Get ready to engage

September 21, 2018
Posted in Resources
September 21, 2018 GraemeH

The advantages of Enterprise workforce management software over tactical software solutions within the security sector are numerous.

Enterprise solutions offer more automation, more control, and increased awareness of your operation both internally and externally. 

Classically, operators have ended up with a variety of systems to address tactical issues. A HR system, a Time & attendance system, a Holiday system, an Intranet for employees, a Learning Management System, Patrolling systems, Auditing systems, Payroll systems, Billing systems… you get the picture. This comes about from businesses starting small and growing in to an enterprise. This success creates a beast that always needs feeding and can often leave this budding business without an opportunity to stand back from it all, with space to evaluate their current needs as well as plan for the future. Instead, ‘fixes’ and ‘workarounds’ and manual processes fill the gaps, often creating jobs for back office teams who just get busier and more weighed down with administration.

Sometimes well intended, contract specific solutions creep in too. Service providers end up with a proliferation of nuanced software packages all of which force the business to operate slightly differently contract by contract, and without a strategic option for the organisation. At the same time, ever-changing and increasing demand from Customers, coupled with constant drive for innovation, means that those providing the service on the ground are becoming increasingly pushed and pressured to be more accountable and more transparent in the delivery of the services.

Implementing new software or altering working processes to incorporate system change, is difficult to manage. That change comes with additional cost. It also comes with additional risk, particularly around the chances of the project failing as a result of your workforce. This risk of a workforce not adopting or adapting to new technology properly is usually underestimated.

Failure to adopt new ways of working very often stems from a lack of understanding within the employee base as to why things are changing. This is sometimes attributed to your employee’s limited knowledge and experience around technology. Concerns around what it is or how to use it can produce feelings of anxiety and fear, which all work to promote a lack of enthusiasm for change.  When implementing change thoroughout an organisation, not engaging with your employees effectively will often lead directly to a prolonged or failed attempt to innovate working practices.

For management teams considering the implementation of new technology, the ‘top down push’ strategy may seem like the easiest route to take – but the risks to the overall project are far greater. If combined with a ‘bottom up acceptance’ whilst it may take longer, involve more resources and be a greater challenge; ultimately it will be more successful.

Graeme Hughes, Managing Director of Innovise Software, believes that the key to successfully introducing change to an organisation leverages a clear strategy that holds the workforce engagement at its heart.

“Listening to and engaging employees at the start of the process, then genuinely training and working with the workforce to ensure that they understand the reasons behind the change, will help them appreciate the benefits both for themselves and the organisation that a new method of working or tool provides. This helps lay the foundations for a smoother transition.”

“When introducing new technology in the workplace, it must be taken one step at a time. Moreover, it should be inclusive. This may seem like common sense but as so often the security or janitorial operative sees a mobile device with an App on it they must now use, and their immediate response is defensive. Some may be cynical, some may lack confidence, and some will be happy to embrace – but why risk a failed implementation by simply not broadcasting the benefits then supporting the initiative with training. This will be the most critical part of the project as its then all about adoption.”

Engaging early with the workforce will guarantee that the users are involved and on-board with the journey to change, before any new technology even enters the building.  Including teams in the choices around devices to use out in the field (for example) will not only ensure that your organisation selects a device that this fit for purpose, but it will be a tool that your guards have chosen as the most comfortable to work with.

Setting up a forum where users can ask questions and put across their concerns to the management team will continue a good early engagement strategy. Many users will have very genuine concerns some of which they may be embarrassed about. Assume little and start simple.

To successfully engage fully with your workforce, you need to allow time and you need to think about your communication strategy.  Ensuring that employees understand the advantages that the technology will bring to their working day and the benefits it will provide to the success of the business, will create a win-win mentality. This is essential to the success of the project and to the business more widely.

Effective workforce engagement is a vital element of any ambitious business. Having a workforce that appreciates the need to introduce change and that are involved in the rolling-out of the change, will ensure that change really does happen. Upgrading traditional working practices for a growing security business, is a big but necessary step. “Having the opportunity to view up-to-date management information is a vital requirement of the modern Security operation. Achieving the high level of automation, brings rapid data accuracy which in turn is required for data driven decisions.” 

“Any good workforce management software will be scalable from a small business with several employees through to a large multinational organisation with staff dispersed throughout the world. It will have rich functionality, so you can manage customers and employee lifecycles from cradle to grave and will offer you logical touch points with other ‘best in class technologies’ you might also look to procure by as part of your software portfolio. It will certainly help you consolidate your supply chain and then end-of-life other applications. It will replace the manual steps, workarounds and spreadsheets you use between systems, or as systems themselves (never a great idea so best to end it as soon as you can). It will help you make genuine efficiencies and gains that transform the bottom line. But keep in mind you need employee engagement with this. That is if it is to materialise as a fitter, faster, more successful business for you.” Concludes Graeme

 

Want to see how Innovise can help you innovate effectively? Why not call us now to arrange a free initial consultation.