When we talk about adoption, unfortunately we don’t usually mean bringing home puppies from the shelter. What we mean is the process by which end users become comfortable with and accept new technology; a process that can have significant consequences on the success of an implementation. If employees of an organization find a new technology to be cumbersome or difficult to use, they’re likely to continue performing duties as best they know how, or by creating workarounds for themselves. This can cost an organization time, effort, and dollars.
The District of Nippissing Social Services Administration Board has a solution to the challenge of employee adoption: making it fun! Here is how DNSSAB rolled out a comprehensive, entertaining, and (most importantly) successful adoption plan during their recent implementation of Altus WebApps.
A Strong Foundation
Underlying a good adoption plan is the buy-in from management. If your organization's managers are not interested in getting employees on board, you will have a hard time making sure the solution is being used properly. DNSSAB had recently gone through a difficult and unsuccessful implementation of another technology, so they knew going into this project that people were hesitant – and they decided to come out ahead with their organization's managers leading the way and setting the foundation for success.
To prepare for the release of the solution, DNSSAB's project team divided the staff into tiered training groups, beginning with a beta, and then sent out emails to advertise to the general staff that they had this beta group.
Dawn Carlyle, Business Analyst at DNSSAB, familiarized herself with best practices for adoption with resources from Altus Dynamics as well as her internal IT department, and then developed a strategy to ensure her staff were supported through the process. Because DNSSAB's solution was configured to meet their organization's specific needs, Dawn set about learning the software herself and then made excellent, highly-specific instructional videos for every aspect of the DNSSAB solution that her staff might use. These videos were broken into specific topics, such as how to submit an expense claim for mileage to a certain service delivery site, so that her staff would be able to re-watch just that one segment if they needed some guidance. These videos walk end users through their own configured environment, so that there is no risk of confusion from the generic fields in Altus' extensive training videos, which are available through the customer learning portal.
The staff were split into the finance team, a beta group, and then larger groups 1, 2 and 3. These groups had a controlled roll out, with a one-week overlap (so when group 1 was on its last week of the training, group 2 was starting). Dawn’s team had a set series of communications for the training period that she would cycle each group through. Part of this communication strategy involved actively praising successes in adoption. If someone completed a task ahead of schedule or did something really well, they were singled out for praise among their peers. This model definitely seems to have encouraged the staff. When we spoke in late June, group 3 had yet to begin their training and already members from that group were starting their initial tasks!
When starting the WebApps project, Dawn knew she would have a bit of trouble getting people to talk to her if they had any issues with the system. “Not a lot of staff talk to me on a daily basis because I’m in finance,” she notes, so she ensured the entire implementation process allowed for open communication, and made certain people knew who she was. By sending email updates for every step of the process, leaving VM messages for testing groups, and posting comment boards in common areas, Dawn made sure that any complaints or questions were being addressed head on. One of these complaints was that the training videos were difficult to watch at people’s noisy work stations, so the project team reserved “quiet rooms” specifically for the training videos.
Make It Fun
Implementing a new technology is always going to be challenging – but a challenge doesn’t have to be a bad thing. By encouraging staff, making themselves available, opening avenues for honest feedback, and praising peoples’ successes in the solution, DNSSAB made the process less daunting and uncomfortable for their staff.
DNSSAB also injected some humour into the project by printing a series of posters made by artist Jean-Marc Coté for the 1900 World Fair in Paris where he envisioned technology of the future:
At Altus Dynamics, we know great change management is key to healthy adoption and happy solution users. With their implementation, DNSSAB had access to change management resources including user assistance testing, post go-live support, and access to an extensive knowledge center. These resources are built into Altus' professional implementation services to ensure that organizations like DNSSAB experience a successful implementation and user adoption.
DNSSAB was very deliberate and careful with their employee training on WebApps, and they're already experiencing great results! Dawn reported that even the most reluctant users are already seeing decreases in paper waste and increases in efficiency. A great project means higher ROI for our clients, so we are excited to see how DNSSAB’s forward-thinking team continues to reap rewards from their WebApps solution moving forward!
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