So you’ve decided to invest in a workforce scheduling solution which will boost communication between your office and various teams assigned to work at various locations. Now the fun begins! Now you need to introduce your new system to your staff and freelancers.
Implementing new software is often one of the most painful stages of a company’s life – particularly when there is a large userbase of varying degrees of interest or engagement. And with that, user onboarding is never a uniform experience. Every business is different and the user profile is likely to be unique in a number of key areas. However, my experience in helping hundreds of businesses roll out new workflows has taught me that there are methods to ease this process.
So here are my 5 user onboarding tips to ensure a smooth rollout of your workforce scheduling software…
1 – Profile Your Userbase, Then Build Your Strategy
This is less of a tip, more of a ‘must-do’. Any rollout requires forethought and planning and in this you will need to map out a journey of how you see each user’s various touch points with the application your are attempting to implement. Where does each new interaction diverge from their current, soon to be previous, workflow? Will there be push-back? What’s the learning curve? How do we make it easier for them?
Your answers to these questions depend completely on the profile of each user and will impact your onboarding strategy. It could become clear that you might require different strategies to target each user type. If this seems like a lot of work, it might well be. However your business will not benefit from any new way of doing things without engagement from all users that you require input to make the system work. No pain – no gain.
2 – Delegate an Advocate
Whether you play the role, or another team member does, the rollout and continued success of an application in your company will not only rely on the ease of use of the new app, but also on who in the company is driving the engagement. The advocate is usually the most educated on how the company need the software to work and is largely responsible for implementing the company’s onboarding strategy. With this, your advocate will naturally become the go-to ‘guy’ or ‘gal’ for minor support issues and the role will require sufficient knowledge on the functionality on how the application works.
When getting involved with a company to help onboard uTRAC, we will usually work closely with an advocate and provide tailored training, support and materials so they successfully can drive the adoption of uTRAC and ensure immediate ROI for the business with a seamless transition for their userbase.
3 – Manage Your Rollout Like a Marketing Campaign
After you’ve outlined your user profiles, you will likely have a schedule in mind with regards to getting the message out to each user type. A user onboarding campaign within a business can be managed similarly to a marketing campaign. Identify the value proposition of the new way of doing things for each user type and make them clear in your communications.
Repetition of message is also vital. Utilize a variety of mediums such as posters, booklets, emails, and texts, to emphasize their requirements and ensure that you have clear call to actions so user actions align with your adoption goals. An often successful strategy we employ with companies is to build a campaign around an event (or events) so your expectations from them are clear with a target date for their objectives. This allows them to plan any time they need to devote to the new application around their current work requirements. With this in mind, it’s also important to advertise clearly when old processes are retired to avoid any inclination to stay comfortable and avoid anything new.
4 – Less Friction = More Success
Unfortunately it is in a lot of people’s nature just to keep doing what is familiar, even when it is less efficient, so the more you bridge that gap from what is familiar to what is completely new, the more immediate the results.The user profile will allow you to identify the various pain points each user will have from transitioning to a new way of doing things so consider which steps are essential and which ones can be delegated elsewhere.
In my experience, companies going for an ‘everything now’ approach to user onboarding may suffer from lower engagement rates due to over burdening their userbase with a larger than necessary learning curve. It is often the case that a staggered rollout is the most beneficial strategy. This requires a longer rollout schedule so it is important to decide how you prioritize various parts of your new system.
5 – The Carrot and The Stick
Taking a look at the value proposition aspect of tip 3, it can be a great help to set up your new application so that the value of the app is instantly demonstrable for the user. I like to consider this instant gratification aspect of the user experience as ‘the carrot approach’. It’s the users’ realization of ‘oh! if I do it this way, I get this from it’. A common approach is to gamify the user experience so certain tasks are rewarded with points or credits to create a type of subconscious ‘carrot’.
However there are simpler ways to reward interaction, such as access to relevant information. With uTRAC, we always recommend that staff and freelancers have access to their historic and upcoming job information when they first log in to our application. This instant gratification gives them the confidence that this will be a continuously updated interface and they become encouraged to interact again as there will be a guaranteed ‘carrot’ of new information for them.
A more drastic approach would be, the predictable, ‘stick’ approach, obviously referring to encouraging engagement by punishing non-engagement. Sometimes a system you are attempting to implement doesn’t have any ‘carrots’ for particular users as the ultimate benefits lie with the business owners or other user types. Either way, the negative consequences of relying on the familiar way of doing things may need to be made clear to users that you require engagement from. One extremely effective ‘stick’ approach is a denial of access to information without engaging in the behavior you are trying to encourage. If the umbilical chord from an old comfortable way of doing things is cut, you will soon learn to walk and log in to the only place that has the answers to your questions.