JFK once said that “change is the law of life,” and “those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
Tell that to teams of people who grow quite used to one way of doing things at work… who are so accustomed to those systems that it’s become an ingrained routine... who are told that all of that is about to change.
That law of life can be a bit tricky, particularly when an organization is attempting to modernize its technology platform. In any home care agency you might run into a panorama of reactions: enthusiastic innovators eager to test drive the new tools; toe-in-the-water employees who are open-minded but need more info first; holdouts until the software is now used by most of the office; and those who are the last people standing, the most uncomfortable about having to adjust.
Effective organizational change must account for all of these employees, because the positive effects of new technology range only as far as the people who use them to their full potential. Home care leaders must clearly map out the path ahead, must keep employees continually updated, must model the change from the top down, and must get all teams actively involved in the process.
At AlayaCare, we’ve helped dozens of home care agencies around the world roll out new software platforms. There are always bumps in the road, no matter how often the word “seamless” might get bandied about by technology companies. But we’ve learned some key tips along the way to help ensure you put the best foot forward with new technology, and experience as few of those bumps as possible – by predicting them from the start.
Organizational change: 5 steps to introducing new tech
A natural reluctance to embrace new technology is often acutely felt in home care, where the pressure to be precise and stay on top of documentation while being hands-on with clients can leave little bandwidth to learn new processes or tools. Still, there can be an efficient path forward towards agency change. With that, here are five steps to help you get there.
1. Uncover Your Pain Points
Before embarking on change management, it’s important to identify both broad and specific pain points at all levels of the organization stretching from admin staff to front-line caregivers. For this, seek feedback through anonymous surveys and even online brainstorming sessions with specific groups. Ensure everyone has enough time to respond and provide feedback, and don’t move forward with any software decisions until you feel like you have a comprehensive account of all the pain points. That way, you can make the most accurate decisions in supporting employees equally – and ensure they feel heard.
2. Secure a Buy-in
It’s natural for staff to question the rationale for change at any time, let alone in the current moment. So move from step one to step two, where you back-up your rationale for new technology with data points to showcase what the possibilities can be. Quick wins include reducing the volume of paperwork and unlocking the ability for caregivers to schedule their own shifts. The greater good should also not be overlooked: a robust software solution can be used to flag important client issues, predict staffing needs, and much more. All of this ladders to quicker work, better business decisions, and ultimately, better outcomes for clients. It’s vital to clearly articulate these benefits to all teams.
3. Identify Your Specific Goals and Needs
So, everyone’s on board, now what? It’s time to set some quantifiable goals and needs. To do this, we recommend following the SMART process: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound. This process will help ensure everyone stays focused and makes efficient and effective decisions. By working together, everyone can align on what new functions you require, the clinical decision support and reporting capabilities needed, and the regulations that must be met.
4. Co-create a Success Plan With Your Tech Provider
So the above steps are tethered to the all-important need to co-create a plan with your employees. There is a third party to bring closely into the fold as well: your tech provider. At AlayaCare we like to use the term “partner” instead of “vendor” because, frankly, providers should be a true partner to support an effective rollout. With your provider and with staff, it’s important to design a collaborative plan to really dig into the best way to optimize your business processes, and jointly determine how to achieve your identified goals and priorities. This can include greater efficiency, cost savings, ease-of-use and more. Your chosen tech partner should provide personalized customer support teams that can help with data migration, implementation and employee support – no matter the scope or complexity of your teams.
5. Empower Employees To Utilize the New Technology
There’s no point in rolling out a new home care software system if no one is prepared to use it. Don’t hand over new technology to your employees cold, because months of efficiency and gains could be missed. A successful implementation means empowering all staff to be able to use key features right out of the gate. Your technology partner can help ensure that you have the right resources in place, with clearly defined roles, responsibilities and required changes in workflow and processes.
Embrace future now through a custom digital transformation
One only has to look at the future that’s now being realized by clients like Acclaim Health, who in 2015 deployed the full AlayaCare suite, including clinical documentation, back office, and the care worker mobile application across its PSW division. Fast forward to now, and Acclaim has realized vast efficiencies, including 90 percent paper reduction, 100 percent uptake by PSWs with mobile in just three days, and 100 percent reduction in schedule distribution.
Digital transformation is still a relatively new concept – and, as such, it can feel just as daunting for employees to use as it is for leaders to implement. But with a collaborative approach and the right support in place, everyone will reap the rewards, which are evolving each passing quarter.