Organizations are ever-evolving. As new technologies, employees and challenges emerge, it becomes essential to review and modify processes that foster collaboration, execution and efficiency. Adopting new software can enhance workflows but come with the challenge of gaining acceptance and use among your employees.
As a solutions creator, we’ve helped clients -- from teams of one to several hundred -- successfully onboard Blinder to their staff and exceed their expectations. Performing the necessary onboarding steps helps you seamlessly navigate the transition.
1. Work backwards from success
What are you hoping to achieve by implementing a new system? Who will be impacted by this change? What are the measurable ways you will define success?
Answer those questions before doing anything else. Decisions made without a full understanding of the impact of your team’s workflows and behaviors will create a recipe for failure. Strategize by identifying your organization’s needs, not its wants. Define logical and realistic goals, outcomes and timelines.
2. Assemble onboarding ambassadors
Especially in larger organizations where changes in workflows affect dozens of people, it’s vital to have buy-in from key influencers. Ideally, you should identify representatives from all areas of the business with varying degrees of seniority and technical expertise who are ambitious about the upcoming changes.
These early adopters can provide key insight into problems and risks before they occur and then advocate for the changes. This refinement will help your onboarding gain comfort and enthusiasm as it is rolled out. Eventually, buy-in from all types of employees is needed for sustainable deployment.
3. Communicate clear expectations
Engage everyone affected before you begin the transition. To spark employee buy-in, focus your message on the direct benefits to them. Explain what they can do now in the current system and what they will be able to do in the new system, illustrating the removal of barriers and other pain points.
You’ll need to be prepared to answer all their questions and willing to listen to feedback, yet enforce the timelines that must be followed for successful implementation. Constructing a positive feedback loop will ensure that employees feel valued.
4. Training is a community event
I’m sure I don’t have to explain how low your success rate will be if self-learning is the only strategy for your software onboarding. Your business thrives because of teamwork and learning a new process or workflow can’t be done on islands.
Host a gathering, like a “lunch-and-learn”, to provide an safe environment for a walkthrough where everyone may participate and contribute. Focus on the tasks that are changing, not just the tools. At the conclusion of that event, provide resources for how to seek additional help, which can be more large or small educational sessions, online tutorials and one-on-one instruction.
5. Celebrate your milestones
New software doesn’t make your results better on its own. The people pushing the buttons are the ones conquering challenges and surpassing goals. Celebrate your organization’s implementation of the new workflows and share the results with them. This encouragement will keep your employees excited and make your next challenge all the easier to manage.
Onboarding doesn't happen on an island. Be sure to inquire with your team early and solicit feedback throughout your adoption process.
Jared Thompson is the VP of Content at Blinder and formerly a sports PR manager at the University of Oklahoma, and digital media director at the NCAA and Purdue University.