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How to increase the adoption of a new system?

7 minutes read

You’ve invested in a new system (a CRM, timesheet tracker, marketing tool, HR management tool, etc) and decided to implement it within your organization. Congrats! Your new technology will definitely make your organization more effective and productive. But only if your employees actually use it.

This is a common scenario that organizations face while rolling out new technology. They struggle to get their users to take the plunge.

Here are some reasons why organizations face roadblocks when it comes to new technology adoption:

  • Employees are overwhelmed with too many technologies and not enough time to learn how to use them effectively. According to Hubspot, marketers alone are using more than 12 different tools on average, and some are using more than 31. When you extrapolate what the rest of the organization is using, that number gets exponentially bigger.

  • Users don’t see the benefits of the new system. According to, while 76% of employees acknowledge that technology has an influence on the way they work, for better or for worse, less than half of them feel that IT decision-makers have taken their opinions into consideration when selecting business technology.

  • Users are afraid of any additional disruption in their already busy workdays. Simply put: The thought of learning a whole new system can be overwhelming in today’s workplace, where employees are already stretched as it is.

Despite these challenges, you don’t want your time, efforts, and money to go down the drain right? You need to get greater ROI out of your technology investment by ensuring 100% user adoption of the new system.

We are here to help you with this. Our business experts, who have worked with many top companies across the world and helped them drive successful user adoption of new systems have shared their tips.

Tips to Drive Successful User Adoption

1. Involve the leadership team and get them to advocate the new system

Any good behavior trickles down from the leadership team to the rest of the organization. So, start your new system roll-out by getting your leadership team involved in the roll-out process. We are not just talking about explaining the benefits of the new system to them. But actually give them a first-hand experience of the new system. Make them your early adopters.

It's important that you choose strong leaders from each department/ business unit as the early adopters. They should be able to persuasively communicate to their people why the adoption of the new system is worthwhile to:

  • Them,
  • Their company,
  • Their customers,
  • And stakeholders

This initiates a sense of trust amongst the users, as the first wave of communication comes from the leaders of their department.

2. Communicate for buy-in and engagement from employees

After a higher-level communication from the leaders, it’s time for you to provide a detailed briefing on the new system to the users. This is second-level communication. Think of this as internal marketing where you have to gain user buy-in and engagement.

Give them a first glimpse of the system and explain:

  • What is in it for them?
  • How does the new system enhance their work?
  • Are they going to save time?
  • Will they make more money?
  • Will they have access to new and up-to-date information- information they really, really need?

3. Run Training Sessions

One of the biggest risks that jeopardizes the user adoption of the new system is the lack of sufficient and customized training. Of course, many vendors offer training options as a part of your technology purchase. However, most of that training is standardized off-the-shelf and not specific to your business processes.

You need to ensure that the new system training is specific to each department/ stakeholder group and the way they perform their work.

For example, in the case of a CRM system, a marketing professional should learn how to register and follow up leads. Whereas a salesperson needs to know how to create a sale and follow a set sales process.

If the new system training is not connected to each individual’s work, then they might see it as a waste of their time. And, this results in a significant decrease in user adoption.

Apart from that, here is what you need to accomplish in the training:

  • Showcase and demonstrate the new software. Encourage more dialogue around implementation.

  • Walk your employees through each and every feature of the new system. Demonstrate its practical application and how it makes a difference for them.

    Pro-Tip: If your new system holds many features, learning them all in one go can be difficult. In such a case, split your training into multiple training sessions and conduct them over a period of time. Start with the basics. And, when the basics are in place and well known, move on to more advanced features and processes.

  • Create an environment where users can comfortably voice their questions and concerns. Take time and patiently address all their queries

  • During the training identify people who are most enthusiastic about learning and using the new system. Set them up as the internal champions. Then, encourage them to help you in getting the late adopters and laggard up to speed quickly.

  • A great way to get the users used to the new system is by allowing them to test drive it before they use it for their actual work. This gives them some time to get a hang of things.

If you are implementing Salesforce CRM in your organization, here are the best practices to drive end-user adoption of Salesforce

4. Gamify your Adoption: The Plan that Works!

There’s nothing quite like a friendly competition to drive the successful adoption of the new system. So include a fun and engaging contest in your user adoption strategy to get your folks engaged with the new technology.

To gamify adoption, you can create the contest by:

  • Pitting departments against one another

  • Creating teams in the same department and having them compete against each other

  • Or by allowing people to compete as individuals

Here is a quick overview of the new system adoption contest plan that you can follow:

No Activity Type Why does this work? Points Timeline/ Frequency
1 Download/ install the new system and login This activity encourages users to download/ install the new system and login into it before the timeline. Although this is a simple activity for the employees to complete, adding points to it motivates them to finish it quickly. 20 points on completion Timeline: 1 week
2 Complete a simple activity

Choose an activity that can be completed quickly. It can be the starting point of using the application.

For a CRM, it could be, to create the 1st opportunity.

For an HRMS system, it could be filling out employment details

30 points on completion Timeline: 1 week
3 Pulse Survey Conduct surveys once in a while to capture the feedback of users' experience with the new system 10 points on completion Frequency: Once in 3 months
4 Microlearning Feeds Send microlearning feeds twice a week to the users to reinforce new system training. These should be personalized by business function and role. This helps the users remember all the features of the new system and their usage for a longer time. Frequency: Twice a week
5 Quizzes Send short quiz tests with 5 questions once every week to help your users recall the new system information. This also helps you to access their knowledge retention 5 points per correct answer Frequency: Once a week

Awards for the Contest Winners:

At the end of each month, add up the scores of each individual from all the activities. Determine the winners and reward them with exciting prizes.

Here are some award ideas for the top performers of this contest:

  • Download Champs: Present this award to the first team that achieves 100% download and login

  • Fast Starter: Present this award to the first person who completes all the activities

  • Lead by Example: This award goes to the first team to complete all the activities

For more creative employee award and incentive ideas, check out the blogs below:

Looking to implement a contest software for your teams?

Learn about the 9 specific features that you need to look out for in a contest software. Also, find out what contest software tools are trending in the market right now.

SmartWinnr: A gamified platform to drive end-user adoption of the new system successfully

SmartWinnr’s AI-powered gamification platform helps you to successfully drive the new system adoption at various stages at your organization. You can use this one single platform to drive new system communication, new system training, and gamified adoption. This helps you achieve a highly effective end-user adoption.

To explore more, book a free demo with us today!

Published on Mon Oct 26 2020

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