Question

How do you engage new employees/team with Karbon?

  • 17 August 2021
  • 8 replies
  • 256 views

Userlevel 1
Badge +1

We have recently put on 2 new staff members and are finding some resistance from one to engage with Karbon processes.  

What are best practices you have found to get a team fully engaged and past the unknown  (or fear of change) management?

-- Fiona


8 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +10

Our early days with Karbon were a struggle with this type of resistance, everyone had their own way of keeping track of there work, with varying degrees of success and little to no visibility but we did have a few who saw the value right away and we leveraged that every chance we could.

If you have a Karbon champion could you buddy them up with the team member who is struggling?  Have them share the ways they are using Karbon, the value they have found in their own day to day, the tips they have to keep their Triage clean and To-do list manageable and the value of setting up dashboards for themselves.

We have our new hires go through Karbon training as part of their onboarding and encourage them to go back to it after a few weeks to pick up any nuggets that may make more sense after working with it for awhile.  We have created our own training material that covers how we use Karbon at our firm, this helps solidify how integral Karbon is to how our firm operates.

Maybe even have your Karbon champion lead an All Team session on Karbon or hold ‘office hours’ once a week or so to answer questions and help team members get set up.

Our teams also use Karbon as the backdrop to their daily huddles (scrum/stand up - whatever you call them) and their Weekly Tactical meetings.  This sets up accountability within each team and gives visibility to how the work is progressing through the system.  

Hope this helps

 

Userlevel 4
Badge +6

We’re still going through this 7 months after implementation. Some staff members like to keep track of their tasks on a piece of paper or in an excel workbook, but that doesn’t let the rest of the team (and their managers) know what they’re completing and when it’s complete. This increases touchpoints between team members that realistically waste everyone's time.

Every week during our team huddle we’ve been telling the team to keep using Karbon. Keep clearing tasks. Keep communicating through there.

We do lunch and learns and occasionally talk through Karbon best practices to ensure it’s an efficient and effective experience for everyone. 

It takes time but you have to keep reiterating it. 

Badge

As the above poster said, keep reiterating over and over again that using Karbon is company policy. Our people also like to keep track of things on paper and in notebooks, but they know that Karbon is ultimately the place that must be updated. One helpful thing my boss says is that “if you were suddenly out sick today, none of us would know the status of what you are working on unless you have updated it in Karbon”. In order for us to serve our clients effectively, we must have a centralized place where our work info is captured and organized.

If you make it a non-negotiable (and don’t let it slide when people don’t use it), it will eventually become part of company culture.

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

We’re in month 8 of Karbon. Educating our employees on Karbon, via training work items or scheduling work sessions, was crucial. In the early stages, we advised employees who were struggling with the program to schedule a meeting with our Karbon champion. 

We also found that having policies/procedures written for how your firm uses Karbon was helpful - and we’re continuing to write these down. (Ex. What do to when a prospective client calls)

The employees who still refused to use it to it’s full advantage became the outlier(s) in the firm. It’s tough to put up an argument when the majority of the firm is using Karbon to it’s potential and 1 or 2 people are not. (Using spreadsheets, sticky notes stuck to the bottom of their monitors, etc.)

The more you train and educate, the better the result. Having everything in one place is a priceless - especially in a remote/virtual workplace.

 

 

Userlevel 3
Badge +2

Engagement with any software is tough! As leaders we have to set the policy, get buy-in, and then continuously nudge people towards aligning with the policy. 

 

Part of getting an engagement is to create an environment where an alternative is no an option. For example, we use to have each person go through their Work view during our weekly staff meetings.  Each staff presents their work by status, work by due date, and work by start date. We ask them to talk about the work they plan to do for the week.

This created an environment where Karbon work assignment status had to be updated either before the meeting or we would painfully watch people do it during the meeting when it was time to present their Karbon.  I won’t lie, this is a painfully boring process to watch and it’s hard to keep going but it sets an expectation that this is the process we will do if Karbon gets out of control. 

I like to remind my team that “managing your work is part of your work.” 

We also use Slack and I noticed that people would take conversations about a work assignment to Slack. This breaks continuity of the communication and spreads it across two platforms. As a matter of policy, I don’t respond to Slack messages about a work assignment. I ask them to put it in Karbon and they can let me know in Slack that there’s something in Karbon. I’m not strict on this rule because there are times when Slack is more fluid with the back and forth conversation. 

Userlevel 2

There are some wonderful suggestions here from our community! Well done!  I’ve helped to implement and increase adoption for two different firms over the last six years and now I have the joy of helping accounting firms implement Karbon as my full time job. I’ve found the following things really help. 

Weekly team meetings where Karbon is the center of attention - Reviewing overdue work items, or specific lines of business (e.g. how are 1040s going, how many month-end close works are left)

Lunch and learns - Some firms have had great success in implementing technology (not just Karbon) with hosting regular meetings to discuss tips, tricks, and trouble spots.  This sort of open dialogue and an environment of “it’s OK to struggle” builds trust and ultimately allows you to get to the root cause of someone’s hesitation.

Custom training videos - Having a champion create bespoke training videos can help bring the context of your unique firm into the picture.  A team member watching videos specific to “the way our firm uses Karbon” can be much more helpful for learning than watching generic training material.

Connecting the dots - some positions in your firm don’t get as much value out of the visibility that Karbon creates, as a leader it’s your privilege to connect the dots from what they do to the greater story of the firm. Here is a mock conversation:  Q: “If I’m a bookkeeper, and I know my clients like the back of my hand… why do I need to check off these tasks?” A: “The actions you take within Karbon directly impacts our leadership decision making ability by seeing how work moves through the system, and ensures we are meeting and exceeding our clients expectations. The visibility we see ultimately allows us to run a more efficient and profitable firm which allows us to take better care of our team”

Mandate the change yet give options - Karbon won’t operate to it’s fullest capability of visibility, efficiency and collaboration if there are team members who refuse to use it.  We’ve had luck in easing certain team members into the change though with meeting them where they are at.  “Hey, if your sticky notes keep you efficient, then keep using them, however… I want you to clear triage and update your todos three times a day (When you log in, when you get back from lunch, and when you log off for the day)”.  This process will slowly build trust in the system and it’ll also provide a fully functioning team. Those team members tend to find that Karbon is more reliable as a task management system than physically writing on sticky notes.

 

Lastly, the Karbon team has created some helpful change management articles found here: https://karbonhq.com/resources/managing-change-in-your-accounting-practice/

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +13

We start all new employees with the training videos and then give them a Karbon buddy to help them with questions while learning the system.  It is much easier to adopt a new technology if you don’t have to struggle alone and just try to figure it out.  This saves the company time and the new team member frustration.

We also have weekly meetings of our teams like Tax or Bookkeeping.  We use Karbon to check the status of each members work items.  This gives everyone an opportunity to see the status of each item and the team member assigned to ask any questions or get assistance if needed.  We all know the meeting is coming and this helps keep work item status’s up-to-date.  If it says “waiting for client” we should know what we are waiting on for the meeting.  We can also see if someone is overloaded with work and reassign if necessary.

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The best way we got the team to adobt Karbon was by setting a Monday morning meeting where everyone spoke through their ‘To-Do’ list. This way we all engage on outstanding issues, share knowledge to overcome hurdles; and lastly it essentially makes the team member accountable to what they are busy with and the progress they are making

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