How do you get your people to read and follow processes?

I've spent a lot of time and energy creating processes for our business to ensure quality, productivity and consistency across the board. I've also created visual maps for these. In a business like our things change quite often and the processes get updated alongside these changes. Working with a team of creatives the challenge I find is getting people to read and follow these processes consistently. Often someone may have read the process the first time and believes they are following it but haven't read the updated version even though they have been notified about the update verbally and via emails. I've asked for feedback to see if changing the format and/or layout will make them easier to follow or more 'attractive' but everyone seems happy with them. Have you faced this challenge and if so what did you find helped to solve this?

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8

Having been in a similar situation, and not having success with third party HR firms, I did a lot of reading on change management and was able to effect changes in my use cases.

A first step for me was taking audit of employees and understanding (in general) their ways of interpreting information. In a similar case where I was dealing with creatives, I gamified the process changes. I also dripped it to them. What I mean by this is that I had introduce the process changes over a month and a half during short weekly meetings and then reinforcement meetings to ensure the point was being driven home. I also ensured that I had more regular meetings with perceived leaders of the office - not managers, but employees who were well respected. As I had them on board with the new processes, they became ambassadors and helped other employees adjust and adhere to the new processes.

With employees who were having some struggles in adopting the change, I'd sit down with them, one on one, or I'd have one of the ambassadors shadow the employ and actually work through the processes. I found this to be a fair effective way to deal with non-compliance.

In another circumstance (in a non-creative environment), I had setup a quick test and poised it as an internal feedback survey. The quiz was structured to give me feedback on employee's perspective of the current (new) processes. This gave me some visibility on the employees' mindsets and allowed me to pivot our change management approach.

My point here is that it won't be an overnight process and you may need to babysit things a little bit more than you'd like. Best of luck!

Thanks Kyle. I really like the idea of a test and it's crossed my mind before. You're right about the babysitting. I've found previously that it has taken me up to 6 months to fully integrate a new software or way of doings things before. How did you structure your test questions?

I structured my questions by reverse engineering what I what wanted to know.

For example, in one case I was wanting to promote a do-what-it-takes mentality. So a sample question would have outlined an oddball scenario (which would relate to work in a tangent way) but would tell me where the employee's mindset was on the topic. -- i hope this makes sense.

Another example was when we were changing a client engagement process. We would act out a mock scenario and have a quiz for employees to identify what things were done in accordance with the new processes and what weren't. The questions weren't asked so bluntly, but I'm sure you get the jest of this.

I found that involving the employees through this type of experiential training really resonated with a higher retention level. The one thing I'd do differently in this case would've been to break out in smaller groups and then had more group discussion on their answers. In this case, we rolled out the change over a 2-3 month period (without any error), however, I think I could've done it within half the time.

So in either case, my process was to start with my end goal (what do I want to know/achieve). Write that down. And then brainstorm creative ways to probe this from employees. Sometimes I'll sit down and draw a blank..this is where a good bottle of wine can help :). But I've found that once I've forced myself to do this a few times, it starts becoming second nature and you'll build up a bank of reusable questions.

awesome thanks for your advice kyle

6

Having people Check-Off and Sign-off that they have done the procedures as documented often helps. Have them sign-off on the procedures, each time they change assure that they have read and understood the changes.
Holding them accountable for their sign-off often helps.
Having the adherence to the procedures be part of their performance reviews often helps.
In short - Having them sign-off on the procedural changes and placing some consequences to not staying on-top of the procedure changes - not only helps but provides you documentation that they were aware of the procedural changes and therefore, deliberately choose not to abide by them.

6

If you have a small group of people, how about a daily "stand-up" meeting for about 15 minutes to discuss where everyone stands and then also cover any changes they might not have had the time to read. If the daily is too much you can adjust as needed.
If dealing with a larger group have the meeting with the supervisors who will then be responsible of disseminating the information to their people.

5

You hit on the key word in your question...update. Every time your procedures are "updated" this is a change and goes through the same change management steps that any change requires. Do these changes happen frequently? How prepared are the staff for the change? How are the changes communicated and reinforced. I know it can feel like minutia but managing change is one of the greatest challenges businesses deal with internally.

4

For any new process you introduce you need to be sure people see the benefit to them or the organization as whole. If it is a personal benefit they can see ,that makes adoption easier. When you think about process change you should start by engaging those it will impact. No amount of documentation or tools will ensure success unless the people that are being asked to use it see the benefit for them and/or the organization. Big change requires top down support so getting senior leaders to embrace the change is critical. Once developed, train, train, train on how to apply it to the business. You almost need think of "selling" the idea as a way of getting adoption. Hope this helps.

3

Lynn,
You will need someone that supervises work checking both quality of results as well as conformance to process, e,g., were design documents produced and signed off, etc. IMHO the only way to effect change is to apply "gentle, relentless pressure".
You will find more tactical information regarding delegation on my blog:
www.growthroughpeople.com/#!Delegation-Science-not-Art/c15i6/754F3F03-7B92-4F7C-93D7-8D75A27B4A9D
Good Luck!
Doug

3

Hi Lynn,

It's very simple, broadcast it on your local network or on their desktops/laptops.

Tell them there will be a questionnaire at the end of the day.

In questionnaire give rewards and little punishments(bring cookies next day).

I achieved success in this process upto 78%, when I was implementing Human Resource Management Solution.

Hope this is helpful.

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