employee adoption

20 Tips for Streamlining Employee Adoption of New Software

Employee adoption of new software, tools, and technology has become standard in today’s workplace.

But adoption projects aren’t always successful.

And ROI isn’t always what it could be.

In fact, successful digital transformation projects aren’t as common as you would think.

One cause of these failures is poor project management.

A study by Google found that the most successful change management projects employed sophisticated, well-structured change management methods.

Less sophisticated management approaches, though, didn’t perform as well.

Like any other change project, the success of an employee digital adoption process will depend on that project’s management.

Below, we will look at 20 tips for streamlining adoption and improving project outcomes.

20 Tips for Boosting Employee Adoption of New Technology

In no particular order…

1. Have a well-structured onboarding process.

Structure and sophistication are key – especially during onboarding.

An employee’s first impression of a tool is created during this stage. 

That impression can have a significant impact on their long-term productivity, engagement, and performance.

2. Learn what matters most to employees … then give it to them.

One way to earn employees’ trust is by giving them what they want.

In many cases, employees want digital skills that will help their careers, easier workflows, more interesting job duties, and so forth. 

When possible, leverage technology to give them those things – they will reward you with their support.

3. Exploit digital adoption platforms (DAPs).

Digital adoption platforms (DAPs) are a must for any business adopting new digital technology.

They automate training, repetitive tasks, improve employee productivity, decrease training costs, and more.

4. Focus on results, but enhance the employee experience.

The organization wants results, but, like customers, employees want good experiences.

Achieve both by linking poor employee experiences to poor organizational results.

Then find ways to improve that experience.

5. Assess digital literacy, then improve it if necessary.

Digital literacy is fundamental to success in today’s organization.

If workers don’t meet the baseline literacy required to use certain tools, it may be time to train them up.

6. Assess change readiness, then start your project from that point.

Change comes easier to some than others.

Understand your organization’s readiness for change, then work with that climate. 

Forcing overnight change on a conservative culture won’t work – while an agile culture may crave faster changes.

7. Obtain executive sponsorship.

Without executive support, employee adoption projects will face an uphill battle.

Sell your project to executives early, by focusing on organizational benefits and benefits to specific business leaders.

8. Choose the right adoption model.

Should you take a “big bang” approach?

A phased approach? Or a parallel approach?

Evaluate different adoption approaches carefully, then follow an adoption model that fits your circumstances.

9. Sell employees on the benefits of digital adoption.

The future of work is uncertain…

Automation and digital technology will continue shifting the digital workplace for years to come.

And while this may be an unpleasant topic for many employees, it can also motivate them to change.

10. Reward short-term wins and early adopters.

Sustain motivation by rewarding early adopters.

You can go so far as to gamify your adoption program, if you see fit. However, praise and recognition are often enough to increase motivation.

11. Be firm when necessary.

Though adoption managers should be supportive, they should also draw lines when necessary.

When workers threaten to slow down adoption efforts, don’t be afraid to put your foot down – even penalize, if necessary.

12. Recruit change champions.

The larger your enterprise, the harder it is to be everywhere.

Recruit early adopters and change champions to advocate for adoption, assist with training, and lead adoption efforts locally.

13. Lead.

Lead, don’t just manage.

It is important for you and your recruits to embody the change that you wish to see. 

Begin using software first, demonstrate its value, hold webinars, and engage employees through training.

14. Measure.

Use digital adoption metrics and KPIs to track project progress.

Employee engagement, productivity, time-to-competency, complaints, feedback – all can be used to gauge project health.

15. Communicate early and often.

Communication is your lifeline to employees.

Listen, learn, and respond. This communication doesn’t just keep employees happy, it will improve your adoption efforts.

16. Be agile.

Collaborate often and stay responsive.

Learn from agile management, change management, software development, and other agile processes.

17. Focus on and continually improve digital adoption ROI.

Successful digital adoption is not black and white, on or off.

Success is measured by ROI, percentages, profits, cost-savings, and so on.

Stay focused on these goals and your project will achieve better outcomes.

18. Improve digital adoption ROI through technology.

Automation can improve employee adoption project results by a significant margin.

DAPs can automate training, as mentioned. 

AI-driven analytics can offer deep insight into software ROI, user behavior, employee engagement metrics, and much more.

19. Listen to employees.

Technology should not overshadow employees.

Listen to their needs, their opinions, and their feedback. 

It can help you stay human-centric in a world that is becoming more digital with every passing day.

20. Evaluate your project and learn from its results.

When your employee adoption project is complete, analyze it from top to bottom.

What went right? What didn’t? What can you do next time?

Learn from this adoption project and carry that information into your next project.

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