When organizations implement a new WFM process or solution, too often user adoption is viewed as an end game task. The process of change, however, happens right at the start, touching all levels of the organization, and should be a forethought rather than a late addition to the planning process.
Change management is typically only associated with ensuring those in the field adopt a solution, but it actually starts at the corporate level – think about all the processes and departments that corporate owns and how labor will be impacted, from receiving a truck, to merchandising to customer service and beyond. For WFM implementation success you need a sustainable user adoption plan that includes all areas of the organization, but should begin at the corporate level.
What Effective Corporate Enablement Looks Like
Have a Clear Business Owner
For an adoption strategy to work, there needs to be a clear business owner whose mission is to build and execute it, while ensuring the delivery of increased business value to the company. The business owner needs to do the hard work of determining what an adoption strategy should look like and define who needs to be a partner in the journey. Ownership will unlock business value faster and ensure alignment throughout the organization by having this role in place.
It’s also important to understand who the different business partners are within the organization, such as merchandising, human resources, legal, logistics and loss prevention. WFM impacts more than the end user, it determines how labor is allocated, how stores are staffed to complete the various tasks needed on a daily/weekly basis and ultimately how the entire organization is paid. With that in mind, business partners need to be part of the adoption strategy to further ensure organizational alignment.
Involve Field End Users in the Project From the Outset
An effective adoption strategy should include the field end users. This will ensure that what is being implemented is going to enhance their experience and allow them to focus on providing the right level of customer service.
The first step in the adoption strategy process is to make sure you have a clear understanding of what they do today. The WFM solution that is being implemented has to meet the requirements of several different business partners and values. As part of the core project team, having a field level voice throughout the project immediately creates excitement and provides champions of the change.
The Importance of Executive Buy-In
When a company undertakes the purchase of a WFM solution, it does so with the belief that the solution will provide a certain value to the business. Clear communication of that business value and what success looks like from an executive perspective is important and a guiding principle of any WFM project. Executives have the influence to make the project succeed by being able to remove obstacles and address difficult decisions. They also have the ability to cause the opposite effect. Ensuring executives are part of the core team helps to keep the communication at the right level throughout the organization.
Having a true product owner within the organization is critical to the program’s success. This is all too often a forgotten role, or is scattered across various individuals in IT, Operations, or Payroll. The product owner acts as a gatekeeper who will manage all the processes, configuration and integration of the WFM solution. You must have this role in place at project kick-off. The individual should be fully trained on the solution, understand all the desired outcomes, and appreciate the business value expected from the WFM solution. This role will remain in place throughout the life cycle of the WFM project.
Implementation is a Continual Process
The implementation of a WFM solution is not a “set it and forget it” process. It must evolve as your organization evolves and as new technologies and processes come into place. WFM solutions and processes have to be continually revisited. Enabling the organization to understand how to engage and adopt the WFM plan as a company culture is key. If you can manage to do all of the above successfully, you are going to have high user adoption rates in your WFM implementation, and see the right return on your investment.
The Corporate Plan: Right People, Right Place, Right Time
Questions to Ask
As you embark on your corporate enablement planning journey make sure to ask yourself the following questions:
- Where are you within the WFM life cycle and how are you going to support your journey, both internally and with outside assistance?
- What are the short and long-term goals of the project overall?
- How are you going to support this solution going forward once the initial implementation is complete?
- Thinking about how you’re structured today, what silos do you have in your business? Start to break those down by having these conversations early.
- What are the pain points within your organization regarding your current tools and processes?
- And finally – where do you start and how do you figure out what you don’t know yet? The answer: look for the right experts to help guide you down this road.