"The old way isn’t always better” is a statement you’ve likely heard if you have ever been involved in implementing a new workforce management solution
Whether it be an upgrade, a change to a new vendor or even moving from a completely manual solution such as paper or spreadsheets. School district employees are historically resistant to change and moving away from paper timesheets to an automated timekeeping system can be met with resistance. An effective change management strategy is a must in K-12 schools to effectively prepare for the change and maximize user adoption across the district.
I’ve worked in K-12 for the past 15 years. For the first 9 years, I worked in a school district and served as the Payroll Director where I led the workforce management implementation for our district. Kronos for K-12 was a gamechanger. And for the past 6 years, I have worked with Kronos as the K-12 subject matter expert and helped school districts across the country realize the same value I did in my district with the Kronos solution.
What I’ve learned is that In order to effectively get the users to start thinking the new way is better, make sure to involve them in the process and emphasize how this will make their lives easier. Connect the project to the district’s or school’s mission and goals as well as include them in the project team discussions. Promote transparency right from the start. Don’t keep secrets. Communicate. At times, over communicate. Tell the users what is coming, why it is coming and how it will impact their daily lives. Give the employees an opportunity to contribute. If something isn’t working, give them an open forum to tell you about it and be open to make changes.
Training is mission critical in user adoption and effective change management of a workforce management solution. This is the number one thing that most districts overlook. Leaders think it is so simple and that employees will easily pick it up. You must anticipate that this will not happen and spend time on training, create job aids and user guides to ensure proper expectations are set. While the concept and process are simple, you must ensure proper training takes place. You can’t leave lack of training as an excuse that employees will use as a reason for not using the system or not knowing how to use the system. Provide access to resources. Keeping the lines of communication open is crucial for maximizing user adoption and the eventual return on your investment.
The new way is actually better. It will become second nature and employees will love the new way. It just takes time and an effective change management strategy will help pave the way. Take a look at my full change management white paper, “Cultivating Change in K-12 Schools” for further details on how to create and implement a change management strategy in schools!