Keys to Driving Adoption: How to Get Employees on Board with Your New Internal App
You're looking to implement a new internal application for your company and have concerns that employees will reject the new solution. What can you do to ensure that they'll not only download the application but engage with it as well?
In this post, we outline a number of ways to protect your investment and make sure it isn't wasted. Our strategies are broken down into three categories — discovery, pre-launch, and post-launch — based on the point in the implementation timeline that they should be deployed.
Before you worry about employees becoming active users of your new internal app, you first need to make decisions on the kind of app you’re going to implement. Whether you’re choosing an off-the-shelf product, engaging vendors for a custom-built solution, or building an app with your internal IT team, the discovery stage is crucial to reaching a successful outcome.
At this stage, you’re identifying the sort of application that will provide the company with the most benefits and likely have a wish list of features bouncing around in your head.
Maybe you’ve even taken a step further and sat down for a few product demos, watched a webinar or two, or worked with an internal development team to discuss preliminary requirements. However, you’re not sure what the ideal, final solution really looks like at this point. There are a couple strategies you can take to help navigate the murky waters at this stage of the process:
- Crowdsource Requirements: As you begin to plan how your internal application will be used, it's beneficial to seek out insight from the individuals who will be using the app. This can be done through company surveys, town hall meetings, or informal interviews. In doing so, the final solution will be better suited to the needs of the individuals, who will feel more ownership over the solution, and therefore be more likely to adopt the app. Even if you decide not to move forward with the application, your employees will feel better connected to the company just by being consulted on the project.
- Involve Other Leaders: As with any high-impact initiative, when deciding on a new internal application, it helps to hear a wide range of perspectives from people in various leadership positions. You may be absolutely sure about what goals you’d like to achieve and the issues the app could remedy, but someone leading a different department or team may see another valuable use case that you would’ve never thought of. By including other senior leaders in the discovery phase, you’ll have better support and stewardship of the app from those individuals within their respective departments.
Following the discovery phase comes the pre-launch process. At this point, you’ve made the decision on what kind of solution you’ll be implementing, you know the features it provides to your employees, and you’ve even got the green light for funding. In other words, here’s where things start to get real.
During this stage, the focus is on putting the proper policies and people in place to help ensure a smooth and successful launch.
In addition to creating clear guidelines around the use of the app and establishing the people that will be in charge of supporting the app’s launch, the pre-launch phase also focuses on making your employees aware of and excited about the new tool that’s coming soon.
Our client experience has given us a number of tactics that you can use to make this part of the implementation process go further toward making your app successful in the long run.
- Pilot Program: Launching a new technology inside your company can be incredibly daunting. Test drive your new app with a beta group to establish best practices. In doing so, you get early feedback on the app, its functionality, and its feature set before launching it fully. The pilot will also help establish best practices for the app and how it should be used.
- Product Champions: Whether you take the time to do a pilot program for your new app or not, drafting a team of product champions is incredibly valuable for driving adoption of your new technology. Your product champions will be a dedicated team dispersed throughout your company that helps get users acquainted with the features and abilities that the new app provides. Other employees will be more inclined to use the app if there is already a large active group of users, and your product champions will feel rewarded for their participation in the launch.
You did it! You launched your company’s internal app and you’ve successfully helped move the organization forward. Now the hard work is over right? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.
To really make the most of any digital solution, it takes continued support and focus to achieve the desired results. After all, if no one is using the app 6 months after you launch, all the time and effort you’ve put in will have been for nothing.
What can you do to keep engagement with your new tool high long after you’ve launched? We’ve got a couple ideas to help you out.
- Keep it Exciting: Ever been to a bad party where a) not enough people showed up, and b) those that did weren’t very interested in being there? That’s a little bit what an internal app that isn't maintained nor updated feels like. Keep users coming back to the app with fresh and up-to-date content and features. Users will feel more compelled to open the app and experience the latest it has to offer.
- Mission Critical: One of the most effective strategies companies use to drive adoption for a new internal app is to make the content and features within the app required for employees to be able to do their jobs. Make your new app a critical part of an employee’s day-to-day work. For your organization, the mission-critical info or feature that you keep within your internal app could be anything. It just needs to be something that is important for your employees to be able to do their jobs effectively.
Whether your tool is used for communication, project management, expense reports, or anything else, the strategies we've included can make it easier for your employees to adopt the solution.
If you're interested in learning more about Village, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org — we look forward to hearing from you!