Introduction to User Adoption: Part 3 of 4

This is the third post in a four part series on user adoption and how to begin your user adoption journey.

Over the past two weeks we have walked you through the meaning of “user adoption” and how your business can achieve successful user adoption before go-live, during go-live and beyond go-live. Since we’re over half way through our journey, here is a recap of the first four steps to ensuring user adoption:

1. Get Ready, Get Set, Go! - Prepare to focus on the people side of change
2. What Does Success Look Like? - Answer the “why are we doing this?” question
3. Signed, Sealed, Delivered - Effective communication should happen early and often
4. Turn Nay-Sayers into Yay-Sayers - Turn project adversaries into project champions

If you need to refresh yourself on the first four steps, visit our past two blogs in the User Adoption series. Now let’s begin with part three.

Step 5: Culture is King

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Peter Drucker

Do you remember the last time you started a new job? One of the first questions your family and friends probably asked was, “What was it like?”.  How did you respond to that question?

At its core, culture is how people behave, act, and work together. In order for employees to be truly engaged, the culture of their organization must align with their own behaviors and work preferences. A 2016 benchmark study by Prosci®, Best Practices in Change Management, found that 90% of participants rated cultural awareness as either important or very important to project success.

When embarking on a new project, being culturally aware ensures that project teams are intentional with their change management and training approach which leads to increased user adoption. When your organization is implementing new technology, ensure it aligns well with your culture and consider:

  • Speaking with all levels across the organization to get an honest and clear picture of your culture

  • Subtle attributes of subcultures within departments and teams to get a holistic understanding

  • Do visions, objectives and goals of implementing your new technology align with your culture?

  • Adapting your training delivery and methods to support cultural and subcultural preferences

  • Culture will be a critical factor to consider for communication methods, audience segmentation and delivery

Step 6: Being right is everything: The right place, the right time, the right reason

“The key to success is being in the right place at the right time, realizing you’re there and taking action!” Ray Kroc

Most people equate being in the right place at the right time with luck. But, as Oprah Winfrey says, “Luck is just a matter of preparation meeting opportunity” and most successful business leaders understand that. When it comes to your employees adopting  new technology, you can’t leave it up to luck. You must be prepared to take action at the right time, in the right way, for the right reasons. In projects, timing is critical.

If you’ve ever come to work only to find out that some form of technology you’d previously relied on had been changed overnight, you’re not alone in your frustrations. Even employees who may have disliked the old technology will resist a new “easier, user-friendly” system when it is forced on them. When it comes to user adoption, it is critical to identify activities to engage and support your employees, and to be intentional with your timelines and approach.

A joint study by McKinsey and Company and Oxford Uni­versity found that large software projects on average run 66% over budget and 33% over schedule, and as many as 17% of projects go so badly that they can threaten the very existence of the company. This puts an exclamation point on “being right is everything” during projects.

To execute the change for the right reason, at the right time and place and increase user adoption, follow these pointers:

  • Be intentional with your timeliness and approach when identifying activities to engage your employees with during new technology rollouts

  • A targeted communications strategy throughout a project life cycle will make the difference between user adoption and resistance

  • The closer you get to your go-live, timing becomes even more important for communications, support and resistance mitigation

  • Consider training that is delivered just-in-time, right before your employees need it, so they can immediately use what they’ve learned

  • Your training plan should include a blend of approaches, ensuring your employees learn in the “right” way that works for them

Prosci® benchmark studies have shown an increase of project success of up to 96% when organizations focus on the people side of change. This directly correlates to the importance of culture and doing things the right way for the right reasons. After all, when organizations focus on the success of their people, it ultimately drives the success of the business.