Introduction to User Adoption: Part 2 of 4

This is the second post in a four part series on user adoption and how to begin your user adoption journey. Before reading on, we recommend reading steps 1 and 2.

In our first blog we introduced you to the term “user adoption” and what it means for the well-being of your business. Outlined were 8 simple steps to ensure your business will achieve user adoption before go-live, during go-live and beyond go-live. Step 1 (Get Ready, Get Set, Go!) and Step 2 (What does success look like?) started off our user adoption journey in the previous blog and we’re excited to share our new two steps to user adoption success with you this week.

Step 3: Signed Sealed Delivered

If you think your frequent emails and short phone calls with your employees and colleagues are doing the trick, think again.  Research findings from the Project Management Institute state that one third of the time, ineffective communication is the primary contributor to project failure.

We’ve had early conversations with project sponsors who spoke of “spinning the truth” so employees would buy into the change. It’s true that using communication to “spin the truth” during the change process may be easier and less confrontational. However, communication should be built on tenants of respect, transparency and education about WHY the change is occurring and the importance of the role each individual plays in that change.

Just as important is providing ongoing communication, starting with building awareness and as the project moves closer to go-live, becoming more detailed. Establishing clear and consistent messaging which aligns with the objectives and vision of the project is critical; however it’s just as important that this messaging is tailored to each specific audience accordingly. A C-level Executive may need different information than what the front line employees will need to know.

Finally, capturing feedback throughout the project life-cycle will help measure your overall communication effectiveness. This information can be easy to gather through focus groups, face-to-face check-ins, or through brief surveys. When the feedback has been sorted, it will be beneficial to highlight “wins” and testimonials while simultaneously allowing for quick response time to pain points along the way. If the feedback loop is created effectively, momentum will continue to build around your user adoption goals.

Some important considerations when it comes to communication are:

  • Always be sure to coach managers and supervisors on their important role in communication

  • Employees prefer when their direct supervisor or manager is the contact that shares information and feedback with them

  • Focus on the organizational readiness for your training rollout plan

  • Engage subject matter experts (SMEs) to position and deliver the “value of training” message to the end user community

Step 4: Turn naysayers into yay sayers

Resistance is human nature and is the number one roadblock to user adoption.

We’ve broken down user adoption into two subsets of typical adopters, “nay-sayers” and “yay-sayers”. Everyone knows a “nay-sayer”, with no plans to adopt the project. They like to stick to what they know and are resistant to change. While it may sound counter-intuitive, we recommend inviting your “nay-sayers” to the table. A frank conversation with them may help uncover their concerns, and many times, these are valid points that others may not have considered. Ask your “nay-sayers” to be advocates for others’ concerns and to provide constructive feedback throughout the change process. It’s possible they might even surprise you by transforming into change champions or “yay-sayers” after being invited to become more involved.

Minimizing change resistance may be as simple as answering a few key questions, such as, “why is this change happening?”, “What is in it for me?” and “Why should I get on board?”.

When action has been taken to minimize resistance and turn your “nay-sayers” into “yay-sayers”, you have better chances at ensuring your projects are a success.

Some important considerations when it comes to turning “nay-sayers” into “yay-sayers” are:

  • Invite “nay-sayers” to the table.

  • Listen to feedback from both “nay-sayers” and “yay-sayers” - they may have insight you have not considered.

  • Generate excitement through teaching time-saving tips to your “yay-sayers” - also referred to as your Change Champions.

  • Ask both “nay-sayers” and “yay-sayers” for their input in consideration when designing  training materials.

  • Always strive to answer the WHY of the project.

Achieving a high level of user adoption is a collaborative effort with our clients where we bring to the table best practices and lessons learned, and our client brings the knowledge of their culture and how best to support their people through the transition. We recognize that user adoption is not a given, nor is it easy. It requires focus, a thoughtful process and engaging people all along the way.  

Continue your user adoption journey with us over the following weeks for the remainder of our 8 simple steps to user adoption success.