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Employee Buy-in for New Process Automation

You can mandate a business change in strategy or process all you want, but employees will find a way to revert back to their old ways if they feel threatened, intimidated, and/or frustrated by the new automations you put in place.

Getting employee buy-in in any new process can mean the difference between a workforce that embraces rather than resists change. Even more importantly, it keeps the feedback door wide open so you can hear about — and fix! — any issues that come up quickly.

Tips for getting employees to give new process automations a chance include the following:

  • Look for low-hanging fruit. If your first automation projects are ones that genuinely make employees’ lives easier, they’re more likely to get on board with new automations in the future. Find boring tasks to automate, or look for ways to simplify complex multistep processes. Examples include manually generated reports or math (for example, number of sales per person per week, currently calculated by hand).

  • Build excitement. It can be hard to rally for a Web form, but it’s also not helpful to simply send out a drab announcement memo. As much as possible, try to highlight the benefits of the new change and draw positive attention to the people who start using it. This is easiest if you have already been piloting the automation.

  • Provide ample training. The new change may make perfect sense to you but sound like Greek to others. I don’t know about you, but if I had to do my work in Greek tomorrow, my day would be pretty slow and tedious. Having up-front and ongoing training resources helps ensure that everyone feels comfortable and not threatened.

  • Tolerate mistakes. Changing the way a process is done and yelling at the first person to make an accidental error is a good way to ensure that no one ever fully adopts the new process (or likes you). You can’t tolerate mistakes indefinitely, but you should make it clear that you want people to dive in and try, and there will be supports in place when necessary.

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