Managing Change: Five Ways To Improve User Adoption

Identifying ways to improve user adoption should be a core goal of your change management plan from the beginning. When your impacted audience confirms, accepts, and utilizes the change, you’ll know user adoption was a success. The higher your rate and speed of adoption, the more successful your implementation will be.

Without user adoption, the probability of your change sticking falls and your change management efforts may feel like a waste. As we covered in our prior blog, the Rogers Adoption Curve visualizes five different groups and what drives them to accept or reject change—identifying where those impacted within your organization fit on the curve allows you to anticipate and overcome any challenges they may present.

Here are five tips to help you improve user adoption and make your change a thriving success.

1. Plan for Follow-Up

User adoption happens when your audience has accepted and implemented the change you’ve introduced. We’ve found one of the leading causes of low adoption is a lack of follow-up post implementation. You’ve done the work, communicated the values, and recruited a team to help champion the change. Then you launch…and you do nothing. Change management isn’t one and done – without ongoing support, there is a high risk of losing buy-in and reverting back to the prior approach. It is imperative to have a plan for ongoing support, feedback, and improvement post implementation to help users adapt over time. They say it takes 21 days to build a habit – keep that in mind to aid in long-term user adoption.

2. Know Your Laggards

Of the five types of adopters defined in Roger’s Adoption Curve, the crowd to be most concerned with is the laggards. These are the users who resist change and are most likely to make their voice heard. They may speak negatively about the transition to others in an attempt to convince them the change is unnecessary, will make work more difficult and time consuming, or push them out of a job, among other things. Identifying who the potential detractors are and creating a strategy to mitigate any negativity they may produce will help ensure acceptance and success of the transition.

Strategies for Laggards:

– One-on-one feedback sessions
– Focused training opportunities
– Targeted communications to debunk perceived negative impacts
– Utilize metrics to prove the positive impacts of your proposed change

3. Use Beta Testers and Incorporate Feedback

Consider developing a team of beta testers to test and provide feedback on your change prior to full launch. Doing so will help work out any kinks ahead of time and allow users to speak positively about your change. This also ensures your audience is involved and feels heard, and when people feel like they are part of the change, you’re likely to see a higher adoption rate.

4. Have a “Change Champion” Team

A change champion team is made up of influential people who love what’s changing and are excited to get others excited. They’re knowledgeable, open-minded, and approachable. It’s even possible they were initially detractors, but through hands-on involvement have become advocates! Strong change champions act as a spokesperson for their teams and can also be your first line of support for others who have questions. Work with your organization to develop a change champions program that is an opportunity and privilege to be a part of!

5. Clearly and Consistently Communicate the Why

Communicating the “why” behind your change should start from the get-go. Ensuring people understand why the change is happening will help them accept rather than fight your efforts. Remember that the why applies to both the organizational and role-specific levels. It should be personal and meaningful so your users come along with you. Additionally, your messaging needs to be communicated clearly and consistently across the organization for the greatest impact.

What Have You Done to Improve User Adoption?

How quickly do you think 100% user adoption is possible at your organization? Have you been on either side of a change, either as a user or as part of the change management team? We’d love to hear your tips to improve user adoption – things you’ve loved or things you think could have been improved!

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