Implementing a change is difficult in any kind of organization. You must handle employee resistance, convince top management, and satisfy a number of different requirements from multiple departments. In fact, research from McKinsey and Company has shown that approximately 70% of large organizational transformations fail.

However, with effective planning and communication, you can overcome these issues. You simply have to prove the new system or process is worth it. Here are some strategies for gaining support for a new risk management system: 

Be prepared

It’s much easier to convince your organization to implement a new system if you can present statistics, discuss quantitative benefits, and show that you’ve spoken to similar users who have had positive experiences. This will allow you to answer any questions that may arise throughout the process.

Make sure you perform relevant research that directly relates to the issues and needs of your organization. You will need a thorough understanding of where and how the system can help. Research will prove that you have performed necessary due diligence and, once approved, the organization can be confident in the suitability of the system and move forward. 

Calculating the ROI of the system can be a helpful step in gaining support for a RMIS. To do this, consider the amount you currently spend on claims and risk management compared to the amount you will save in these areas once the system is paid for. Check out this article for more information on calculating ROI.

In addition to research, create a structured implementation plan. Describe the project team, including roles and responsibilities, and prepare a timeline and list of benchmarks. This will show hesitant employees exactly what is required of them and when they can expect the new system to be fully in place. 

Communicate more 

It can be tempting to begin change implementation without thoroughly speaking to all relevant parties, particularly if you think there will be resistance. However, this can actually have the opposite effect and hinder the implementation of a new system. In most cases, employees will eventually hear about the change through word-of-mouth and may be confused about why they weren’t consulted or what the impact of the system will be.

Further, if employees see that you haven’t taken the time to educate them on the new system and its purpose, they are less likely to take it seriously. In some organizations, it seems that management decides to implement a change several times a year, focuses on it briefly, and then forgets about it without making any meaningful changes.

The result is that employees may not put in the effort to learn a new process or system, because they assume they can soon go back to their old ways as management is not fully invested. This is why all organization-wide changes should be introduced well in advance and discussed in a variety of ways, such as emails, memos, and face-to-face meetings. Explain to employees how their role will change, and assure them that training will take place for any new responsibilities.

For more ideas on how to effectively communicate change to employees, read this article from Limeade. 

Create urgency for change

When employees are satisfied with current systems and activities, they may not be motivated to implement a new process. If they’re having difficulties or can see the benefits a new system would bring, however, they’ll be more willing to accept and implement a new system.

Employees must feel that a change is not only necessary, but crucial. To create this sense of urgency, discuss common pain points and issues with your team members. Then, create a business case to illustrate how a change will solve these problems and introduce other benefits. HBR provides some unique suggestions for creating urgency for change, including being open with troubling data.

Understand and reduce resistance 

Many people don’t like change. This can be especially true in the workplace, where employees become confident in the reliable routines and actions they perform every day.

When there is large organizational change, employees may worry that their role will no longer be necessary or feel confused about their new responsibilities. If you don't give them a chance to speak their mind, they will likely feel that their opinions don’t matter, making the change more difficult.

Even with top management support, a change will not be implemented properly across the organization if a large number of employees refuse to incorporate it into their daily activities. Employee concerns shouldn't be ignored; instead, use them as an opportunity to demonstrate the value and purpose of the change. For example, a risk team used to working within spreadsheets may be intimidated by a new, complex system. In this case, it would be beneficial to explain how a RMIS will actually improve their jobs by streamlining processes. 

Selling a RMIS to multiple departments

Employees in different departments will have different needs for a RMIS and it may benefit them in different ways. Similarly, people respond to different types of persuasion and presentation. As such, key stakeholders should often be approached individually, with an argument tailored to their individual point of view. Having separate discussions can also allow you to understand each employee's needs better, listen to their opinions, and gain valuable insight that can be used for implementation.

For example, you could try the following: 

For high-level executives, consider the strategic goals that your organization is currently trying to meet. Do you need to lower costs and raise profits? Are you aiming to become a safer organization? Whatever the cause, demonstrate how a RMIS can help your organization achieve it. Try to stick to a broad, big-picture discussion. And remember: without support from the top, it’s very difficult to implement any type of change across the organization. 

To gain the approval of your legal or purchasing teams, be able to provide the system provider’s security and privacy information. Speak to current users to ensure that they have not any issues, and be ready to show that the negotiated contract will comply with all of your organization’s requirements. 

IT and risk management teams may be resistant to the change at first, if they have concerns about their jobs being replaced or severely changed. To reduce this uncertainty, explain how the system will actually make their jobs easier. Describe how they will now have more time to focus on value-added activities and won’t have to spend time on repetitive manual tasks.

IT won’t have to perform updates or support for the new system, as this will be provided by the RMIS vendor, while the risk team can shift their focus from data collection and entry to analysis and action. This will likely boost the performance of the departments. 

Gaining support from a variety of people across the organization will smooth widespread implementation, as you will have team members representing your idea and encouraging change in each separate department. If you're having difficulty gaining support from a particular employee, try reading "7 Tips to Transform Difficult Stakeholders Into Project Partners". 

By following the above steps, you can easily navigate through change implementation. If you can effectively  prepare your research, handle resistance, and present your arguments, you will be on your way to achieving the benefits of a new system.

Having trouble building a business case for a RMIS? ClearRisk can help! We can provide references, statistics, and detailed information to show all the benefits a new system can bring to your organization. Start the conversation. 

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