The 5 B’s of Buy-in

Congratulations!  You have decided to implement a new software product.  This product will increase efficiency, improve work processes and help your employees work smarter.  The question now is; how will you get everyone to use it, embrace it and love it the way you do?

Be supportive of the project

Leadership support is a must, show them the benefits and get their buy-in.  Get leadership involved in the communication loop; have them show their support with statements, email  or even executive videos.

Assign a champion to the project to help carry it to implementation and beyond.  Assigning a champion will reduce the ambiguity around who is in charge. The champion is also a central figure to receive feedback and channel concerns and questions.

Be the motivator for your workforce

Implementing new software is a project and a change.  Change can be a scary process for many employees.  Begin by expecting resistance to the new software and its accompanying new work processes.  Motivate your employees by making them feel secure in their role and employment.  Accomplish this by outlining and sharing the benefits, demonstrating leadership’s support, communicating throughout the project and documenting new processes.

Remember that change takes time and expect a warming period, give employees time to adjust to the new processes.  Set a date a few months after the implementation and reassess your employee’s level of resistance and understanding.

Be in constant communication

Communicate early in the process.  Communicate throughout the process.  Communicate after the process.  There is no substitute for a well-informed workforce.  Keeping your employees informed will help mitigate resistance to the project.  You do not want anyone to be surprised with new job duties and processes.

Communicate on multiple levels.  Communicate with the entire department, then the teams and finally with individuals. Ensure that they all have a clear understanding about the project, its benefits, the changing process and new roles.

Make sure communication is a two way street.   Open a channel for feedback or in the very least give your employees a path to express their concerns and questions.  You could create a project email address or simply provide users with the project champion’s contact information.  You could formalize and hold meetings with employee groups to discuss the upcoming project and its changes.

Benefits of your new software

You have many reasons why this new product will be beneficial to the organization.  After all, that is why you chose this LexisNexis product.  Now go sell it to your employees.  Outline the benefits of the product on multiple levels.  Make the benefits relevant and get granular if you can, show how it is going to improve the organization, the team, individuals and your processes.

Be sure changes are documented

New software brings new processes; it changes employee’s duties and roles.  Make the changes explicit.  Consider rewriting job descriptions to include new roles and duties.  Make new work processes explicit as well.  Write them down, record them and make them available.  Design and publish flowcharts, process maps, and job aids to guide employees.  Finally, develop and document best practices when using the software and processes.

Remember your employees will invest as much as you do.  Consider implementing one or all of these strategies to help get your workforce behind the new software!

-Amy Nelson