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  • Bill Harrison

Knowing the Best Time to Deploy Membership Management Software for Unions

Working with EMMA, I frequently find myself wearing multiple hats and engaging with customers at various points throughout the sales cycle:

  • Working with our pre-sales team to deliver demos

  • Helping to gather customer requirements

  • Working with admins during implementation

  • Following up with users after their ‘go live’ date to make sure everyone is comfortable using the tool in their day-to-day

In the pre-sales role, I’m often exposed to many of the concerns that locals have when considering making the transition from a paper-based system to a digital solution in EMMA. One concern that comes up in almost every call is around timing. While the decision to switch to EMMA is certainly not one that should be made lightly, searching for the elusive “right time” is akin to kicking the bottle down the road. There may always be a roadblock causing you to think now isn’t the right time. Here’s our recommendations to overcome the common obstacles to moving forward with EMMA and overall any change in your local.

1. Right now isn’t the best time because we’re hiring a new rep/admin

When onboarding new employees into your local, it may seem like a good idea to get them up to speed on your internal processes before introducing any additional complexity. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. One of the best times to introduce change into your organization, whether it be through EMMA or a new payroll solution you’ve been considering, is when you have fresh new faces. Training employees one way and then expecting them to change how they work six months later is not only inefficient, but will lead to some really unhappy faces. We recently interviewed all of our current locals to get a sense of what was working well, where they see room for improvement and their overall satisfaction with the solution. When asked how the reps were coming along with EMMA, one local reported that their best user was an older rep who was new to the union and didn’t know any other process other than EMMA.

2. Right now isn’t the best time because we’re in contract negotiations

Much like the previous objection, the topic of contract negotiations is a concern that gets brought up quite frequently and is honestly a very valid concern. While negotiations often times create a sense of chaos and uncertainty, it shouldn’t dissuade locals from moving forward with EMMA. An advantage to having EMMA in place prior to your negotiations is it allows you to negotiate for terms that will help you better use the application. One local we’ve recently onboarded was glad EMMA was introduced ahead of time because they saw the value in negotiating for digital schedules. Had they waited, it would have been much longer until they were able to import schedules directly into EMMA.

3. Right now isn’t the best time because we’re making a few other internal changes

Change, even if that change happens to be for the better, is never an easy pill to swallow. Management needs to make sure that everyone understands the change, users need to become comfortable with the change and all this needs to happen with little to no disruption to productivity. Because of the inevitable chaos of change, locals often think that it’s beneficial to wait until the seas have calmed before pulling the trigger on EMMA. Having worked as a change management consultant for several years, I know first hand that this is also not the best approach. Overcoming change is best done by ripping off the proverbial band-aid. Stacking changes one after another is going to do nothing but increase the length of time before your local can start operating as efficiently as possible.

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