Overworked Overwhelmed and OverboardPosted by bdynamics on Nov 30, 2011 in Burnside Dynamics, professional, Technology | 0 comments
We implemented technology in our companies to make us more efficient, effective, and lean. So why did it make our employees feel overworked, overwhelmed, and, for some, like jumping overboard? It was because we didn’t do it right.
What went so horribly wrong? We didn’t match reality with expectations. A salesperson came into the office to show us this great product that was going to be the wonder savior of the industry. It could do so many great things, reduce the number of employees we needed to get the jobs done, allow us to go on vacation and still know the company was running smoothly, and connect with our customers almost seamlessly. Was it too good to be true? Yes.
When we are looking at new technology, we need a plan. First, why do we need the system? What is currently lacking that the new technology is going to fill? We might not actually be lacking anything. The new technology might just be a shiny object that catches our eye. However, it is truly is going to fill a hole, then we need to define the hole. What is it that we expect it to accomplish?
Second, we need to see it in action. I highly recommend that you get a couple of referrals that are currently using the system and see how they use it. Get a free trial and actually test it out. Don’t just sign up for the free trial and then purchase it just because the time expired and you will “try” it out later. Schedule the time to give it a true run.
Third, most systems need to be set up. To accomplish the many things that the program promises, there is almost always some set up that must be done for it to be used effectively. This takes time and many people don’t schedule in the time to do this. They expect the system to just “work”. When you do set it up properly and take advantage of the various options it probably has, that is when you will recognize the true benefits.
Fourth, we need buy-in. When you are asking your employees to do something that they don’t normally do, why should they change? What’s in it for them? It is great if it brings many benefits to the company, but what about the employees. Just promising it will make their job easier and more efficient doesn’t cut it. In fact, for a time, they will be less productive and have an increase in frustration just from the fact that they have not experienced the system before. Give them plenty of time for training which will mean you need a plan to assist them in getting their regular job done during this decrease in productivity.
Finally, we need to make sure the system is delivering on its promises. This might mean an occasional audit, checking to see if the increase in productivity is happening or if your employees went back to their old way, or checking the effectiveness of the system. Match the plan you made earlier to see if the hole you were planning on plugging is now plugged or if it just got wider. Are you satisfied with the system enough to become an advocate of the company or give them a recommendation?
You can have success with new systems when you pay attention to the return that you are getting from the use of it. Make sure you know you have a need, make a plan to get to know the system, educate your employees and be understanding during their temporary decrease in productivity, and then make sure reality is matching with expectations. There are many good systems that can help your company advance or deal with logistics, just take the time to make sure it is the right one for your situation.