Every team has a member who operates the lowest level of enthusiasm possible. Their go-to response to any deviation from the current plan is “I’m fine this way,” even with simple process changes.
Their resistance to change can be a challenge, but they can also be a valuable asset when you decide to enhance your safety program using safety software.
Safety software helps you digitize your safety program and literally put it in the hands of the people who matter most. At Safesite, I help companies do just that, and before I was a member of the Safety Success team, I helped roll out Safesite to my own team as a Safesite customer.
If you’re looking to digitize safety, you’ll need to win over the person on your team who is the most resistant to change. Your least enthusiastic team member could be your safety software champion. Here’s how (and why) to make it happen.
No matter your title, you can’t implement new safety policy changes by yourself.
Software is a policy change; it’s management’s role to show the software value to everyone, not just for the safety manager or the BOD.
Buy-in is a critical part of any update or change. It doesn’t matter how technical the change is: your success lies in how you approach it. In my past role, I realized with my least enthusiastic team member — let’s call him “Dave” — needed to be a part of the solution and see the bigger picture if I wanted to eventually engage the rest of the crew.
In my experience, many people are afraid to use the software for the first time, whether it’s to complete an inspection or log an observation. So once you have your own team’s “Dave” ready to at least give it a try, you’ll be able to get over the hump and start changing mindsets, habits, and views of the ease of safety in their day-to-day lives.
Now that you know why getting your company’s “Dave” on board is important, let’s talk about strategies for getting them to agree to participate in the first place.
How do you approach the team member most likely to tell you to take a flying leap?
A tactic that works well for me has been to say something like this.
“Hey Dave, “I’d like your help and feedback on a new corporate directive.”
A request like this puts their experience at the center of the conversation. It makes them feel like they’re an active part of the bigger picture, which is vital.
You’d be surprised at how quickly making this request can work. The most common response? “How can I help?”
The second step in turning “Dave” into a safety software champion is to help them understand the software and the processes. You can show them yourself, but you’ll also find it helpful to introduce them to the solution provider through webinars and training.
Your first task here is to lay out the expectations. Don’t leave them guessing about what the software will require from them. Tell your soon-to-be champion what they have to do so they don’t immediately veer towards something they think they have to do.
Next, you’ll review the actual task. Whether it’s an inspection, a checklist, or something else, get their impressions on it so everyone is on the same page.
Once you tackle the template, you can approach the software. Walk them through the software feature they’ll use most. Show them what’s required, what isn’t, and any shortcuts available.
With expectations defined and a decent sense of what to do, send your incoming champion out into the field to use the software.
But don’t just let them loose and call it good. Keep up those support processes. Provide more info and pull in third parties where necessary. Show them where the software’s helpdesk is; encourage them to problem-solve or get in touch directly. Better yet, encourage them to ‘break’ the software or figure out issues on their own and report back on what worked and what didn’t.
Taking on feedback is one of the most crucial parts of turning a nay-sayer into a safety software champion. Because even if they aren’t enthusiastic and they still have doubts (which is why you picked them), they’re going to generate more pushback and feedback, which you can use to problem-solve before rolling it out to the wider organization.
What’s more, the feedback phase drives home the point that your champion is shaping things. They don’t just want to be a guinea pig; they want to be heard and to impact the work they're doing.
So make sure they see their feedback addressed or even implemented. It will go a long way towards cementing buy-in on this project and the next.
Change is hard, and no one knows that better than the team member most likely to drag their feet, whether it’s a change from chicken to turkey in their sandwich or a complete rewrite of a standard operating procedure.
But that’s why your least enthusiastic team member should be one of the first people you approach when you want to roll out safety software. I’ve learned if you can win them over or at least get them involved, you’ll get better feedback on the process, win social proof, and probably learn a thing or two about managing personalities in the process.
Pam Guttman is currently a Safety Success Specialist with Safesite, an award-winning safety management SaaS built to level up productivity, efficiency, and accuracy. Before joining Safesite, she was Director of Business Operations for a third-party occupational safety and quality consulting company. In this role, she evaluated a variety of different safety apps and chose Safesite due to its ease of use, comprehensive functionality, and the ability to involve clients in real-time, day-to-day safety operations while on their job sites.