How to get employee buy-in for new software

‘Getting employee buy-in is not as simple as implementing the technology and saying “go”’

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No organisation wants to invest the time, money and resources in new software and have it languish unused by employees. The software is purchased for a reason, whether it’s to boost productivity, enhance the sales process or streamline back office operations.

Unfortunately, getting employee buy-in is not as simple as implementing the technology and saying “go”. Businesses have to be proactive about driving adoption and have a clear plan in place to get the most out of their investment.

Leadership buy-in is absolutely essential. Employees won’t change their workflow if the importance of doing so is not emphasised and demonstrated from the top down.

This requires all the leaders to be on-board, equally committed, and consistent in the way they communicate the value of the software to employees.

>See also: So you've got new software- are you sure your colleagues are really going to use it?

In addition to leaders, identifying and empowering powers users, or ‘champions’, of the new software can also have a dramatic effect on adoption. These are the employees who are not satisfied with the status quo, who embrace change, and who are willing to take up the banner of the adoption movement.

In this role, they become the go-to person for questions and tips. They also assume responsibility for meeting with other champions to discuss what is working, what is not, and what could be done better.

While these people can have a powerful effect on adoption ‘on the ground’ (i.e. within their teams), businesses should also consider hiring a success manager.

The fact is that power users have other jobs to do, and while they may be excited about new technology, they do not have the bandwidth or authority to spearhead adoption across an entire organisation.

This is what the success manager is for. They take the lead, and their primary role is to work closely with IT and business units to manage the training, consumption and adoption of the new software.

All these people will have greater success driving adoption when there is infrastructure in place to guide the process, which involves multiple components.

First, you need a corporate communication plan. This serves to stir up excitement before the rollout, during the installation, and after migration is complete, so employees continue to utilise the service.

Along with communications, education and training are also key. Employees will not fully utilise software if they do not understand how it works or all its functionalities.

Companies that invest in training for their software see much higher adoption rates than clients that choose not to train. And this training cannot be a “one-and-done” type affair.

Training is most effective when it is divided into bite-size chunks (so employees don’t tune out). This allows employees to weave training into their day and remain engaged in what they are learning, while also allowing organisations to deliver a continuous transfer of knowledge. Short learning videos are perfect for this purpose.

There will also be times when employees are not sure how to proceed, and establishing a support system prevents these hurdles from becoming insurmountable.

A single, central support portal can serve as a place for companies to share education, knowledge, how-tos, quick start guides, and learning videos, so employees can always find the information and answers they need.

A self-service help desk is also a useful asset, since it reduces help desk calls and boosts employee confidence, so they become more self-sufficient.

Finally, people are far more motivated to do things that are fun. If you want your employees to adopt new software, think outside of the box for how you can encourage them to do so.

>See also: The digital employee is not new – it’s just the latest evolutionary phase

Consider throwing a showcase that brings employees together to learn about the features and functionalities of the technology. You can give every employee a card to stamp after they visit a booth and, at the end, give out a prize for collecting all the stamps.

Gamification can spice up adoption as well. Creating challenges and competitions around adoption will engage employees more deeply in the process. It also creates opportunities for quick wins, which boost confidence and reinforce employee commitment to using the technology.

When they actually experience the software having a positive impact in their daily life, the effects will be long-lasting.

 

Sourced from Chris Pyle, CEO of MessageOps

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