The ROI analysis has been reviewed countless times. An impenetrable business case has been developed. After months of consideration, the decision has been made to proceed with a smart safe implementation to help the company improve how it handles its cash. A big decision has been made, and the business case is there to back it—now it’s simply a matter of commencing the project, and reaping the rewards.
However an element of concern still remains—how will the company’s employees react to the introduction of this new technology? Will they embrace it, loathe it, or fear it? The business case is counting them on embracing it—so how will the company’s leadership ensure their employees follow their lead?
The following are recommendations that can help remove the trepidation employees might convey when being asked to embrace any new technology, such as a smart safe, in their work environment.
For an organization with a large estate, a common practice it to begin the deployment of smart safes into a subset of their stores. This is commonly known as a pilot. Pilot programs run for a predetermined amount of time, usually 90-120 days. Pilot programs avail the following benefits to an organization:
- It allows store processes to be modified, tested, and optimized to account for the smart safe being a part of store operational environment. During this stage, many new processes are developed. These can include the setting up individual user accounts, setting cash management policies for employees and managers, preparing deposits, and establishing new ways to work with the store’s armored car and bank. With automation, such changes are inevitable.
- It allows for the adoption of new accounting practices that take advantage of the reporting capability a smart safe provides.
- It allows for store employees to become comfortable in using the smart safe. This knowledge can then be transferred to other employees within the company, and can serve as a building block for an internal training program.
- It is much more advantageous to learn, and make mistakes (a part of the learning process) in two or three stores, before deploying the safes to the entire estate. This ensures the broader rollout will happen much more seamlessly.
Overinvest in Training
During the pilot phase, employee and manager training is critical to ensure the power and benefits a smart safe provides can be best utilized, all while minimizing disruptions to store operations. In the beginning of the pilot, new processes are being introduced, some old processes are being eliminated, and, in general, employees and managers now have a new piece of technology to work with that will make their jobs easier and more efficient.
While the adoption of new technology may appear daunting, it doesn’t have to be. An effective training program can accelerate the learning curve and minimize disruptions that might occur when using technology for the first time.
When considering a smart safe vendor, a store should inquire about the training resources they offer as part of a pilot program. This should include actual personnel that can be onsite during the critical early stages of a pilot to provide training to store employees and managers, and address questions as they come up throughout the first days of the pilot.
In addition to face-to-face support, the organization should ask the smart safe vendor if they have any additional training resources, such as online training, that be leveraged. Oftentimes, online training can be shared with store employees before the pilot commences, allowing them to become familiar with the technology before they see it live. The online training can also serve as an effective reinforcement mechanism, long after the pilot is finished.
A great antidote to fear is confidence. With any adoption of new technology, it is critical for management to instill confidence in their employees that the implementation will help them be more productive in how they go about their jobs.
With a smart safe, instilling confidence in a store’s employee can be easily addressed, simply by sharing the following facts:
- Smart safes automate the counting and depositing of cash, and provide complete transparency to all transactions. Gone are the days of a cashier ending a shift and worrying about being “short” with their balance, and having to explain that to their manager.
- Smart safes provide a secure method to deposit cash, allowing for till balances to be kept to minimum and restricting access to funds to authorized personnel, in many cases the contracted cash-in-transit provider. This makes smart safes an effective robbery deterrent, fostering a safer environment for all employees. Safer environments lead to greater productivity, and better customer service.
- Automating the management of cash frees up employees and managers to spend time on more productive activities—such as crafting new menu items, providing that extra level of customer service, or training front counter staff.
Implementing smart safes across an entire estate of restaurants can result in a windfall of benefits for the organization, both financial and operational. To get there, however, the organization must make the needed investments to ensure the users of the smart safes—the store employees—are well equipped to leverage the smart safe’s capabilities so that they can become more efficient in their jobs. Starting small, investing in right training, and continually reinforcing the benefits smart safes provide—to employees, managers, and customers—will go a long way in enabling a business to quickly reap the rewards of their business case.