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Change Management: Tips For Rolling Out New Technology in Senior Care

change-management-rolling-out-new-technology-senior-care.jpgChange is hard. We’ve all experienced the pain associated with change at some point. Perhaps it’s a new exercise program. For a couple of weeks, your body will protest the move from sedentary to active with sore muscles and fatigue. After a while it gets a little easier, and then eventually it’s part of your routine. You may even begin to enjoy it, and as your body adapts you’ll most likely lose weight and start to look and feel better. The reward makes the pain endured worth it. But you have to get over the hump.

Change at work can be difficult as well. In the current environment, the way business is done continues to evolve rapidly. Adaptability is a necessary skill that not all of your employees will possess. Adopting new technology can be disruptive and difficult for those who prefer to keep the status quo. If your senior care community needs to make a big change, how will you convince your employees that it will be worth the pain they might feel in the beginning?

As I’ve worked with our customers through their implementation of OnShift I have seen some buildings instantly embrace the technology, and they quickly see excellent results. Others take a little longer to adapt, and as a result it takes longer for them to realize the benefits. The difference between the two groups, I believe, is their approach to change management. If you are planning to roll out new technology, here are few ways to make sure you and your employees will be successful.

  • Communicate and educate—When changes are coming for your employees, I don’t think it’s possible to over-communicate. Talk to them about the timeline for implementation and training, make sure they know how it will affect their daily jobs, and listen to concerns they may have. For the employees that will be most heavily impacted by the change, involve them in planning meetings and ask for their feedback throughout the process.
  • Effective training and implementation—Part of a successful software roll-out depends heavily on the initial training and implementation offered by your vendor. When selecting a vendor, make sure you understand what their implementation process entails, and what kind of training they will offer. Every employee needs to know how to use the system and how it relates to their job duties. After the initial training, you should have a plan for training newly hired employees on the system. If your community experiences a lot of turnover, training new employees will be crucial to the continued success of technology adoption.
  • Offer support—Just like it’s difficult to maintain a new exercise program without support from those around you, the same is true when changes are made at your community. If you implement a new scheduling platform, your scheduler will need support from management to ensure all employees are utilizing the new system. Staff will need support and encouragement as well. The transition will be easier if everyone is striving toward the same goal.
  • Measure milestones—In order to know if your change is making a positive impact on your community, you need to have measurable outcomes that you can track. For instance, when communities begin using OnShift, they are able to measure outcomes like overtime percentage, call-offs and punch variance. Providers can set goals and track their progress against them.
  • Reward success—Once you have measurable goals, recognize your successes along the way. Recognize employees that are embracing the change and publicly celebrate the wins you have along the way. It will help reinforce the importance of adopting the new software for those that may be hanging on the old way of doing things.
  • Stick with it—It might be the hardest part of making a big change—staying the course. Seeing the big picture can help employees to overcome the bumps in the road that will come up. Expect that some employees will require reinforcement and have a plan in place to get everyone back on track. When implementing new software, pick a vendor that will continue to support you and your team even after the initial implementation and training.

New technology is a big investment. If you are not managing the change proactively you could lose out on the potential benefits you expected to see. Take time to understand users’ resistance, offer additional training where needed, and select a vendor that will be a partner and invest in the success of your community.

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