How to Handle Pushback When Implementing Automated Workflows

Most people long for technologies that would make their day-to-day work faster and easier, yet when someone actually proposes such technologies, they may balk.

Shocked businessman

It’s easier to daydream about change than to actually put it into practice.

New ways of doing things are unsettling, because there are so many questions. Will the system make sense? Will jobs be in jeopardy because of automation? Who will people ask for help?

Pushback is inevitable with new technologies, even if some people really want them. Handling pushback and ensuring that the rollout of new automated workflows is successful requires preparation in advance, and commitment to several “best practices” at all phases of the project. Here’s how to do it.

Talk About It and Gain Buy-In Well Beforehand

The last thing you want to do is to spring automation on a work group after it’s already a done deal. Discuss possible workflow improvements even before you design new workflows. In fact, having workflow end-users involved in design of an automation project is smart for several reasons. For one thing, you’ll gain buy-in more readily. For another, people are likelier to embrace change if they have a hand in designing it. As important as buy-in is at the executive level, it’s even more important among the people who will use new workflows in their daily tasks.

Communicate Frequently on Project Status

As a workflow automation project progresses, err on the side of communicating too much rather than too little. During times of change, no news is bad news, and people can imagine all sorts of scary reasons why they’re not being kept informed. Regular communication about project status, expected roll-out dates, and training for new workflows helps everyone prepare mentally for change. Likewise, if there are setbacks, it’s OK to talk about them too. People feel far less threatened by new technologies when they are kept in the loop about how and when the technologies will be deployed.

Pace Deployment Steadily

Turtle

Deployment of automated workflows should be regarded as a marathon, not a sprint.

A major automation project is not the time to rush things. Naturally, you want to start capturing ROI as soon as possible, but it’s far better to create, test, and deploy automated workflows at a pace that allows for course correction, feedback, and thorough understanding at each step. Having workflow end-users involved at every stage is also helpful. What works in theory may not work well in practice, and your workflow users are the experts you need to tell you what works, what might not work, and why. 

Provide Training Before Automated Workflows Go Live

Deploying new automated workflows without training is unfair to everyone. Workflow users may be bewildered, no matter how self-explanatory new workflows are, and this may mean they don’t give a new workflow the chance it deserves. When planning a workflow automation project, be sure to include sufficient time for training. Ideally, your workflow users should be able to learn how to use the workflows, and then practice them in a safe, simulated environment to get used to them before putting them into service for real.

The workflow software you choose for design, creation, and deployment of automated workflows makes all the difference in your success. PerfectForms is workflow software that requires no programming. Since it uses an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface, workflow end-users can look at workflow designs and offer their feedback. In fact, PerfectForms was designed so that workflow end-users could have influence over workflow design, because they’re the ones who will be using the workflows in their day-to-day work.

Any work project that changes how things are done will meet with some resistance, no matter how ready people are for change. By including affected personnel from the start of the project, communicating regularly with them on status updates, offering training, and pacing deployment sensibly, you can cope effectively with pushback. Better still, you’ll have a team that’s ready to go once the new automated workflows go live.

PerfectForms invites you to watch our demo video. In just a quick minute or two, you can see for yourself how PerfectForms empowers businesses to create automated workflows that are custom tailored to meet unique needs. 

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