An ounce of input equals a pound of change management.
As a healthcare executive, you have a crucial view of problems that reach out across your entire organization and seep into every department. You bring in the department heads and your operations leadership to define the problem and scope the project. Great! Then you talk to end users for their input on usability and creative ways to solve the problem. Oh yea - Wait, what?
If you're not incorporating end user feedback, you're not alone. End users are rarely involved in problem definition and solution exploration. Often, the first time they hear about a solution is when implementation or training is announced.
Why should you incorporate end users into the process earlier?
Let's think about it - who will use the new software daily? Who best understands the current solution, including its benefits and shortcomings? Who can quickly assess how a new solution will fit in with their workflows so they can get their job done more efficiently?
Could you be missing out on these key user insights during your innovation project discovery?
Ideally, when implementing a new software, leadership gets reporting and operational efficiency. End users (should) get a valuable tool that helps them do their job better. If it's a GREAT product, it should be easy to use, improve their work efficiency, and generally make them happy folks.
The field of user experience is growing rapidly, and for good reason.
User experience, or UX, is the practice of involving users and crafting an experience that is optimal for them, inside or outside the software.
Users are closest to the problem and have a unique perspective on what's currently working, as well as what's not. They have an intimate knowledge of the current workflow and interdependencies you might not be aware of. Your employees are very willing to help. They are experts in your process and your workflows. Not just anywhere, but in your facilities. It's about getting their insight when making changes that affect the problem, not the symptoms. This could lead to new ways of approaching the solution more simply and effectively. And you can tap into this knowledge simply by taking the time to talk to a few of them.
If this sounds time intensive, it's really not. Meaningful insights can be gained from as little as 5 users. There’s a secret: talk in person and in their environment if possible. Online surveys mean well but don't give users the feeling that their opinion really matters. (If you don't believe me, look at voter registration numbers!)
Better user feedback equals better change management. Change is hard. Finding a solution that users like to use and have bought into reduces implementation time. Even if all of the users’ concerns aren't able to be met with the new solution (there may be business requirements that have to be met with an alternate solution), employees will feel heard and that their opinions are considered.
Better solutions make for happier, more productive employees. It can also mean faster adoption through employee champions who helped develop the solution.
Give your employees input and ownership in the processes they touch, and they get better at what they do everyday. Give them an active voice!
What "tricks of the trade" have you deployed to improve change management? Leave a comment below!