Learn how to yield better business results by focusing on the end-user experience
Sept. 27, 2021 | By Emily Chung
While the use of new technology platforms continues to increase rapidly—as well as the opportunities for digitalization—the end-user technology experience is often left behind in the adoption process. Ironically, the people who will need to use the system are the ones who end up experiencing the most anxiety if they can’t understand why it matters or how to do it. Similar to how digitalization is sweeping across our daily lives, learning and development is evolving as well—offering more features and functionality other than synchronous classroom training.
The success of any technology implementation hinges on users having the required skills and confidence to adopt a new behavior. End-user adoption should focus on equipping end users with the practical skills they need to perform better on the job, given a new or different system or tool.
End-user adoption success requires understanding people readiness
Understanding the people readiness component of learning and change management, as well as end-user adoption (EUA) will set an organization up for success. Through a comprehensive approach to EUA, your organization should aim to:
- Reduce anxiety for end users that will use the system on day one and beyond
- Respond to a development environment of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA)
- Continually measure impact of learning interventions and adjust accordingly
- Treat adoption like a marathon, not a sprint
- Build experiences with new systems or tools that create satisfaction and confidence
Four ways to approach end-user adoption
Four key strategies to approach EUA based on the principles of Modern Agile:
1. Experiment and learn rapidly
Make experiments “safe to fail” and encourage conducting them often. Continuously iterate and improve when something isn’t working by experimenting frequently. Communication of hypotheses, outcomes, learnings and planning for the most common pitfalls builds trust and momentum. Experiments can range from capstone projects in training bootcamps or other practice activities in courses to less formal learning activities.
2. Make safety a prerequisite
Too often, people are afraid of change, making mistakes or speaking up. Success doesn’t happen if people are fearful—safety needs to come first. Psychological safety must be present in collaboration, communication, products and services. For instance, this means protecting people’s time, information, reputation, money, health and relationships. This also means ensuring people feel safe to be themselves when dealing with the change that a new system or tool requires.
3. Make people awesome
Understand what is important to your audience to help them achieve the best results. Throughout this process, challenge yourself to think big and reach beyond incremental improvements or simple step-by-step instruction. These efforts may lack the contextual details for real world implementation once you are back on the job. Collaboration, communication, empathy, sharing, openness, transparency and trust are needed to learn about context, pain points and aspirations of why a system and tool was developed in the first place. This can happen through formal training and education along with informal learning opportunities such as podcasts, buddy meet ups and retrospectives.
4. Deliver value continuously
Consider shifting to a Modern Agile approach, showing incremental change in a regular cadence. If you deliver value regularly (i.e. topic review versus waiting until a larger “alpha” or “beta” review), you can consistently learn about what delights your users. Delivering value can be as simple as sharing a half-baked idea and quickly receiving feedback. Don’t shy away from raising ideas because it wasn’t originally “scoped.” All in all, if you aren’t talking about what would be valuable to the audience and to your clients on a regular basis, it isn’t going to help anyone.
About the Author
Emily Chung oversees a team that drives people readiness, learning, technology adoption and onboarding services within our clients’ organizations. These programs focus on building a future workforce with tomorrow’s skills and changing behavior needed to impact productivity.