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Change is always difficult, whether for organizations or individuals. In the 21st century, we are living in a world of frequent changes that is ruled by technological advancement. If we want to ensure our business’ continuity and success, we have no choice but to adapt and adopt.  Adapting to the changing business environment in this complex and competitive world is crucial for business survival and cannot be neglected. The year 2020 was a big proof of the sudden changes that can occur, not only on the local level but globally 

In some organizations, quality programs are seen as an unwelcome intrusion because they require the adoption of tools and processes that some people regard as unnecessary, or perhaps just seem too time consuming. There are different ways that managers can motivate team members to go along with established quality practices.  Like any other domain, that can sometimes involve a mixture of positive and negative incentives; but the most effective methods for improving user adoption tend to involve the so-called “cultural” issues.  We have written a lot about how important it is to create a culture of quality. It’s not an easy task, and it doesn’t happen overnight; but the results are worth it. 

What is User Adoption? 

First things first, we will start by defining user adoption before moving to the 7 tips that help improving it 

User Adoption, as its name implies, is when software users adopt a product, SaaS solution, or application that help them achieving a specific business goal. User Adoption is also defined as the transfer from the use of an old system to a newer, faster, easier and more efficient one, to ensure successful change management, increase productivity and profitability.  

How to Improve User Adoption? 

Resistance to change is always expected when talking about organizational change. People resist change especially when introducing a new technology. The latter is most of the times perceived as a threat to the stability and can trigger a feeling of fear of the unknown. However, resistance can be minimized to its lowest level when following these 7 tips, which will guide your internal communications to improve overall user adoption strategy. 

As you begin that long-term journey, though, it can be useful to also think in terms of shorter-term incremental goals that can help drive user adoption.  Here are some tips for making that happen: 

#1 Promoting Communication Culture 

A communication culture within an organization builds a positive environment. The latter is needed the most during the transition phase, because organizational culture is a key factor for the success of user adoption strategy.  Employee silence is very dangerous at this level, because employees who cannot communicate openly, are less likely to use any new tools. Make sure to encourage open discussions, feedback and participations among employees at all organization levels. 

#2 Engaging Influencing Staff 

In every organization, there are employees with influence at work. Target these thought leaders and engage them. How? Easy, simply address specific communication to those people and get them on board before other staff. Once other workforce see them adopting they will follow their steps. 

#3 Speaking Users Language 

When it comes to software, IT people tend to use some technical and complex terms. Make sure to avoid such language especially during training sessions because users will get frustrated, and may perceive the new tool as difficult to use and therefore resistance will increase. Summing it up, keep it simple! 

#4 Setting Realistic Expectations 

Communicate to staff the benefits of using the new software as well as the disadvantages. Be credible with your message to set realistic expectations. We all know that the new software is not magic and will not solve all problems. Make sure to clearly explain the exact functionalities of the software so users won’t get disappointed at any level. 

#5 Tracking Attitude Changes 

Monitoring users’ experience through staff surveys and tracking users’ questions through helpdesks can be very beneficial. It does not only help understanding users’ perception of the software but also help identifying concerns. It also assists in detecting any knowledge gaps, measuring attitudes, and resolving problems.  

#6: Tailor the Process for a Perfect Fit 

Many of the business software systems on the market impose their own structures and processes on the organizations that use them. If the software was designed to be used in a certain way, workers throughout the organization may often be required to change the way they work in order to fit the software. That creates inefficiencies. At best, users may experience a minor inconvenience that only costs them a few seconds; but when that inconvenience is repeated hundreds or thousands of times, it adds up to a meaningful amount of waste. At worst, software that is designed with too little flexibility can force users into cumbersome and time-consuming workarounds. 

#7: Keep Things as Simple as Possible 

When something is quick and easy, it is far more likely to get done than if it is cumbersome and time-consuming. Nobody likes to spend her time filling out long, complicated forms that require them to complete unnecessary or repetitive information. This is universally true, whether forms are paper-based or online. Simplicity is a virtue.   

Your quality systems should be built with a design philosophy in mind. A good place to start is with Intellect’s Innovate 2020 Virtual Conference, where our Art Director and Senior UI/UX Designer Brad Serum presented a session called Best Practices for Design and Form Building to Increase User Adoption.   

In Summary 

Intellect’s extreme configurability enables quality managers to design systems that conform to the way people actually work. Just as importantly, it does not require programming skills or other specialized technical expertise. 

By designing your quality processes with these four tips in mind, you can begin to remove some of the friction from the processes employees must follow in their everyday work. Although it may not seem like much to save a few seconds or a minute here or there, the results can quickly add up. The positive impact of these practices goes beyond simply saving time, though. As quality processes become easier to follow, employees are more likely to embrace them. Members of your team are less likely to seek quality processes as a burden, and can begin to focus on the upside. 

Ryhana Fadous

Written by Ryhana Fadous