Keys to a Successful Roll-Out of New Procedures
Change can be challenging, particularly when you are establishing new procedures for your business. Even though these procedures are based on sound reasoning on your part, your employees still may question why they have to change the way they do certain things. Involving the employees in the process of rolling out the new procedures is essential to a successful implementation.
Communicate not only the fact that you are introducing a new procedure, but also the reasons behind it. Engage your employees in the process by informing them well in advance of the implementation of the new procedure and continuing the communication throughout the roll-out. Discuss the benefits of the new procedure to them and to the company's success overall. Encourage your employees' feedback. Communication with stakeholders outside your company that may be affected also should begin before you put the new procedure in place to prepare them for the upcoming changes.
Prepare a schedule that details the steps in the roll-out, and include it in your communications. Set roll-out milestones, including checkpoint dates for assessing the effectiveness of the new procedure, to help reassure your staff that much planning has been involved in the procedure development process. Provide the date on which the new procedure will become effective. If necessary, establish a schedule for the phase-out of the old procedure. For example, if your new system establishes a longer turnaround time for the payment of invoices, you might decide to grandfather previously submitted invoices so they are paid under the old procedures.
During the roll-out of the new procedure, take steps to determine whether the procedure is working effectively and whether your staff has been successful in implementing the change. Meet with your staff to discuss the progress of the new procedure roll-out. Ask specific questions to solicit employees' input as to both the positive and negative aspects of the new procedure, and encourage their honest feedback. This will help you determine if you need to make changes to improve the effectiveness of the new procedure. Meeting with the staff also will keep them involved in the process throughout the roll-out.
Once your new procedure has been firmly established, follow up with the key stakeholders affected by the change and express your appreciation for their participation in the roll-out. Also, solicit their input. For example, ask clients whether the new system has improved the way you do business with them. Ask your staff whether the new procedure has improved their job efficiency. Gather the information to be prepared for any future changes you may need to make to the way your company conducts business.