Want to Increase Employee Software Adoption? Prioritize Ease of Use

Employee software adoption is one of the most crucial parts of business technology implementation. After all, if your employees do not actually use the software you’ve invested in, your ROI will be negligible, and your efficiency and profitability will remain the same—or might even decrease if the software disrupts essential processes.

Business people office life of team people working with papers sitting table. Team working together for Employee Software Adoption

Therefore, it’s vital to have a plan for increasing employee software adoption when you’re implementing new software. In this blog, we’ll go over why software adoption is important, how to increase software adoption, and discuss one of the most important factors of employee software adoption: ease of use.

Why is Software Adoption Important? 

To begin, let’s look at the importance of employee software adoption in more depth. Software adoption improves:

  • Employee Retention and Satisfaction

Employees need to feel empowered, capable, and supported in the workplace. These feelings translate into greater employee retention. One of the best ways to create these feelings of empowerment and confidence is by giving employees the best tools available for their work.

There are software solutions available that could help every department in your company, from accounting to manufacturing to HR. With the right software, employees can automate previously slow manual tasks, freeing themselves up for higher-value (and, usually, more satisfactory) work. Software adoption, as long as it is paired with appropriate training, can also contribute to employees’ professional development, providing value to them personally as well as the company.

  • Digital Transformation

Many companies have prioritized digital transformation, especially with the advent of AI and rapidly expanding technological capabilities. However, your company can’t digitally transform in the abstract. Digital transformation requires real people—your employees—to use a software solution to its fullest extent. For example, even if all your departments have access to a cloud repository to store documents, if your employees don’t know how to log into that repository, they’ll still print out documents and lock them in a file cabinet. Digital transformation requires widespread employee software adoption.

  • Productivity, Efficiency, and ROI

Many software solutions proclaim their ability to improve your company’s productivity and efficiency, therefore giving you a large ROI for your software purchase. While it’s true that automating processes can indeed improve productivity and efficiency, once again, what matters is how many people actually use the software. In fact, if a manager or executive implements software that automates a certain process, but does not inform or train the employees, employees’ productivity and efficiency may actually decrease, as they will produce duplicate work or perform processes that interfere with the software’s workflow.

  • Customer experience

It seems a little counterintuitive to say that employee software adoption can improve customer experience, but it’s true. For example, many CRM systems will include automated email capabilities as well as a record of each customer interaction. If used widely, a CRM can unify customer data and ensure that any customer service representative can access the customer’s relevant data. But if employees are not using the CRM, interactions will go unrecorded, possibly resulting in duplicate communications or an inquiry getting lost.

How to Increase Software Adoption 

Now that we’ve gone over why software adoption is important, let’s get practical: how can you increase software adoption within your business?

  • Take advantage of your vendor’s resources

You should take advantage of any training materials your software vendor provides, whether that is in the form of whitepapers, in-person or virtual training sessions, or something else. This is a strategy that often gets overlooked! There’s no sense in duplicating work that someone else has done already, and your vendor will know your unique software system inside and out. This step is especially important if your vendor has customized your system or integrated it with any of your other software solutions, since they are the only ones that can train your employees on these unique features.

  • Strategically plan the rollout

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” These words have been written on innumerable office inspiration boards, but they are all too often ignored. A new software solution needs a detailed rollout plan, just like a new product would.

You’ll need to make sure the relevant teams know the change is coming, what the software will look like, and how it will impact them individually—all before you actually put the software in place. You’ll want to get executives on board, then managers, and so on down the “chain of command” in order to increase buy-in. You’ll need to make sure trainings are scheduled at appropriate intervals (and advertised!) and make sure that anyone who has questions will know whom to ask.

  • Address employee concerns

The bigger the change, the more important it is to regularly solicit feedback about the software. Take employee concerns seriously, especially the ones from those employees who interact with the software most often. When employees realize their voices will be heard, software adoption becomes more of a collaborative endeavor, not just a top-down command.

  • Provide extensive training

This step almost goes without saying. Training is one of the most powerful drivers of software adoption. Make sure your training sessions are flexible as well as personalized: give unique demonstrations to different teams if they will be using the software in different ways. Schedule multiple sessions at different times and on different days to accommodate hybrid schedules. Schedule both in-person and virtual sessions. Ask for employee feedback on the sessions and adjust them accordingly.

  • Gamify adoption and encourage early adopters

Gamification is a popular way to create engagement across many different situations, and software adoption is no different. If you can, find a way to gamify adoption, whether that’s through a training course with modules and badges, an interactive training session (perhaps with a “scavenger hunt” through the software?), or the chance to enter a raffle for a prize after completing certain tasks.

The Most Important Factor: Ease of Use 

While these strategies can help you encourage software adoption amongst your employees, they will all be ineffective if the software isn’t easy to use. Software that makes your employees’ work more complicated is completely counterproductive and will cost you more in time and money than it saves. So, what are some ways to make sure your new software is easy to use?

  • Talk to employees

Software that’s easy to use for one person may be very difficult to use for another, so it’s unreasonable to expect that everyone will love your software solution. However, it’s important to find out the specific needs of the relevant teams within your company before choosing software. Do they need automation? Document storage? Automatic notifications? Meeting specific needs is a huge part of ease of use.

  • Create a UX team

UX, or user experience, is a field within software development (and other fields) that focuses on optimizing human-technology interaction. Although you may not have UX experts at your company, you can create a team of people to handle the rollout of the software with a focus on user experience. Ideally, this team would work with willing users to test out certain features of the software and gain feedback before the solution rolls out to the entire company.

  • Document processes

It’s important to document step-by-step guides to key processes within the software. This point goes along with your training strategy, but it emphasizes that employees need written guidance they can refer back to as they learn. Make sure these documents are easy to find, whether on the company intranet or elsewhere.

  • Measure and analyze usage

Some software solutions include analysis of feature usage, giving you reports on how many people used the software within a given timeframe—or even what features they used. If you have access to this data, analyze it to determine where employees are getting “stuck” and how widespread your software adoption really is.

We’re Here to Help! 

If this process looks daunting to you, don’t worry! We’re here to help. At Laminin, we specialize in implementing personalized, high-quality business information systems. Not only can we help with the technical side of things, but we can also help you create a rollout and training strategy to encourage software adoption. If you’re interested, contact us today.