By The Protech Team
Change at your association, particularly when it involves business-critical systems like your association management software (AMS), can be subject to resistance. Staff might wonder why you’re making the change, and some may question their ability to learn a new system on the fly while keeping up with their day jobs.
We’ve covered those typical change management concerns here and here, but there’s more than can be done to make sure that your upcoming AMS implementation is a success. With these three recommendations, you’ll find that changing your AMS doesn’t have to be a painful process.
1 – Explain Why the Project Matters
Early in many of our careers, when key business systems are changed, no one takes the time to explain why. So, if you’re changing your AMS, don’t leave associate-level users of the system wondering why you made the switch.
We’re not talking about a staff-wide email with generic information about the project. Instead, try to answer why the change is going to be important to each individual member of your team. Why? Because transparency fosters user adoption.
If your staff understands how a change to your AMS will impact them personally, they’re far more likely to be receptive to the initial system training. And you’ll need as much buy-in as you can possibly get during the initial training phase.
2 – Don’t Rush the Process
This is perhaps the most important change management lesson for associations changing an AMS. So often, especially with major software projects, there can be a disconnect between the folks who selected the software and those who will be using it. Or, how long implementation and training should take versus how long the management team wants it to take.
Resist the urge to put your team in a training room for an 8-hour education session to cram in as much AMS knowledge as possible in one sitting. In that scenario, users are more likely to get confused when using the system, establishing an underlying frustration early on that may result in long-term distaste for the AMS.
Instead, set your staff up for success by providing more time for training. Break learning sessions up into three-hour training blocks over the course of a few days. Give your team more time to digest the information. Remember, people tend to retain only half of the information they learned within just one hour of their training.
The capabilities of a top-of-the-line AMS are virtually limitless, so you must not rush the onboarding process.
3 – Find Your Objective and Stick to It
As we mentioned, a top-tier AMS can do a lot. Your team won’t be able to learn everything overnight, especially on top of their day job.
One way to avoid ineffective AMS onboarding is to focus training only on need–to-know information. Interesting tips or other tangents may seem helpful in the moment, but they often confuse more than they clarify.
Stick to the objectives you established at the outset and save the helpful suggestions for infographics or other tips sheets for self-guided training at a later date. A quality AMS provider should be able to provide those documents for your team.
Few projects are as intimidating as changing your AMS. But if you don’t have a True Cloud system with regular, free updates, you’re much better off making the change sooner rather than later—or risk losing access to the next generation of member-focused features.
For other best practices to training and onboarding following an AMS change, watch our free webinar, “Onboarding Excellence: How to Help Your Staff Adopt New Software.”