Over the years, we’ve worked with a lot of businesses who have had a tough time when introducing a new tool into their team. While some of the pain and frustration they experienced could have been avoided by thoroughly testing the tool first, some of it came from not getting staff buy-in early on. These common missteps when it comes to employee involvement are usually easy to resolve.
The businesses who had the best success with a new tool were often the ones who engaged staff during the trial process, and invested in training when the tool was first implemented in the business.
Employee buy-in is critical when your business changes over to a new system, no matter how large or small the change is. As the people who will likely use the new tool day in and day out, their inexperience or apathy towards it can severely hamper productivity and erode team morale. Getting you team involved with finding and choosing any new business app will not only help you avoid issues further down the line, but also improve staff engagement.
How can you get employees to buy into an app? Involve them from the beginning! Deciding on a new tool doesn’t have to be a big team decision (too many cooks in the kitchen, etc.), but it should involve key staff members who will know what issues you’re trying to solve.
These are the common steps that successful businesses take when finding and implementing a new tool.
#1 - Involve key staff members during the trial process
Today most cloud apps will let you have a free trial before you sign up. We strongly advise doing this so that you can get a real sense for what the tool does and how it will work for you. Getting a couple of key staff members involved in this process – people who will likely use the tool everyday – will help you see potential issues or opportunities early on. Here are the benefits of getting them involved:
- Ideally you should be testing real world scenarios during your trial. Your team’s knowledge and input will be invaluable during this step. If they can't directly trial the product, show them a demo of the app, which will still generate good feedback.
- They can become a champion for the app and, if you decide to continue with the app, they can help onboard other staff members.
- They can help you to determine what issues you’re trying to solve with the app, what your dealbreakers are, what the ‘nice-to-haves’ are, and what you can do without.
#2 - Invest in training for staff
Just because an app is ‘easy-to-use’ or ‘intuitive’, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in training for your staff. Training, even a simple walk-through, is part of a great onboarding process – it helps new users feel comfortable and confident when they first get into the software because they’ve seen it before. It also means that they can start using the software earlier, faster.
#3 - Find app champions
Alongside demos and app specific training sessions with the software provider, find and encourage app champions amongst your staff. These people could be super users or admins for the product who you can utilise to provide training for new and existing staff members. This is a great way to invest in professional development for staff and increase engagement.
#4 - Have regular health check-ups
So your staff love the new app, they know how to use it, and you’ve successfully introduced it into your business – great! Employee buy-in doesn’t stop there though. Regularly checking in with how staff are finding the app and how they’re using it will:
- Highlight opportunities for further training
- Identify super users
- Help you determine the usefulness of the app and if there’s a gap another tool could fill
- Determine the success of your change management processes
Regular check-ups will show employees that their input is valuable and appreciated, further increasing engagement at work.
These are common steps that we’ve seen businesses take to successfully find and implement a new app. While they’re simple, they’re often overlooked or forgotten in the rush to get a new tool up and running. By involving staff early on during the trial process, investing in training, and having regular health check-ups, you can ensure employee buy-in for the new tool, and encourage staff engagement.