Training on new processes always involves change. Whether it’s a new series of steps to add a project in Oracle Portfolio Project Manager (OPPM) or a new process for updating cost tables in Oracle Unifier, change for the user is unavoidable.
This leads us to a fundamental truth of human behavior: People don’t necessarily like change. Venturing into the unknown is uncomfortable. In part, it is because it requires time — a commodity that is often in short supply — to learn steps needed for new proficiency.
Still, there are proven methods to overcome resistance to change. Here are three lessons learned from recent training on Oracle Primavera products that might be helpful.
1. Utilize People Change Management Practices
A structured People Change Management approach deserves a high ranking on this list. It is a proven method that focuses on removing the human attitudinal element that often becomes a barrier to adopting and utilizing a new process.
A targeted and tailored strategic Change Management plan informs users, provides examples of the change and makes sure users have accurate contact information for support throughout the change. Additionally, it provides validation with the certainty that a trusted manager is already on board and will help navigate the change successfully.
An example will help illustrate. Every Friday morning for the past eight years, Olivia has entered new projects into OPPM. However, on this particular Friday, Olivia notices new fields on the form and is unsure how to populate them. She gets frustrated, is unable to reach a support person and ends up putting off the task. It’s a negative experience by any definition. Among other things, she is unable to recognize the added value or importance of the new fields.
Of course, every person is unique, meaning we can expect a wide range of responses to this sort of change.
Perhaps if Olivia had received a friendly newsletter or attended an information session prior to the change, she would have been more prepared and willing to adjust. Better yet, had she learned about the impending change firsthand from someone she trusted and respected, it could have built positive awareness and perhaps even enthusiasm for learning a new functionality. She would not have been caught off guard and would have been mentally prepared to populate the new fields.
She would have had the contact information necessary for support if she had run into trouble. Moreover, she would have been reassured that a learning curve was acceptable because a sponsor or trusted manager was already on board.
With a process for Change Management in place, Olivia would most likely have been comfortable with the impending change and more willing to adapt to the new process.
2. Go Digital
Many of us are thankful that lengthy, hard copy manuals are quickly becoming a thing of the past. There will always be a need for all-inclusive (yes, probably lengthy) manuals for new users to reference.
But printed? No way. Let’s save some trees and save some money while we’re at it. Digital is the way to go.
The second lesson — going digital — allows us to do whatever it takes to avoid printing training material. Let’s be creative and take the time necessary to organize material in a way that is helpful to a variety of user types.
A hard copy or digital all-inclusive manual should include a table of contents, deliberate chapter titles, clear headings that properly describe the contents, and a glossary referencing page numbers where related content can be found. The digital version should use the same terminology as in the printed manual. Any videos or similar multimedia tools should be organized in a similar fashion.
In this world of quickly changing technology, let’s make it easy for the user to save some valuable time, whether they are only trying to “get the drift” of a new process or procedure or want a “soup-to-nuts” deep dive into all the details.
Try to organize material so it is accessible by using as few clicks as possible. Make it easy! It’s hard to understate the importance of being user-friendly. The easier it is, the more use it will get, which will result in a more successful adoption rate.
3. Set Up Open Mic Sessions
It almost seems inevitable: Users have all the tools needed to successfully navigate a new process and then, on Day One, they sign into Unifier ready to update cost tables only to find the field is not editable. Even worse, the business process is not there. Frustration becomes rampant and trust is eroded.
What happened? It’s possible the users’ access didn’t get implemented, or perhaps they were simply looking in the wrong place. There may have been an initial step required prior to opening the field for edits that they were unaware of. For every glitch in rolling out new processes, there are always many possible causes that can easily be missed prior to Day One.
This illustrates the importance of our final lesson learned: the availability of real-time, easily accessible, hands-on support.
After implementing the new process, it is important to host several hands-on sessions where users can experience issues with the support of a subject matter expert (SME) at their fingertips. The SME could host multiple virtual open mic sessions with a block of time dedicated to answering questions. Users would be able to call in for the full block of time, or log in from time to time just to get specific questions answered.
Screen sharing can easily be done. This can be a great learning tool as it will give others on the call who may be experiencing the same difficulty a visual lesson on how to resolve the issue.
The key is real-time support. Users won’t have to spend valuable time tracking down the SME. Having an established time provides comfort and trust, decreasing the time the user has to stew on a problem that often can be resolved with a simple step.
Keep the End Goal in Sight
As with any implementation, actual business value is obtained only when end-users adopt and utilize the new tool. These three lessons will help us get there.
- Utilize People Change Management practices.
- Think through new approaches for digital reference materials.
- Set up open mic sessions.
Navigating change is often a rocky road, but there is no time like now to get started.
Stakeholder engagement and end-user adoption require effective project delivery processes.