During my course for new managers, we discussed how to train your staff to ensure they were following proper standard operating procedures. Erica shared an issue with her staff. They were not doing a time-saving task a new way, even though she’d demonstrated it several times. She asked me how to train them better.

After determining her training method was sound, I asked, “What is the benefit for the staff to continue the old way.”

“They wouldn’t have to do other tasks they like less since the old way takes more time.”

“So the old way was better for them, even though it isn’t better for the department or for those you serve. What are the consequences to them of continuing to do it the old way?”

“There have been no consequences.”

“Then it’s not a training problem. It’s a management problem.”

If the manager is not holding staff members accountable for performing tasks in a more productive manner, there is no incentive for those who don’t see the new process as a benefit to them. Even when you communicate that the new way is better for the organization and your customers, that is not enough for some who only view the new way as leading to more, less-pleasant work for them.

No matter how well you train people, there have to be incentives to make changes. Some will instantly embrace the new processes. However, if some see these only creating more less-appealing work for them, they will drag their feet. Then you’ve got a performance issue.

You must build in accountability. If someone isn’t adopting a new process, you need to determine if it’s a skill issue or an attitude one. Have them show you they know the new process. If they do it as prescribed, then communicate you expect them to do it this way every time. If you find they don’t, there needs to be consequences. If not, why would they change?

Change is hard for most people, especially if it results in more less-pleasant work for them. You need to understand why someone would not embrace a new method, and build in incentives and ramifications to the process.