Let’s be honest: getting employees to adopt a new in-house IT system or internal technology solution can feel like pulling teeth at times. Why? Because there’s often deep-set resistance – even when the legacy platform is decaying.
However, the demands of commerce, customers, partners, and the sheer volume of data businesses now need to access on-demand mean that new, scalable, often cloud-based IT and mobility initiatives are needed.
Getting your users onboard and actively adopting new tools or processes is critical to a successful implementation. Here are a few ways to approach this.
“Tell me and I’ll forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I’ll learn.” Benjamin Franklin.
One of the biggest issues with staff training – particularly where IT is concerned – is that, well, staff are often reluctant to do it.
Whether it’s product, software, or sales-focused; the same rules apply where training’s concerned – there needs to be a high degree of resonance to the user’s daily reality. To make it stick, there needs to be a demonstration of how training can be woven into their job – an applied, hands-on way for them to learn.
However, unless learning is delivered in the user’s own environment, it can be difficult for them to fully comprehend what will be expected of them – and how they should apply their new knowledge.
One-off sessions don’t work well either – training needs to stick. That’s why recurring training is needed; to provide tangible benchmarks, such as evaluation and improvement.
Rolling out staff training is only part of the equation here. For it to work, there needs to be broad management support across your business. Not just a nod from the C-suite (though that’s very important): but buy-in from departmental managers – across different business units.
It’s not enough to presume they’ll share the same enthusiasm for rolling out a new scheme – in fact middle management can often cause the biggest bottlenecks! Why? Because they have targets to meet, people to manage, KPIs to hit etc. So why not incorporate user adoption into their goals – in a way that’ll benefit them?
For example, if they’re experiencing staff disengagement and they need the team to deliver a big project in coming months; rolling out a new initiative ahead of this can help them to collaborate better – to overcome a shared issue together.
It’s also an opportunity for IT to gauge ongoing departmental issues, and to tailor ongoing initiatives in a way that supports managers – rather than disrupts their way of working.
Presuming that a strategy, objectives, and metrics are set; and that an official decision to rollout a new initiative has been made; the best way to get everyone’s support – users, managers, senior execs – is through clear communication.
It all begins with awareness. Involving everyone from the very start is important; to create a sense of community around a shared problem – and instil a wider need to fix it. Town hall sessions, informal lunchtime chats (fuelled by free food or coffee!), formal presentations; as well as videos, toolkits, guides, and gifts.
It’s crucial to ensure there are a variety of ways users can access the information you want them to take on board – and that they’re spread out over a period of time rather than ‘dumped’ on users at the last minute.
Think about the different stakeholders you’re trying to influence, what their pain points are, how they’ll benefit from the new system, and what you need them to actually do.
Finding The Right Formula
Ultimately, 80% of the implementation efforts should be focused on the users, and only 20% on the technical aspects. Successful user adoption is a collaboration between IT, Facilities Management, Organisational Development, Communication, and Learning & Development teams. It needs to be carefully coordinated to prepare everyone affected in the right way, at the right time.
Sure, a carrot-and-stick approach can work – rewarding and incentivising users for their commitment to training – but when they fully comprehend and personally feel there’s a need to embrace a new initiative, and can appreciate that it’ll have a positive impact on their work, they’ll be much more inclined to adopt it for the long term.
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