Change often comes from the top down. This is how businesses are designed to function. Leadership or management at one level or another makes a decision and the rest of the organization has to align themselves. From policies and procedures, to infrastructure changes, to new vendors and partners.
Decisions on this level always get made for a reason. Hopefully, it’s a good one. But it’s not always easy for everyone to see or understand those reasons. Which can lead to a lack of buy-in, decreased employee morale and lower productivity.
Pharmacies and organizations decide to adopt new point-of-sale systems or other technology for any number of reasons. Most of the time, we work closely with leadership teams as they evaluate systems and eventually make decisions. Then, as we prepare to take a store live, we work with additional levels of management; perhaps IT, or a project manager. Often, however, the first interaction a pharmacy staff member has with point-of-sale is the day it’s installed. Team members might know that the change is coming, but may not be prepared to fully embrace it.
This article from Forbes gives some helpful tips on helping employees prepare for change. They boil down to a few main areas of focus that will help your pharmacy team find success with whatever change you’re trying to implement.
The why behind any change matters. Not just to you in justifying an expense or investment, but to your team. After all, you’re asking them to invest themselves in learning something new. It will take time, energy, and patience on their part. Share your thinking as clearly as possible. Why did you decide a change was necessary? Why did you make the decision you did? What are the benefits? Is there potential for negative impact? How will the change support the mission and vision of your pharmacy organization? Focus on problems or difficulties that will be solved and find ways to get your team excited for upcoming change.
You should have a transition and training plan in place as soon as possible to help dispel the unease that comes with having to adapt to change. Hopefully, any technology provider you work with can give you a roadmap of what to expect. If your employees know when the change will take place, how and when they’ll be trained, and where they can find resources & help, they’re likely to feel more confident and positive overall. If you can, share advance training or informational materials you receive. Even if only a couple of your team members take the initiative to review training ahead of schedule, they’ll give you an edge when it’s time to put all the moving pieces into place and may be able to help others adapt.
If your change reflects solutions to difficulties or dissatisfaction voiced by your team, you may be a step ahead. They’ll feel heard and be more likely to embrace new systems or processes in response. If your team loves their existing system, or you’re having to compromise for one reason or another, you might have more of an uphill battle. It’s great if you can give your team, or at least key team members, a heads up and chance to make opinions heard during the decision making process. It’s also important to make sure they know where to go with questions or concerns leading up to, during, and following any major change. Don’t leave anyone feeling like they’re holding the bag for a decision they didn’t make or a change they may not necessarily have wanted. You can always designate specific members of your team to be liaisons during and following the training process. They can be a hub for questions and streamline communication within your pharmacy.