that evoke these emotions; clearly communicate with workers to ensure them that their fears are being heard and addressed; and assure them that the solutions being proposed will help them, not hurt them.
Some of the most commonly heard fears from field service teams about implementing new technology relate to being replaced, being overwhelmed with how much there is to learn, and being satisfied with the pen-and-paper status quo. We help customers address these concerns by sharing the successes of others who’ve gone through the challenging process, who now see their workers fully embrace and benefit from the new technology.
“My job is being replaced with automated software.”
One of the fears most often shared by workers, especially those in the field, is that a new software introduction usually means they’re going to be replaced by intelligent software. They sense that layoffs will certainly follow the implementation of a software solution that knows more than they do, and, thus, the pushback from acceptance of any new implementation.
In reality, software implementations are usually just the opposite. Most software tends to be a tool to aid users in their daily activities, not a tool intended to replace workers. The wealth of knowledge that workers bring to an organization can’t be overlooked or replaced by a software upgrade. Users need to be reassured that a new application is meant to streamline the processes that they work on. It is imperative that management communicates this message early, and communicates it often. When users start to understand that the new application will actually help them – and not replace them – they are much likelier to willingly use a new software application and view it as a tool that benefits them.
“New software is too hard to learn.”
A common misconception when implementing a new solution is that it will be too complicated to learn. Users are less likely to adopt something they feel will take a long time to comprehend or will take encyclopedia-size manuals to learn. This is especially evident with an aging workforce. One study found that people 55 and over will make up 25 percent of the workforce by 2020, while another study estimates that the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. workforce between now and 2024 will be 65 to 74. An aging workforce is not isolated to the U.S.; Europe and other parts of the world are also experiencing the same sorts of issues and concerns.
While the amount of knowledge and expertise that an older, more experienced workforce brings to organizations is vast, it is hard to deny the challenges associated with moving older workers away from pen and paper. Add to that the resistance from workers about using software that can run on phones or touchscreen devices – and using their fingers instead of a mouse to input information – and you have a big obstacle on your path to change.
Today’s best software applications are highly intuitive for users. Gone are the days of needing ‘context sensitive’ help. Gone are the days of expecting every field on every screen to have detailed descriptions in large, searchable help files. Today’s most readily embraced applications are those that don’t require endless training sessions, but instead are those enabling workers to start using the software and being productive from day one.
“I like the way I do things today.”
It’s widely acknowledged that people are creatures of habit and are usually averse to change. When workers are accustomed to working one way or seeing data presented to them in a certain layout, it can be a big shock to the system to see large, wholescale changes to processes and to the ways in which data is presented. A new software implementation does not require workers to re-learn everything they do; it requires only that they add a layer of knowledge and skill on top of what they already know.
Remember, the goal of a good software implementation should be to aid and improve workforce productivity. The ideal application is one that allows organizations to configure their work processes and present their data to protect the good aspects of the work that users are doing, while updating that same process and screen layout to improve productivity. The challenge is to do it without alarming and alienating the workforce.
Convert to Gomocha’s simple yet sophisticated solution.
FMP360 is a standardized, off-the-shelf solution that’s easy to configure to meet the needs of any mobile workforce. It fully supports your back-office, mid-office and mobile-office teams by publishing and distributing the right information to the right people at the right time. You’ll experience fewer errors and greater productivity, which means better profits and happier customers!
If your organization is considering a shift from a paper-based operation to a technology solution, or if you need to upgrade from your current technology platform, we want a seat at the table as you review solution providers. Our technology and customer-service experts will show you how to keep calm as you convert from where you are to where you want to be.