One of the most critical elements of implementing technology is getting employee buy-in for new software. Without it, your shiny new tool becomes shelf-ware, sitting unused to “gather dust.” Getting employee buy-in can feel elusive because honestly, not everyone is going to excitedly learn a new system. Some have been using a system they created for more than a decade and the thought of change is terrifying; others have tried other software before and it didn’t work for them; still others just don’t like being told what to do (come on, we all know one of these!).
To help you generate employee buy-in for your new tech solution, we have a few tips to guide you through each type of roadblock.
1. Ask How Technology Can Help Them
Before you share a decision for a new tool, or even better, before you begin searching for the tool, meet with your team and understand where their pain points are. They may not realize during these conversations if or how technology can help alleviate these pain points, but you as the project leader can ensure that their needs are accounted for in the new solution. Then, when it’s time to communicate about the tool, you can present how it solves their specific problems to get them on board.
2. Keep Communication Open
While selecting and planning the tool, make sure employees stay informed about what you are doing, why, and what features might be hard to find. If they know you’re trying your best, they will understand if they don’t quite get what they want. It’s easier for them to process in smaller pieces over time than all at once after a decision has been made. Additionally, information you learn during selection and planning may help them think of additional ways the technology can improve their work.
3. Find the “Easy Button”
User-friendly technology is critical in getting employee buy-in. While looking at tools, understand how user-friendly a solution is. Keep in mind, user-friendliness is not only about the design of the system and how easy each button is to find. It’s also about how easily the average user can adapt to changes in the tool, whether the system actually alleviates administrative time spent or just increases the burden of entry, and how the tool interacts with daily work. For example, if you can enter all your tasks in a tool but can’t pull a report of how much money came in from sales contracts in March, your tool isn’t user-friendly. The tool needs to actually provide the user with simple, easy solutions to their work to be considered user-friendly.
4. Recruit Product Champions
Find the people in your organization who are excited about the new software and ask them to be part of the implementation team. They will feel included in the process and can provide a first stop for employees who want questions answered or are feeling uncertain about the software. Seeing team members excited about and succeeding in the tool can help others buy-in.
5. Provide Training and Resources
When it’s time to get the team into the system, provide comprehensive and relevant training to your team members. Catering training to departments so they are only trained on the elements they need will help them determine what’s important for them to know and keep the new knowledge from feeling overwhelming.
Make sure you provide plenty of places where they can find resources so they can learn while doing, solve their own problems, and feel empowered to ask questions when they can’t find an answer.
6. Don’t Disappear
Stay connected to the team and their thoughts/feelings/experiences with the tool. What’s working? What are new pain points that have popped up? What isn’t going as expected? Be sure you’re getting plenty of feedback on the tool so you can continue to make improvements. If teams know that their concerns can and will be addressed, you’re well on your way to high employee buy-in.