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.
Remember - technology is NO substitute for culture. For a successful implementation, you have to focus on developing your improvement culture through methodology and leadership behaviors. Kaizen software helps make that cultural development possible, and should be rolled out in the context of supporting your organization's transformation.
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?
Perhaps the most important aspect of your kaizen software solution is that it must be easy to use for EVERYONE - which means showing different information to different people to accommodate their different needs. For example, your frontline users need an easy easy way to submit improvements, while more advanced improvement professionals need a way to organize their project workflows. Senior leaders, on the other hand, need custom dashboards that show them relevant KPIs and the associated improvement work.
To suit all of the diverse needs across your organization, you'll need a platform that was built specifically for kaizen that can be customized to fit exactly what you need.
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 people don’t need to be trained on how to get the most out of it. The best solutions let users configure the system to fit with their role and preferences, so people aren't overwhelmed by access to features they don't need. For example, people working on the front lines might just need a simple template for submitting their ideas for improvements and a digital Kanban board, while quality leaders and system admins need training on the kaizen software platform's reporting and project functionality.
Make sure that the platform you need has an online support site for people to reference 24/7, as well as a support staff that can answer more complicated questions. The best platforms will provide custom training that matches your workflows and processes as part of their onboarding process, as well as assign you a dedicated account manager that serves as a point of contact for all future training needs.
Make it Useful
People tend to use things that are useful to them (folks are funny that way). To employees, the introduction of Kaizen software may just feel like one more task to add to the list. Change this thinking by explaining what’s in it for employees. 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.
Kaizen software is a way to make their voices heard, streamline improvement work that they are already doing, learn from past experience, and eliminate complicated email strings. It also amplifies the employee’s accomplishments and gives them a way to document the impact of their improvement work.
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
As they say, that which gets measured improves. If you want employees to really engage with your Kaizen solution, it is important to make doing so part of how they are evaluated. Set goals related to improvement activities and reward those who achieve them.
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.