User Adoption of New Technology: Strategies to Increase Engagement
Whether it is a new Learning Management System, Applicant Tracking System, Performance Management, or any other new talent technology, you’ve worked hard to build and implement a tool that makes users’ lives better. If you’re lucky, you have had a change manager or marketing representative working on the project thinking about user adoption and engagement from the start. But if you’ve just suddenly had the thought – Ah, how are we going to get employees to use the new system? – this post is for you. You need a way to engage with your employees, encourage them to learn about the change coming, and guide them on how to get started. In short, you need a plan to ensure user adoption of your new technology. And the time to get started is now.
It’s Never Too Early to Start
There are highly effective, leading practices that can help your organization build engagement and user adoption of new technology. The key to being able to use these tactics is to engage early and often, setting expectations and building employee knowledge of the changes to come and how they will be impacted. Each communication should have a primary messaging goal and should be distributed using a variety of channels. There are three types of communications to consider in your plan:
- Executive Communications: Communications from leadership, business unit leaders, and other key stakeholders drive end-user engagement. As early as possible in the process, find ways to get these influencers within your organization involved by sharing the business reasons why the technology change is needed and good for the organization.
- Project Team Communications: Communications from the project team should focus on sharing overall project updates, new and improved functionality that will be available, and any timeline updates. These communications excite employees (particularly when pain points will be alleviated), so setting expectations around when improvements can be expected are important.
- Technical Support Communications: With any new talent technology change, one of the biggest concerns for many employees is having support for unforeseen issues. Communicating the plan for support alleviates these concerns early on and improves your chances for effective user adoption of new technology.
Now that you understand the types of communications that are effective in building early user adoption and engagement, there are a variety of channels that can be utilized to distribute communications.
- Build a project landing page on your company intranet. Save all emailed communications in a running feed for easy access later. Better yet, encourage your leaders to blog or vlog on the intranet platform to make messaging even stronger.
- Build and house a collection of materials using different formats (PDF, video, e-learning, etc.) to instruct users on system usage
- Identify, list, and encourage employees to contact in-business team ‘gurus’ as first-line support (e.g., answering questions on how to search and request training, how to find training in transcript, etc.)
- Clearly identify support channels for when things go wrong (e.g., incorrect assignment of training)
- Provide scenarios/scripts for help desk support to quickly address end-user issues
- Build anticipation and engage your employees by conducting video interview(s) with business leaders and stakeholders to describe what the technology is, what it will do for employees, and how it will support the business strategy and generate growth. House these videos on your company intranet or a project landing page and link them from within email communications.
- Create demo videos promoting new functionality that is coming. Include links to these videos in email communications from the project team, highlighting overall project and timeline updates.
- Create an email signature graphic to include on all internal company emails sent by those implementing and administering the new technology. Link the graphics to information on the technology or your project landing page on your company intranet.
“Coming Soon” signage and materials
- Utilize teasers (branded posters and other signage, i.e., a vertical banner in the lobby or break room) that hint at the coming change, new functionality, sets expectations, and encourages users to ask questions and find out more.
- Physical materials like stress balls, drink coasters, mugs, pens, etc., are small but powerful ways to build awareness, engagement, and increase user adoption of new technology as they remain on employees’ desks long after go-live.
Ready to Launch? Now What?
You’ve spent time engaging with your users – they know what is coming, when it will be available, and why it’s needed. Launch day is around the corner. Now, what do you do to ensure user adoption across your business?
Everybody learns new things in different ways. It is always a good idea to have a variety of options available to your users that enables them to learn and quickly be able to use your new talent technology. Below are several activities that will not only continue the engagement but increase user adoption of new technology across your business:
- Roadshows: Leading up to and during launch week (or even month), a series of live roadshows work well, whether in person or virtual. Not only do roadshows keep the engagement high, but demonstrations of the new talent technology in action show how it can be used, increasing user adoption rates. The addition of Q&A sessions actively engaging your employees drives user adoption further. Following the roadshows, have team experts, coaches, or gurus in place throughout the organization to provide first-line support – answering questions such as “How do I do this?” or “I’ve done this, and then that happened, why?”
- User guides: By providing PDF user guides with screenshots and action steps, your users have a quick reference document that shows them what they can and perhaps should do in the new technology. This does not have to be filled with large volumes of text; screenshots and short sentences describing what happens when following a particular path is ideal.
- Video walkthroughs: When it comes to video walkthroughs, short to the point videos, a couple of minutes or so long on each subject are enough. A video showing how to search, request, and launch training, for example, is great for an end-user to see exactly what to do. In a couple of minutes, this video will increase knowledge and confidence through the process. Short videos can capture processes from both end-users and managers’ points of view for all aspects of your new technology.
- Simple e-learning: Simple e-learning directs users on how to complete functions within the new technology and practice in a safe environment without worrying about doing something that they didn’t want to do. These can be short processed-based courses incorporating a combination of other materials such as short videos, screenshots, and action sections where the user can see what they should be doing before taking any actions.
- “Learn It” live sessions: Holding live training sessions, whether these are in person or virtual, is a great way to show how the new technology works and find out how much your users already know and have engaged. Sessions like this are important at the go-live stage of releasing your new technology but also serve as a way to engage over time. Suppose your new system supports a regular process such as Performance Management. In that case, live sessions leading up to the next phase of the performance management process are great ways to reconnect, increase engagement, provide refreshers on functionality, and introduce new employees to the system and processes.
Increasing engagement and user adoption of new technology across your organization starts with piquing your users’ interest and engaging them early. If end-users are engaged and ready for the change, providing training and information on how to use the new talent technology increases adoption once it is released. If you would like to know more or need help in implementing and managing the user adoption of your new talent technology, contact us.