Whether you’re implementing new software or reassessing the best way to utilise what you have, it can be a daunting experience—but it shouldn’t be.
Here are 5 surefire ways to ensure successful adoption of careers education software in your school or college.
This is an exciting time as it will enable you and your colleagues to better assist students in making informed decisions during their secondary and post-secondary journey.
However, before you even think about getting your students on board with the software, you need to get buy-in from those who will be advocating for the program: your colleagues and your senior leadership team. You already know there’s pressure to show value and meet those all-important statutory obligations. If staff aren’t engaged and usage is down, it’s going to be difficult for you to make the case for ongoing investment.
Consider the tips below to help you overcome those pain points and ease the implementation and utilisation of the software within your school or college.
1. Advocate the need for change
Communication is key. Start with a high-level conversation. Make it clear that the status quo isn’t working, and that your colleagues and their students have gaps in performance and unachieved goals. After all, the aim is to get your colleagues and SLT bought into the idea, and they’ll soon appreciate the need for efficiency and change.
Identifying a problem isn’t the only way to convince people to make a change. A better way is to highlight the benefits the change will make—such as better compliance and increased efficiencies. This will help your colleagues recognise that the software will save them time and enable them to do their jobs better.
Lastly, be transparent. Acknowledge that introducing (or re-introducing) software will likely include some hiccups. This assures your colleagues and SLT that you’ve considered things from their perspective.
2. Invite feedback from others on the software
Plenty of conversations end with, ‘Any questions?’ Occasionally, that sparks further discussion and other times, a tumbleweed moment. Why? Sometimes it’s said as a rhetorical question, and it feels like questions are not truly wanted or welcomed.
When discussing the software, engage your colleagues and SLT. Ask for feedback, thoughts, concerns and questions in a way that makes it clear that input is appreciated. This may include expressing your own concerns, encouraging group discussions, or even planting a question prior to the discussion. Try to get the discussion rolling and facilitate more input.
In addition to affecting your colleagues, the software will most definitely affect your students. Giving them a heads-up and encouraging them to provide feedback invites them into the process, too. Their buy-in is just as important as it will drive enthusiasm and encourage colleagues to navigate the software.
3. Assemble a steering committee
You know those people who always seem to have the newest technology? Well, early adopters exist in the workplace and can be valuable allies when it comes to implementing your software.
To help introduce the program, organise a group of key leaders and stakeholders as a steering committee. These early adopters can gain competence with the program and serve as champions to help achieve buy-in on a larger scale.
Form cross-functional groups to ensure the greatest influence from the steering committee, so each staff member has a role model who can relate to their challenges and concerns.
The steering committee can also support and serve as go-to people over time.
4. Set realistic measures of success
When the software is introduced, people are bound to be anxious, and some of your colleagues and SLT may very well throw their arms up in frustration. Mitigate the frustration with the recognition that change is a process and a learning curve is to be expected.
When people anticipate overnight success, pressure skyrockets. To ease the anxiety, create realistic benchmarks based on your school or college’s past adjustments to change/new programs based on size, complexity, and other priorities.
For instance, CASCAID Success Managers work with schools and colleges to help establish goals for success. With each customer, the goals are regularly reviewed to ensure things are progressing as planned.
Appreciate that you are all working toward a definable goal and it will help your colleagues and SLT recognise their progress and keep them from dwelling on the ‘what ifs.’
5. Prepare a formal implementation plan
Keep your colleagues and SLT informed of the complete roll-out process. One email is insufficient. To get the true buy-in of the software from your staff, you must ensure their integration beyond one large team meeting.
Create a formal implementation program that details each step along the way to help your colleagues visualise the path, follow the journey, and feel engaged.
The implementation plan can be shared regularly via email and posted on your school or college intranet, so everyone is kept in the loop. The steering committee you’ve assembled can also update their colleagues regarding key milestones and pre-share any literature that might be available to help staff become familiar with the careers education program.
Our CASCAID Success Managers can support you with this process and recommend resources and articles within your careers education software to help orientate educators to the program.
Creating and sharing a formal implementation plan with key goals and milestones not only keeps them in the loop but helps your colleagues and SLT recognise that software implementation is a reality and they are part of the new dynamic.
Change can be scary, but when change is well communicated, fear typically disappears. The change to your school or college careers education software will be widely accepted and even appreciated by an informed team who recognise the need for change.
An implementation plan that validates, incorporates, and regularly shares feedback means your colleagues and SLT won’t be caught off guard. A steering committee of peers that is available for and seeks out colleagues can drum up enthusiasm for the project and erase misconceptions.
In time, your school or college can reach the milestones of success you established when the software was first introduced. That’s when change can be very exciting indeed.