5 Keys to Successful Technology Adoption
From workforce changes to technological advancements, IT departments face continual pressure to keep up with end-user and business demands. When they set out to meet these demands and roll out changes, end-user adoption is critical to success.
However, many organizations don't embed end-user adoption practices into deployments to enable the workforce and adopt new initiatives. Often on-staff training professionals are resource-constrained or focused on other change initiatives. Regardless, an end-user adoption plan is crucial to ensuring adoption, acceptance, and continued productivity – whether your organization is undergoing a workplace remodel, revamping its on-boarding program, or embarking on a large technology upgrade.
The following are five best practices for successful end-user technology adoption:
1. Conduct a needs analysis. An important first step is to complete a needs analysis that includes shadowing and user focus groups for gap analysis. Including the end-user in requirements gathering ensures the user's needs are at the center of solution development. The needs analysis should focus on current and future state possibilities. In this evaluation, be sure to include process, people, and technology needs.
2. Design an end-user focused solution. Effective workforce transformation should always include input from end-users. Although this can often be a time consuming step, it helps create a solid foundation for future buy-in and trust in the program. For example, we know that when people are truly invested in change it is 30 percent more likely to stick. Provide end-users with an opportunity to provide input through workflow development workshops and user acceptance testing.
3. Conduct a pilot program. Pilot programs are typically conducted in a controlled environment that allows for thorough monitoring and evaluation. Pilot program participants should include early adopters, users that can then champion changes and assist in training in their respective areas. As the pilot is being run, evaluate the technology, process, and workflow impacts on the test group. As you plan the pilot program, be sure to allow time for modifications before the program is expanded to the larger group.
4. Develop and deploy a comprehensive communication strategy. We can't overemphasize the importance of a robust communication strategy pre-, during, and post-training. Before launching the training program, generate buzz and excitement about the change, and appeal to users by explaining the direct benefits to them. 1 of out every 3 employees say that uninspiring content is a barrier to their learning. Communicate, communicate, communicate!
5. Provide custom end-user adoption support. Utilize custom training– not just out of the box vendor training, which often focuses solely on feature and functionality and not on how the new technology will support users in their workflow. Custom training, whether a train-the-trainer program or an end-user program must be role-based and designed to focus on what users truly need to know at the onset of a change. Don't forget these tactics for effective custom training programs:
- The learning environment must mirror the situation for actual use
- Training should occur as close to Go Live as possible
- Effective training programs embed change management strategies that have worked in the past for the organization.
- Although we're seeing that as much as 18% of all training is now delivered through mobile devices, when possible, provide opportunities for users to physically practice new behavior change
- Incorporate multiple training modalities such as; instructor-led sessions, online learning, self-directed activities and be mindful of multiple shifts and roles
- Be sure to support users with Go Live support when the technology is officially up and running
Cutting corners on training has been a large contributor to the downfall of many change initiatives. The total loss from ineffective training is staggering: $13.5 million per year, per 1000 employees. Don't fall trap to delivering training simply to meet the go-live deadline. By doing so, you compromise adoption and the overall investment. Effective user adoption requires a well-planned strategy, aligned to outcomes, and implemented in phases.