Even organisations experienced in remote working were hit by a wave of disruption at the beginning of the pandemic as every collaboration situation suddenly had to take place remotely.
The priority was to keep the business going, and there wasn’t really a user guide for that. So management teams accepted the workarounds people found for themselves, looking leniently upon shadow IT and the use of higher cost connection routes.
Finding a new approach to post-pandemic user adoption
Today, it’s a different story. Organisations are getting back on track with their longer-term transformation plans. They’re excited about a range of new technologies, like the Metaverse and mixed reality collaboration spaces, and what they could mean for the workplace.
However, there’s a danger that, by focusing too heavily on technology goals, organisations will overlook what’s really the key factor in their success – their people. A new technology can have huge potential, but if employees don’t know how to use it effectively, it could be a wasted investment. Technology alone is not enough; people must come first.
It’s important to recognise that users still need help to become proficient with new and existing tools. Yes, they managed to make collaboration tools work during the pandemic, and confidence in trying new tools may be higher as a result, but effective user adoption support is still critical.
What’s more, ‘user adoption’ doesn’t end when a user activates their account or uses a digital workplace application once or twice – and it won’t drive the expected business results. Organisations need to put the right support in place to ensure continued use, so users integrate applications into their ongoing roles, understand how tools benefit wellbeing and are willing to embrace new updates that help them become more productive.
From my work with global organisations, I’ve found that the need for training and support is still as strong as ever, but the ways of providing and accessing that guidance have changed.
Here are my three recommendations for building a user adoption strategy fit for the future of work:
1. Don’t rush your discovery and planning
Our new ways of working have created an increasingly diverse workforce whose use cases change depending on where they are. These days, an employee might start their day conducting video meetings from home. Then, while travelling to the office, transfer over to their mobile application. Later on, they’ll work from a desk in a shared office space and, at some point, might use a private collaboration room to discuss something more sensitive - or any combination of the above.
A complex mix of work scenarios like this is increasingly the norm and must be taken into account. Trying to develop a one-size-fits-all strategy based on feedback from a previous cloud project won’t work. Take the time to listen to your people, understand their current needs and the ways in which they’re now working. Think about running use-case workshops and then building a network of champions who can help share tips for best practice, as well as encouraging openness to new ideas and engagement with your strategy.
2. On-demand user support is essential
Employee app literacy is much higher now than it was pre-pandemic, and users are more self-sufficient in working through issues with tools. Increasingly, employees will want information to be available on demand, so they can learn as they go or request topic-based information depending on their most immediate use cases. Look at providing reliable access to relevant guides at all times, such as via a content-curated SharePoint, to offer users the ability to easily search topics depending on their pressing needs. This meets today’s desire for rapid results and creates an ethos of continuous learning, encouraging users to check back for updates as and when required.
3. Training models must suit the now
Training models also need to reflect how users want to learn today. Classroom-based learning isn’t ideal for people working remotely who are perhaps nervous to return to meeting rooms. Live learning isn’t as flexible as employees would like, often following a set curriculum where not everything covered applies to them. Leading organisations are moving to flexible learning solutions that can support end users regardless of where they are, and can offer rapid answers to specific questions. Consider offering a wide range of new options such as drop-in clinics, Q&As, short 60-second tutorial videos or even chatbots to answer technical queries.
User adoption strategies to get the most out of your tools
We can help you to implement the right user adoption strategies for the latest technologies you’re looking to support. Critically, we understand that it’s not just about technology and that it’s about putting people first. This is why our inhouse adoption specialists will get your people excited about the possibilities of your new capabilities, working with them to successfully integrate new solutions into their working lives.
If you’d like to find out more about how we can help, please visit our page.