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The Impact of Digital Adoption on Change Management

 The business world is in constant flux. Disruptive technologies emerge to break up the status quo; companies change course to serve exciting new markets; while new management, personnel, and best practices come and go.

Most changes happen well outside our control. Regulations, political upheaval, and macroeconomic trends are just some of the things businesses need to navigate from time to time. But other changes occur when organizations embrace new goals, technology, or processes; these are the types of transitions we can affect.

Change management is the strategic discipline that seeks to implement transformations effectively. While it is a broad and varied area, digital transformation sits at the heart of change management in an increasingly technological world.   

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How change management and digital adoption are related

Advanced communication tools, cloud infrastructure, accessible software, and widespread WiFi have all burst onto the scene over the last 10 to 15 years. This technology has led to a golden age of software that has transformed how we do business.

New and groundbreaking apps have opened up several opportunities. A considerable part of change management focuses on digital adoption, the process of learning to embrace digital technologies to their fullest extent and value.

But as anyone who has ever tried to implement new initiatives or tech in the workplace knows, change is never quite as straightforward as it seems. You need to be considerate and deliberate, and you can't leave anything to chance. These are just some of the reasons why a digital adoption platform like Usetiful should be part of your change management initiatives, especially where they intersect with introducing new technology.

Let's explore some of the most significant barriers to change management and show how a digital adoption solution can not just address these issues but help your business thrive.

#1. Resistance to new tools

Picture the scenario. You've researched new work tools, done the cost-benefit analysis, and now you're ready to roll them out across the workforce. These are exciting times because your business will become more efficient, productive, or capable of offering excellent new services for your customers.    

The only problem? Your employees aren't happy about all the upheaval.

Humans are notoriously resistant to change, especially in the workplace. New technology brings about fears of being replaced, left behind, or getting forced from the comfort zone.

Now, there are a few elements here that any change management adherent needs to consider. Transparency and good communication are vital to helping your employees adjust to the new reality. But when it comes to adopting new tools, businesses should take a leaf from the software developers' book.

App development is hyper-competitive. Most new products get one shot at user adoption before potential customers are off to try an alternative product.

If you want to get someone to adopt a piece of software, you can bore them with dry technical details. Or, you can show them how it benefits them and solves their problems. In SaaS circles, they talk a lot about the Aha moment as the point in time a user realizes the value of a product. You can also use this phenomenon to help your employees embrace new technology.  

💡Digital adoption platforms are an excellent way to show a product's aha moment. For example, you can build an interactive product tour that takes your employees through all the features and shows them what they can achieve with their new tools. Maybe it's saving time, reducing repetitive tasks, or even allowing them to achieve things they couldn't with your legacy systems. Whatever it might be, an interactive product tour is a great way to do it.  

While you might think that making an interactive product tour is a highly technical task, DAP tools like Usetiful are no-code. Intuitive interfaces with drag-and-drop components mean you can quickly and easily overlay product tours that help reduce employee resistance to new tools.

There was a great piece published in the Harvard Business Review around the time of the COVID-19 pandemic called Why Do Your Employees Resist New Tech? The article explains and addresses many of the issues that hamper digital adoption in the workplace. It’s well worth a read for anyone grappling with employees that are reluctant to adopt new tools.

#2. Poor training

Change management invariably means that employees need to learn new things. Again, this is a point where you might meet resistance. It's not that employees aren't interested in learning and development; if anything, surveys show that is really important to them

The big problems arise more from how people are taught. 

Classroom style, top-down training is outdated. Employees don't want to be taken away from their work to sit in a room and watch power point presentations that they'll forget in a few days. Learning by doing is a far more engaging and memorable way to learn.

💡Digital adoption platforms are perfect for this type of scenario. Through building product tours and walkthroughs, you can allow your workers to interact with new software tools. As they adjust to new software or workflows, your DAP can provide the support they need in subtle and unobtrusive ways, like tooltips. 

A lot of firms turn to Learning Management Systems (LMS) to help with training during times of great transition. While these solutions act as a valuable repository for learning materials, they have several disadvantages. Some of the drawbacks of using an LMS include:

  • Increased administrative burdens

  • High costs

  • Indirect training of software tools

  • Inability to cater to a diversity of learning styles

Once again, a digital adoption platform can help you overcome some disadvantages of using an LMS. For example, a DAP can augment the self-directed training on the platform and help teams reinforce and contextualize what they have learned. What’s more, you can actually use a DAP as an alternative to learning management systems, saving time and money and delivering training in a way that research shows that students overwhelmingly prefer.

#3. Reluctance to adopt new workflows or business processes

If you thought that resistance to adopting new tech was the only barrier to change management that your employees would put up, you’d be wrong. Researchers have been tackling this problem since the 1940s, with authors like Carl Lewin and Coch and French writing some of the earliest analyses on the subject.

Resistance to change is a profoundly complex problem. Many analysts suggest it’s a hardwired response within our brains to protect us from perceived threats. As such, the issues go deeper than feeling uncomfortable with new software.

Change management is also about adopting new ways of doing things. There is a significant crossover here with digital transformation in general because a lot of the advances that companies make come in the form of new, more efficient workflows. 

These kinds of changes go beyond adjusting to new work tools. They are about learning how software stacks work together to create more productive business processes. Again, Usetiful is a big help here, especially the Usetiful Extension.  

If you have a sizable software stack — and let's be real, who doesn't these days? — separate training on each program won't necessarily give each employee a look at the “bigger picture.” 

💡Usetiful Extension allows you to train employees with step-by-step in-app guidance or even build complex onboarding flows across a wide range of properties. It works with any WordPress sites and browser-based 3rd party software, which allows teams to run product tours and onboarding content that reflect the business processes that are part of your change management plans. 

#4. Solid onboarding practices

Another element of change management is personnel restructuring or making new hires. Your company might be pursuing aggressive growth in developing markets or pivoting into areas that need particular skill sets. Whatever the specifics, each new hire poses a risk.

Hiring is hard these days. The average time to fill a vacancy is more than 40 days. Add to this issue that about 20% of new hires quit within the first three months, leaving you down time and money, and back at square one. 

Great onboarding experiences are a predictor of employee retention. If you get them right, you can cut time to productivity (TTP), seriously reduce turnover, and forge stronger employer-employee relationships.

💡Again, digital adoption platforms can help you make a great first impression. Tools like Usetiful help ensure your employees know how to use the tools of their trade, thanks to product tours, tooltips, onboarding checklists, and in-app access to knowledge bases.   

What’s more, Usetiful now integrates with the powerful automation platform Zapier. As a result, you can explain complex workflows by connecting Usetiful with your entire software stack.

Another important feature you can use is Usetiful Reports. Our analytics option helps you keep track of new hire onboarding, allowing you to intervene if they're struggling or haven't completed all the stages.

Final thoughts

Change is difficult for both your organization and your employees. There are a lot of elements that sit outside your control. However, digital adoption doesn’t need to be one of them. 

Digital adoption solutions like Usetiful stand at the forefront of digital transformation. They can help employees embrace and get value from new software, boost training, and ensure that any new hires feel ready and confident to make meaningful contributions within your organization.  

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