If a tree falls in the forest, we’re pretty sure it makes a sound even if no one is around to hear it. We’re 100% sure that if you implement Kaizen software and no one uses it, there will be no impact. There might be a lot of noise from grumbling executives who’ve just wasted a lot of money, but no positive change.
That’s why it is so important to plan your Kaizen Software roll out with a focus on broad user adoption. We’ve helped tons of clients with improvement technology implementations and here’s what we’ve learned works when it comes to getting people on board.
Put the Technology in Context
If the idea of using Kaizen software seems to come out of nowhere, people will probably view it as a solution looking for a problem. Instead, the concept of Kaizen and the culture that will be created around it should be introduced and people should receive training around what it means, why it matters, and how it will transform the organization. It is helpful for people to be given examples of the impact Kaizen has had on other organizations and what leadership expects it to do for yours.
Choose the Right Solution
Your technology decision will have a big impact on whether employees love or loathe your Kaizen software. Ask yourself a few questions from the employee’s point of view. Can I get the information that is relevant to me quickly and easily? Can I access it from the mobile devices I love? Is the interface intuitive? Can I get help if I need it? Does it align with how we work and manage improvement projects?
Provide Adequate Training
If you’ve made a great technology choice, the system should be well-designed and easy to use, but that doesn’t mean that training is unnecessary. In addition to the basic functioning of the system, it’s great to share some helpful tips and tricks along with best practices. Like any software that contains user-generated data, it’s best to teach people to enter information in a consistent way. It is also important for everyone to understand what reports will be generated by the system and how the data they enter will impact those reports.
Make it Useful
People tend to use things that are useful to them (folks are funny that way). When employees understand that a key goal of Kaizen is to make their work more productive, more enjoyable, and more important to the company, they gladly accept and leverage the tools designed to help. Too often we see leaders focus only on the benefits that improvement brings to the company’s bottom line and miss the point that workers benefit as well.
Publicize the Fact that Leadership Uses the System and the Data
If leaders aren’t vocal about their use of the system, employee enthusiasm will almost always wane. No one wants to enter information into a system that they don’t believe is being used by management. Smart leaders reference information from the Kaizen solution when they address the organization. They talk about how the data is used to make decisions and share impact reports so that everyone knows Kaizen is making a difference.
One key feature to look for is the ability to broadcast successful improvements to the entire organization. Using the system to do that reinforces the idea that engaging with improvement work will get employees recognized by management. Improvement broadcasting has an awesome snowball effect in companies with everyone wanting to be the next to see their name in lights.
Make System Data Part of Employee Performance Reviews
Ideally, part of each person’s performance review will involve opening your Kaizen solution and taking a look at how engaged the individual has been with improvement work. Of course, everyone should know ahead of time that this will be a normal part of how folks are measured. They should also have goals related to improvement that align with the overall objectives of the organization.
Make it Fun
You know your team better then we do, so you’ll figure out what works for your organization, but there are lots of ways to make using Kaizen software fun. You can throw in a little gamification by rewarding the person or team that enters the most opportunities for improvement or gets the most measurable impact from improvement. You can use it to manage event planning for holiday parties or outings. Maybe you announce the most innovative, out of the box idea for improvement once a month. Whatever approach you choose, bringing a bit of fun and humor to your Kaizen culture isn’t a bad idea.
Sure, folks are somewhat resistant to change, but you probably aren’t still using MySpace or getting DVDs from Netflix in your mailbox. When something comes along that’s better than the way you are doing things today, you get on board. That’s how you want your team to think of Kaizen software – the new best way to achieve innovation.