How To Get Employees To Use New Enterprise Software

Jenna Rodrigues
November 30, 2021

You spent time, energy, and resources to implement a new enterprise software application. It’s the best thing since sliced bread. It has great features to increase cost-efficiency, improve the customer experience, 10X everyone’s productivity, and cook you breakfast.

You roll it out to the entire company. Then…. cricket.

Why isn’t everyone as stoked as you are?!

No, it isn’t personal. (They still love you.)

But people are resistant to change, even if it’s good for them. You need to nudge them to try out the new tool, experience the benefits, and become as excited as you are. Here’s how:

Get Leadership Support

Leadership support is essential to introducing change, and it’s no different when it comes to adopting a new tool. The new software may affect various parts of the organization, e.g., by changing workflows. A top-down endorsement gives you the resources you need to implement changes throughout the company and support the adoption of the new software.

Find Your Champions

Don’t forget the bottom-up part of the equation, which is getting support from early adopters to build momentum and rally their co-workers. Have them rave about their positive experience and assist others in transitioning to the new technology. Their enthusiasm can help convert those who are skeptical or hesitant.

Lay the Groundwork

Most people don’t like surprises — especially those that disrupt their daily routines. But a little heads-up can go a long way. For example, you can start a conversation around what hasn’t been working and what features employees want to see in a new tool to set the expectation that changes are coming down the line.

Get People Involved

Communication and transparency are key to getting employee buy-in when you introduce a new enterprise software tool. For example, share why you’re implementing the new tool and what made you choose that particular software. Involve employees in the decision-making process as much as possible, and incorporate their input in the implementation plan.

Share Your Vision

The change process will feel much less like busywork if you demonstrate how the software helps the company achieve its vision and mission. When you tap into that sense of purpose, employees are more willing to make changes and row in the same direction to support your success.

Sell the Benefits

Instead of strong-arming employees into using the new tool, pique their curiosity and entice them to try it out by demonstrating how it can make their lives easier and answering the question, “what’s in it for me?” Show, don’t just tell: roll out a pilot program to let everyone see the software in action and experience its benefits first-hand.

Take Baby Steps

Plan the pilot program by identifying high-value, bite-sized changes that will help employees become familiar with the new software before migrating all the workflows and departmental functions to the new platform. This can also help you achieve some early wins and reduce the resistance among team members.

Add Context to Training

Don’t just throw people into the deep end and hope that they’ll figure out how to use the new tool. Training is essential to adoption, and you need to do better than making everyone watch a generic, boring Powerpoint presentation on Zoom. Demonstrate how employees can apply the tool to their everyday workflows, encourage dialogue during the training, and set aside time to answer questions.

Allow Room for Trial-and-Error

Some people are resistant to change because they are afraid of making mistakes. Budget time and create space for employees to learn and experiment with the new tool. Make this process part of their schedule and workload, so they don’t feel that it’s extra to-dos thrown onto their already full plate.

Share Tips and How-Tos

You can’t cram everything into one training session and assume everyone will master the ins and outs of the software. Send out easy-to-digest tips and how-tos regularly to help employees build their skills and experiment with new features. Incorporate the new tool into meetings and working sessions to help team members incorporate the new software into their routines.

Gather and Act on Feedback

Encourage employees to explore new ways of using the software and share ideas on how to make the tool work better for them. Put a system in place to address the feedback and implement their suggestions to refine your workflows. Don’t forget to communicate how their inputs are implemented to encourage ongoing dialogues.

Migrate Important Content

You can facilitate adoption by moving critical information and making it accessible only via the new tool. However, you must time this step right and provide adequate support to avoid frustration among employees. Migrate the content only after you have communicated the benefits of using the tool and provided adequate training.

Set a Hard Deadline

Often, this is the only way to get laggards to convert. After you have given the heads-up, run the pilot project, and provided sufficient training, it’s time to pull the plug. A swift and snappy transition is often more effective than a drawn-out one, where multiple systems are running, workflows get tangled, data becomes out of sync, and things fall through the cracks.

Balance the Carrot and Stick

Rewards can help motivate new software adoption, depending on your company culture and philosophy. For example, it may work well to encourage routine tasks (e.g., using a time tracking app) but may not be as effective in driving behavioral changes related to complex and strategic projects. It’s therefore important to know what makes your employees tick and design the appropriate incentives.

Celebrate the Wins

Keep the momentum by promoting the value employees get from using the new tool. While high-level numbers (e.g., increasing annual sales by X%) can be impressive, they’re removed from the day-to-day operations. Besides big improvements, you should also share small but frequent wins to illustrate how the new software benefits employees’ daily routines (e.g., finishing a task in half the time.)

Successful Adoption Starts with a Solid Foundation

Launching an enterprise software application is not a trivial undertaking. Just like any consumer-facing digital product, you must start with a thorough understanding of the users’ needs and support the product development and implementation process with a comprehensive product and audience strategy.

Test your ideas with prototypes and gather feedback from your teams. This will help you develop features that employees want to use while you get their buy-in and rally their support.

Get in touch to see how we can help you develop an enterprise software tool that everyone will be excited about.

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