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  • Elisa Aragon

Helping Your Employees Adapt to Changes in the Workplace

The last decade has seen a technical revolution that’s spurred changes in almost every facet of our lives. Whether these changes have impacted how we do things at home, on the go or even at work, there’s no doubt that technology is here to stay for the long haul. While advances in technology have arguably made our lives easier, change can always be a struggle to overcome. I’ve been working as a software trainer since 2010 and have worked hand in hand with countless customers ranging from independent school districts to local governments and companies in the private sector in an effort to help them transition to newer, more efficient software platforms. Even though these solutions were put in place to help them gain a competitive edge in today’s ever-changing landscape, there always seemed to be an underlying fear of dealing with the inevitable change. EMMA is no different. While the benefits of switching to a digital membership platform is clear, how can you make sure that your organization is getting the most out of it?

What does EMMA mean for your reps?

EMMA undoubtedly changes how your union reps get work done. No longer will they need to drive to the office to drop off stacks of membership applications and grievance forms. Gone are the days of walking into a store trying to chase down recent new hires and your administrators can say goodbye to shuffling through file cabinets trying to find a grievance filed back in 2009. Highlighting the personal benefit that EMMA provides to the individuals who will be working with the tool on a daily basis is one of the easiest ways to get buy in and ensure that employees will be excited to start using the tool on day 1. This requires a good stream of communication, or more specifically, constant communication. Communication tends to be most successful when you leverage multiple mediums. Don’t expect all your reps to be on top of their emails, so communicate in person, via text messages or even handouts/posters in the breakroom. My rule of thumb has always been that you can never over communicate!

What does EMMA mean for your organization

While highlighting the individual benefits of EMMA is important, equally important is communicating the reasons why your organization stands to benefit from making the change and what this all means to your customers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone onsite to a client location and dealt with people who refused to embrace a given change until I explained all the ways the organization and customers would stand to benefit. People are curious so help them satiate that curiosity and don’t leave them guessing. Explaining the rationale behind making a change not only shows your employees that this wasn’t a rash decision made overnight, but also gives them insight into why the decision was made. Knowing that a tool will help improve relationships with their customers and bring thousands of dollars back to the organization is much more digestible than being forced to use something with no explanation. I’ll repeat myself here since this cannot be stressed enough, you can never over communicate!

Providing a support net for your users

This third point is the most important so I’ve saved it for last. A large reason why people are so afraid to embrace technological change is due to a fear of not being able to keep up. People who’ve worked with pen and paper solutions for 20+ years aren’t going to be too keen on switching to working with an iPad overnight. As leaders of the organization you need to provide a support channel to your users to not only train them on the application but let them know that there will always be a safety net in case they fall. Support can come in a variety of ways whether it be through traditional training methods, walkthrough guides or my favorite, tech savvy users within your organization who can be an expert and mentor to others. Keep in mind that support does not stop a week after you ‘go live’, it’s a constant process that ensures users you have their best interest in mind and are there to help them succeed.

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