How to Help Staff Members Adapt to New Software

By ReadWrite
ReadWrite
ReadWrite
ReadWrite aggregates professional communities dedicated to specific subjects of interest such as connected cars, smart homes, AR/VR, fintech, and APIs. https://readwrite.com/
August 23, 2021 Updated: August 23, 2021

If you want your company to keep up with the latest trends, remain competitive in terms of efficiency, and ensure compliance with regulatory standards, you need to invest in new software and change your software systems occasionally.

On the front end, this is a demanding issue. You and the other leaders of your organization will need to research and do your due diligence to find the best app or platform for your needs. But on the back end, you’ll likely run into at least some integration issues.

Notably, your employees may not be as receptive to the new software as you’d like. If they struggle to adapt to the new software, they may misuse it, it may cost them time, it may stress them out, and they may outright refuse to use the system altogether.

If you want to see all the best benefits of your new software and keep your team happy at the same time, it’s important to use proactive strategies to make the integration process as seamless as possible.

Why Employees Struggle With New Software

Let’s start by examining some of the reasons why employees struggle with new software in the first place:

  • Status quo bias and reluctance to change. Technology is always changing, but that doesn’t mean everyone’s excited about the prospects of learning how to use new gadgets and new platforms regularly. In fact, most of us are slow to embrace change; while we might fawn over new tech gadgets in our personal lives, we like our jobs to remain the same as much as possible. We crave routine and consistency, so we know what to expect every day. When you force people to change the main platform they use on a daily basis, you’re going to meet some resistance.
  • Skepticism of benefits. You have a good reason for adopting this new platform. Maybe it’s to improve efficiency or streamline communication. But just because you believe it doesn’t mean your employees will. If you can’t prove that this system is an objective improvement, some of your employees will be reluctant to adopt it.
  • Confusion and usability issues. Every other problem gets worse if the system is hard to use in any way. If an employee logs into the platform for the first time and doesn’t intuit what to do – or if they run into glaring technical issues (like bugs that prevent them from working or slow loading times) – they’re going to resist adoption. Even if they go along with the new system, they’ll likely be slow and inefficient when using it.
  • Competing products. Most companies have a suite of tech products keeping the company running, including chat apps, project management platforms, and data storage solutions. If your employees are juggling dozens of platforms simultaneously, it’s going to be hard for them to keep everything straight. In addition, forcing them to learn yet another new platform may add stress to an already stressful setup.
  • Frequent change woes. You might run into additional problems if your business is forced to change regularly to meet new regulatory standards. For example, if you work in the healthcare industry, you may practically require an EHR platform to help manage patient records, but it needs to fully comply with the latest patient privacy laws. If your employees anticipate further changes in the future, or if they don’t have faith that this is a long-term solution, they may not take the platform seriously.

Fortunately, there are lots of ways to address these common issues.

Culture and Attitudes

Everything starts with your company culture and the attitudes of the people who work there. If you work to create a culture that encourages change and adapts quickly, you’ll find it much easier to introduce new platforms to your team.

  • Embrace change. Do everything you can to embrace change within your organization – and turn “embracing change” into a core value. Encourage your team to think of change as an opportunity, rather than a threat. Teach them to be adaptable in the face of changing variables.
  • Keep things moving. It’s also effective to keep your organization as mobile and agile as possible. Change things up from time to time, whether that means moving around your meeting time slots or rearranging the office furniture. In a malleable environment, change is embraced much easier.
  • Set a good example. It’s also important to set a good example as a leader. Do your best to embrace new ideas and change your routine on occasion. If you’re overly stubborn and attached to traditional systems, your team will be too.

Persuasion and Trust

It’s also important to establish trust with your employees and persuade them that this is a tool worth using. If your employees have total faith in this solution, nothing should stop them from using it.

  • Be proactive. Start the process as early as possible. Let your employees know you’re thinking about changing platforms or making a major upgrade. It will give them time to adjust and get used to the idea.
  • Explain your reasoning. You don’t have to explain every leadership decision to your employees, but it can help you build trust and persuade them to your side. Why are you investing in this new platform? What are the advantages you hope to see?
  • Prove the benefits. Are you certain you’ve chosen the right technology? If so, prove it to your employees. Some people on your team may be reluctant to adopt a new system no matter what, but most of your employees are likely persuadable. Show them the numbers that demonstrate how much more efficient this system is.
  • Illustrate the transition. Plan how your company will transition to this new system and show that plan to your employees. If it’s a phased, gradual transition, a greater share of your employees will likely be on board.
  • Answer questions transparently. From the early days of consideration to the final days of adoption, your employees will likely have lots of questions for you. When they ask those questions, try to answer them as fully and transparently as possible. If you dodge questions or if you’re seen as withholding information, it could work against you.

Education and Training

Even the most intuitive platform should be shown and taught to your employees. With a better approach to training and education, your staff members will be much more likely to use the platform as intended.

  • Choose the right platform. If you choose a well-designed platform, with a good UI, it will be intuitive for most of your employees. If it’s easy to learn on the fly, most of your workforce will have no problems adopting it. But, of course, you’ll still need to provide at least some training to make things go smoothly.
  • Give early demos. Introduce your staff members to the platform early and often. Warm them up to the idea before they’re forced to use it on a daily basis as part of their job.
  • Get hands-on. Please don’t assume that your team members will watch the training videos; have a plan to give them hands-on, one-on-one training. Providing individualized, tailored training and education experiences will ensure everyone can use the platform to the best of their ability.
  • Follow up individually. Collect feedback and see how people are adjusting. If anyone is having a specific problem, see if you can help them sort it out.

Ongoing Support

It’s also important to ensure that there’s some form of the ongoing support available to your employees. That could take any number of forms, including robust customer service from the app developers or education and assistance from your in-house IT team. No matter what, your employees should have a constantly available channel of communication that can help them resolve issues, clarify points of confusion, and use the app smarter.

There are no strategies that can totally eliminate resistance or difficulties when adopting a new tech platform in your business. However, these proactive approaches can introduce your team to new platforms more warmly and more successfully.

By Frank Landman

ReadWrite
ReadWrite
ReadWrite aggregates professional communities dedicated to specific subjects of interest such as connected cars, smart homes, AR/VR, fintech, and APIs. https://readwrite.com/