How to Get Staff Buy-in on a New Student Information System

June 13, 2017

Getting Staff Buy-in

Every leader dreams of having a new technology system implementation go smoothly. But sometimes the process stalls or fails even though proper steps are followed in a timely matter.

Why? Let’s start by reviewing the typical approach taken by a Chief Technology Officer when purchasing a new Student Information System (SIS):

  1. Selects the software.
  2. Determines the cost of the product.
  3. Locates the budget to finance the solution.
  4. Purchases the product.
  5. Implements the product.

Sounds normal, right? Not only does following a normal process mean average results, but getting high staff buy-in for your new technology comes down to one often overlooked secret—getting your staff personally invested.

Getting high staff buy-in starts with forming a Change Management Committee. Once you have your committee, the group must figure out which of the district’s human resources will be affected by the change and how and when these employees will be impacted.

Next, it is essential that the CMC determine how people in each role will benefit personally from the change.

This directive may have some scratching their heads, but research has shown that for a change to be successful (particularly in the case of technology staff implementing a difficult or complex change), stakeholders need to know how the change will benefit them in their job. Leading the CMC in their examination of all roles to determine the degree to which the change will allow people to be more effective, efficient, and ultimately, better at their jobs.

CTOs should also examine each level of the CMC team to determine the impact and benefits brought about by the proposed change. It’s essential to communicate these benefits early and often during the change process to maximize loyalty and support.

Marshaling Resources Needed for the Change

After figuring out how the change impacts the all the staff in the district, the CTO should determine the financial resources needed to manage the change successfully.

In order for the process to go smoothly, each CMC member should be prepared to explain the source of revenue for the change and where the change appears in the budget (or multiple budgets).

Each member should also be able to articulate the detailed payment information included in the purchase contract. The financial plan for the change should be shared with the school board, so they are aware of the coming change and understand how it will be financed. This is critical information for skeptical constituents.

Finally, the CMC should map out the high-level steps for the change. This project management plan should include a timeline with completion windows for key aspects of the change. The CTO and the technology team should have the most input on the content of the map, as their expertise and experience are required to ensure a successful change.

Want to keep reading? Get additional tips for selecting K12 ed-tech software along with things to avoid! Download the eBook here.

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