Any type of change in the workplace is often viewed by workers and management alike with suspicion, resentment and resistance. People get used to doing things a certain way. So when their normal routine is disrupted – such as the implementation of new time and attendance software – there’s often a push back.
One of the most important roles of any organisation’s Human Resources department is to manage change. Overcoming resistance to new time and attendance systems can be achieved through a three-tiered approach:
- Anticipation of resistance
- Overcoming objections
- Highlighting benefits
By implementing these three steps, it’s possible to measure success based on objective criteria such as usage and accuracy of the recording of data.
Time and Attendance Systems in Ireland
As any effective manager can tell you, the first response of most line-level workers to any type of policy or procedural change – and supervisors and managers, for that matter – is to complain. This is a typical and even natural response.
People instinctively fear anything they don’t immediately understand. This is a natural survival instinct. So when something like a new time and attendance system is introduced, this natural fear typically manifests itself in complaints, resentment, and resistance.
Employees naturally will be reluctant to embrace new time and attendance software when it requires them to do something different than what they have been doing for a long time, sometimes years or even decades.
Rather than punching a time card into a time clock, depending on the time and attendance system workers may be required to swipe an employee badge or even use biometrics such as their fingerprint, retinal scan, or facial recognition in order to punch in and out of work and for breaks.
‘Big Brother Is Watching’
The default complaint that typically follows the introduction of new time and attendance systems –especially those that incorporate biometrics – is that management somehow has some sort of sinister plot to use this data for improper, unethical and even illegal ways. This type of nonsense can sometimes take hold due to ignorance and, in some cases, superstition.
The second most common complaint is that whatever the system is, it’s going to require more work. This complaint is more frequently heard among supervisors and managers, but it sometimes works its way down to the rank and file somehow.
While this type of resistance to new technology may seem ridiculous and archaic to people steeped in digital media, global Internet access, and universal WiFi, it’s actually quite normal and should be anticipated.
In fact, organisations that can anticipate resistance to new time and attendance software – or any type of systemic change for that matter – are better prepared to overcome this resistance and steer the organisation to these more efficient and productive processes.
Many organisations faced with this type of opposition to the introduction of new systems are caught flat footed because they didn’t anticipate resistance. But those that are prepared can build a case to support the new time and attendance software. This is done by anticipating and overcoming any objections before they are raised – in fact, before line level workers, supervisors and managers can even think of them.
Vendors of time and attendance systems are often the best resource for these types of answers because they’ve usually been through this type of situation before. Human resource managers can meet with vendor representatives to discuss the most common objections people within the organisation are likely to have to the new system, then draft responses that overcome these objections effectively.
Having ready-made answers to objections such as privacy rights and more work complaints is only half the battle, however. The other half is selling the system’s benefits to people within the organisation by showing them how it will actually benefit them in both the short term and long term.
Again, the time and attendance system’s vendor should be able to provide you with a comprehensive list of the particular benefits of their system. If they can’t, you probably need to find a different vendor!
When it comes to getting buy-in from people within the organisation, a “top down” approach is usually the best. Convince the top tier of the organisation – the executive level – first and then go right down the line. Executive approval is critical, not only because they are the ones who likely will need to approve the purchase of the new system, but because they are the ones who set the tone for the next level that needs convincing: Directors then managers then supervisors.
Once the management team understands the benefits of the new technology and how it can improve operations, they can do the selling to the line-level workers. Human resources professionals should make sure they are equipped with all the answers they will need to overcome objections and explain how the new system will actually benefit everybody within the organisation.