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Alexa Sussman

Management

Five Tips: Promoting User Adoption for an Automated Quality Tool

You can’t just throw a new tool at your team

Published: Monday, May 1, 2017 - 12:02

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There’s an old saying that change is never easy. People tend to prefer what is familiar and resist something new because it may be uncomfortable or confusing.

The saying holds true for quality management. Some people would rather stick with their current processes—emails, spreadsheets, and other offline systems—even if they are inefficient or outdated. Generational, educational, and technological differences may make it difficult for an organization to sync up on the best way to revamp a quality system.

Getting your entire team on board with an upgrade to an automated quality system can seem a daunting task. But taking the time and effort to educate your team and get them on the same page can save resources in the future, through streamlined business processes and a reduction in adverse events.

We know this is easier said than done, so we put together some tips and best practices for getting the buy-in you need for a smooth and successful transition to an automated quality tool.

1. Choose a simple solution

If the solution you choose to replace your current system seems complicated or difficult to use, your team will be less likely to want to use it. The easiest way to prove that the solution you want to implement is simple is to get a product that speaks for itself. A product or tool that is easy to use yet still effective will be more enthusiastically adopted by your team. Find a solution that is user-friendly yet allows for the right amount of customization to meet the needs of your individual business.

Besides, the more difficult a product is to learn to use, the longer it will take to figure out exactly where its value lies. Conversely, the quicker you can prove that your selected tool has value, the quicker your team buys in to the switch and the investment can become successful. A quick demo of the product showing how you apply its features to your organization’s situations and challenges may be all you need to convince your team that it’s the right tool.

2. Define cost barriers (and how to overcome them)

Getting team members to see the value in a product is especially important for organizations that are just beginning to grow or have a lower budget for quality management. The potential costs of quality management are very real barriers for many organizations, which is why not as many are investing in quality technology as they should be. Therefore, you need to be realistic when assessing the possible implications of the investment to your organization. Create a plan that acknowledges cost barriers and how you can overcome them by means of streamlining processes. This instills confidence that the investment in quality is worthwhile in the long run.

To bypass that challenge altogether, look for a system that offers low and no-cost product options. This option is great for new and small organizations because it can be a no-risk option. It also allows you to upgrade as your organization grows and your needs and budget change.

3. Demonstrate value

To fully demonstrate the value of a quality tool to your team, you need to clearly identify what the system is and what it solves. For example, corrective action is a necessary and critical component of a quality system. Having a tool to quickly investigate and resolve quality events and corrective actions in a centralized place, while permanently improving processes, is extremely valuable.

Automating that system adds even more value to the product. You have visibility into all internal and external quality activity since it’s all shown in one central place. Furthermore, centralizing collaboration lets you act immediately and keeps quality management top of mind in busy organizations.

To have these features at no cost brings value with no investment. Presenting that to your team leaves very little chance of negative feedback and resistance.

4. Start at the top

Getting top-level buy-in is a good way to validate the value of a product. Because high-level, executive stakeholders are viewed as decision makers and tend to represent the mindset of the company, having their support is a good way to engage all team members with the transition.

The goal of top-level team members is to drive overall business improvements, which leads to organizational change. Allowing executives to drive the transition to a new product means it can be presented as a companywide initiative aimed at organizational goals. It shows its value for each department, regardless of its direct interaction with quality management-specific tasks. The result is a win for the company and your team.

5. Build a culture of quality

Some people are less likely to be engaged with adopting a quality tool because they don’t work directly with your quality management efforts. But if people feel like quality is everyone’s responsibility, they will be engaged in the effort to improve it through an automated tool. A companywide culture of quality extends beyond just the specific quality personnel, assimilating with all other areas of business.

You can build a culture of quality with just a few small tweaks to your approach when presenting the new tool. First and foremost, use plain language, especially when talking to non-quality professionals. Not only would they not understand the quality jargon, it might make them feel like the system is of no use or benefit to them, so they would be less willing to participate, or do so hesitantly.

Instead, use plain language to present the quality tool in terms that are applicable to everyone’s job title, responsibilities, and experience. When you present the tool as an improvement to all business processes and not just quality-specific tasks, the buy-in will be greater. That is, after all, what a good tool should be—something that streamlines all processes, improves collaboration, and increases efficiency.

Easing the transition

Efforts to increase buy-in should not stop once the tool has been implemented. Once the implementation process begins, there is a major responsibility to keep engagement and buy-in high. First, it is important to be prepared with training plans. Proper training eases the transition by helping your team get familiar with the tool without overwhelming them or leaving them to figure it out on their own. Your training plans should be aimed at three main goals: introduce new behaviors, assist in the behavioral transition, and reward changed behaviors or express the benefits of the changed behavior.

But it’s important to have a post-rollout training plan as well. Otherwise, users may slip back into old habits or not take advantage of all the key features a tool may have to offer. It is especially important to have continuous training when using automated solutions like apps or software because they are almost constantly updating.

Automation: an overall business improvement

The best way to get your organization on board with adopting a new quality system is to present it for what it really is—a step toward overall business improvement. Automating removes the factor of human error from your processes, making them more accurate and efficient. Also, communication now becomes instant, so important systems like corrective actions and supplier communication are quicker and more secure. This reduces the overall risk of adverse events while promoting the culture of quality throughout all areas of your organization.

To summarize:
• Choose a system that is simple enough to learn quickly and painlessly.
• Have a plan for addressing organizational concerns, including cost barriers.
• Demonstrate the value of your desired tool by showing what problems it could solve and what value it can add to your organization.
• Leverage the influence of executive stakeholders to promote buy-in.
• Build a business culture that emphasizes quality no matter the specific job.
• Find a tool that provides overall business improvement.

Discuss

About The Author

Alexa Sussman’s picture

Alexa Sussman

Alexa Sussman is a writer for Traqpath, a free event tracking and corrective action solution that is powered by EtQ, a leading enterprise quality and compliance management software provider.