Over the years, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly of post go-live WFM implementations. When I engage in an executive business review months after the WFM project is complete, it is not unusual to find adoption rates from end users well below 30 percent – this is just not acceptable and turns a good implementation into an ugly one. One of the main reasons for low adoption is the laissez-faire attitude businesses often take toward the new WFM solution and model. When that happens, you need to hit the brakes and ask yourself, “am I an owner of the solution, or am I just maintaining it?”
The answer lies in how well you learn to evolve your WFM model and system over time. It’s almost like owning a new car. Nowadays, with all the computer-driven features your vehicle has, a car is more than just your transportation. Do you know how to maximize your driving experience using all these new features? Maybe you want to customize and take advantage of the entertainment package, the assisted parking feature, the flex fuel system, WiFi, or any of the slew of other options offered. You’re no longer just concerned about the basics of vehicle maintenance, because your car’s computer tells you when that’s needed. Today’s goal is to be able to customize your ownership experience specific to your lifestyle.
The same can be said about your WFM model and system. Once your WFM strategy has been executed – whether by implementing a new tool, a labor model, productivity standards, or new business processes – did you look beyond to the next phase? Adoption and ownership aren’t about the success of a pilot or the wave roll out, but rather about long-standing enablement that leads to adoption rates above 70 percent. With WFM, it’s all about the journey – before, during and after implementation – not just about the destination of go-live. To help steer you along the road, in this blog I’ll discuss three key themes you need to consider that will ensure you take full ownership of your WFM solution.
1. Keep the pace
Your business processes are constantly changing. Systems get better every year. If you’re putting in a new process or new technology of any kind, chances are you’re doing so because you want to make your business more efficient. If you never go back to evaluate how these changes are impacting your labor model, you’re doing a serious disservice to your WFM strategy. It’s important to sit down and map out how your new plan is going to extend outward to other processes you already have in place. Remember, no aspect of business exists in a vacuum. Any new system implemented from the back end will have a ripple effect that will impact the rest of the business. If you add a new element into your business model but never build a labor productivity view around it, understand how labor is affected, and roll out the change with WFM as a part of it then you have completely lost your focus on your WFM model and strategy.
2. Don’t let early adopters take a back seat
Your early adopters are a high performing team that you’ve put a lot time and money into to monitor the ins and outs of how the new solution will work – so why would you say goodbye to them after go-live? You must stay engaged with, and continue to utilize them as they’ll become the champions and advocates of solution adoption going forward, communicating with other staff and encouraging them to use the new features as well as providing feedback for improvements. Using early adopters as part of your project team beyond the pilot go-live will ensure those field resources – the ones at the wheel using this new product – will stay engaged as influencers for business requirements gathering and beyond.
3. Take WFM off cruise control
Making sure to improve on the solution beyond initial go-live and early adoption involves continuously analyzing and refining those processes and technologies. The highest adoption rates I see occur when you don’t take your foot off the gas after pilot, wave roll out, or full go-live, but instead see each year as the potential to make the WFM model and solution better than the year before. This might mean refreshing and adding new productivity standards, upgrading systems, and reviewing business processes and changing them to ensure more efficiencies. Your new system is there to make work better, it’s not just a shortcut for doing things the ways they’ve always been done. In fact, how your employees are using the technology provides a glimpse into how they work. Make sure you’re looking closely at the data you gather, utilize feedback sessions from end users on a quarterly basis and provide them answers to open issues. There are always ways to make the solution better, even if things are running smoothly.
Always look to the road ahead
Ensuring your WFM technologies and processes evolve along with your business strategy will ensure optimal performance of your labor model. Like your vehicle, taking ownership of your WFM solution should mean more than just relying on the nuts and bolts of an implementation – it’s about getting into the driver’s seat, experiencing its performance and taking full advantage of all the functionality. Don’t just maintain – create a unique experience that’s engaging and enabling for your end users.