A key indicator of any successful workforce management implementation is how well end users adopt the new solution. Often a new system will fall short on delivering planned outcomes because of a low or slow user adoption rate. Effectively managing change includes a focused process and a practical methodology that will ensure your stakeholders embrace your new workforce management solution. This blog is the first part in a three part series outlining ways to help you explore how to drive a successful user adoption strategy. In part one, we’ll look at what user adoption really means and why it’s a critical part to your project’s success.
Adoption – winning and losing
User adoption is the measurement of how well a change is accepted and practiced on a day-to-day basis within an organization. Identifying the right measurements and how they tie back to the project benefits is the first critical step. When putting together an adoption strategy it’s important to consider three things: what’s driving the change, what success looks like and what will represent failure.
Some projects fail to gain adoption because certain factors are overlooked. First, changes related to workforce management need to be integrated with the organization’s culture. This includes how the workforce is managed, scheduled and compensated. Messaging, whether training or communication, must incorporate the corporate look and feel – from the templates used for materials to language and phrasing.
Another reason for slow adoption occurs when an organization loses focus once change has been rolled out. Workforce management continues to evolve long after launch and so should the adoption strategy. It must be continuously improved upon, something you’re always enhancing and are able to measure – it’s never a “set it and forget it” process.
People, process and technology
With that notion in mind, when it comes to developing and maintaining an effective change management strategy, organizations should focus on three main elements: people, process and technology.
- People – Your people are the backbone of the adoption process so it’s important to understand what’s involved in change and how it affects each level of the organization. Ask yourself:
- Who are the champions and adopters of the change (at times someone can be both)?
- What is their role in the project – informed contributor, core to the project team, partner, impacted employee, etc.?
- What is the impact to their day-to-day job?
- What is the impact to their work-life balance?
- Process – The next critical step is determining what is new or changing to existing processes and what that means to the organization. Consider:
- What are the benefits to the change in process?
- How do the new processes fit together?
- What do I need to know or do differently?
- Technology – While not all workforce management projects include technology, it is a consideration when developing the adoption strategy. Think about:
- Is it a new technology to the organization?
- Is it the same technology with new features or functions?
- Are there new integration points with existing technology?
- What new skills need to be learned or understood?
Learn from the past
Often times organizations miss out on taking the opportunity to learn from the positive and negative results from previous roll-outs. Look into what can be gleaned from previous projects that are similar in nature. Find out what worked and what didn’t. It is important to pause and gather this information to avoid the same mistakes and take advantage of previous positive outcomes.
What if adoption is low
The key to managing slow user uptake is to first garner a clear understanding of the current state to ensure adoption can be properly measured. Understanding this and being proactive will reduce the risk of low adoption. The costs of low adoption, while often difficult to measure, are significant and can be measured in different ways such as:
- Increase in support/help desk tickets
- Additional training material required
- Required updates to FAQs due to unclear messaging or training
- Store specific configuration changes or enhancement requests
- Increases in missed punches, historical corrections or overtime
- Spike in turnover due to schedule changes
Being aware of these current state indicators prior to the roll-out is equally important to measuring adoption success. These same indicators should be measured at regular intervals to allow for continuous improvement to the overall adoption strategy.
A strategy that works
Change management is often one of the most overlooked parts of a workforce management implementation, but following through on a well-thought-out strategy can help to execute the user adoption results you’re looking for.
In the next part of our user adoption strategy series we’ll focus on the importance of having corporate buy-in from the get-go and how it affects adoption and enablement. Stay tuned.
Jan Worosz is a Director at Axsium with 18 years of management consulting experience and has led integration strategy projects for large chain, mid-size, specialty and big box retailers.