How to Get Your Team to Adopt New Tools
We often have a difficult time getting our teams to adopt new tools. Learn how to make the transition seamless with our step-by-step guide.
Imagine a world where modern spreadsheet software no longer existed—we’d be going back decades.
Businesses would have to go back to the manual ways of meaning their finances. And we would have trouble keeping track of all the information handed to us daily. Looking back at history, it’s clear that software has provided a huge array of benefits which makes the modern age more productive across every industry.
Of course, not everyone is excited by new software tools.
It’s often a challenge to get your team to quickly adjust to change to a change in your standard operating procedures (SOPs) when you introduce a new tool.
After all, the first time spreadsheet software was introduced for computers, it was likely met with resistance and still competed with old-fashioned pen and paper. Despite new tools providing benefits, people are hesitant to adjust when they’ve been doing something the same way for a long time.
So, how do you get your team to adopt new tools?
In this article, we discuss some tips that will help you ease your team into adopting new software and make the change smooth sailing.
Table of contents
Why Are Teams Hesitant to Adopt New Tools?
Generally, teams have a set routine for work and that’s reflected in your SOPs and other processes. Introducing new tools can disrupt that daily routine, which makes team members hesitant to adopt that shiny new software.
Fundamentally, there are 4 reasons behind a team’s hesitance to learn new tools.
- Changes to the job – Introducing new software, regardless of whether it makes work more efficient, changes their already formed habits. This makes your team members reluctant to software adoption.
- No one to promote new tools – If no one takes the lead in the adoption process by sharing the benefits and tutorials, then your software implementation is going to be rough.
- Efficiency isn’t measurable – If team members don’t have a clear idea of the benefits of a tool, implementation will be harder. Address this by using concrete numbers that are convincing like, “You’ll work 20% faster with this tool.” or “You’ll save 30 minutes every day.”
- Lack of communication – When management implements new software without warning, team members will be reluctant to use it. If people are surprised by new protocols, how can you expect them to be willing to change?
Avoid these common mistakes to get everyone up to speed and eager to use your new systems. You should update your SOPs clearly and make sure everyone knows how to use the tools to rescue any friction. We’ll cover more steps in the next section.
Implement New Software Through These Steps
Once you know what causes team members to avoid new software, you need to address these concerns.
But how do you do that?
We recommend a step-by-step process that gathers team members’ opinions and discusses the advantages of the software. Then you can far more successfully implement new tools with your team. Here are the 5 steps to take to make the transition easier for your team so they adopt the new tools quickly and easily:
1. Organize Your Needs
First, there needs to be a reason behind implementing new software.
Will it provide increased productivity? Will it improve revenue? Does it increase communication? You first need to address the question of “why.” Having this reason will help you get support not only from your team members—but also from executives who need you to justify the new tools.
You can also take note of the problem that you want to be addressed. Then, by identifying the benchmarks you’re starting with, you can measure the success of implementation. Next, you have to test it out before you commit your entire team to use it.
2. Implement a Dry Run
Test out the software yourself.
Most software companies will offer a 14-day free trial. Use the trial period to test the merits of using the software with yourself or a few key members of your team. Because if you rush into it—you could make the same mistake Hershey’s chocolate did in 1999.
Just before the new millennium, Hershey’s implemented a new order and distribution system before they actually knew if it worked. Worse yet, they did it during their busiest time of year—Halloween—which resulted in a 19% drop in profits.
So, before you start using new technology, take note of the following:
- Is the software user-friendly?
- Does it provide advantages over your current platforms?
- Does it make your job easier?
- Is it working effectively or slowing you down?
If you experience improvements in your work during the trial period, you can consider adopting the software and move on to the next step. If not, then be thankful you’ve dodged a bullet.
3. Share Your Findings With Management
Once you have first-hand experience with the new tool, you can introduce it to your leadership team. A new software tool isn’t usually free, so you will need to sell the higher-ups on the benefits before they can approve the budget for it.
It needs to answer problems like:
- Will it make employee jobs easier?
- Will it provide a better cost-effective solution?
- Does it improve our service to our customers?
Having company leaders demo the software can be a good motivator for team members.
4. Sell the Software
After convincing company management of the benefits of a new tool, you can introduce it to your team.
Just like you did for your executives, you have to persuade everyone else of the benefits of the new software, too. After all, if they don’t use it—what was the point? You have to show your team the upsides of the new software so they’ll adopt new tools faster.
Do this by setting up a demonstration where you exhibit the features of the software. Also, make sure you share resources on how to use the tools with new SOPs and a location for tutorials should they need them in the future.
You should also assign a project lead for software implementation. By working with them to demo for the rest of the team, you’re making it easy for the team to ask questions to the project lead if you’re busy.
Highlight features of the tool such as:
- The Familiar – Emphasize features of the tool that appeal to a sense of familiarity and how its resembles what you use before.
- The Useful – Software with features like better task organization can be a great incentive for tool implementation. Be sure to highlight these.
- The Fun – If the software provides ways for team members to express themselves, it’s a good idea to spotlight these qualities. Features like display picture customization, GIF integration, and emoji support can entice team members.
When you emphasize the best parts of the software and work with your project lead, you won’t have to sell the software to your team. Instead, it’ll practically sell itself.
5. Share Learning Tools and Benchmarks
After your demonstration, you need to set up your team members with everything they need when you’re not there to help them. Share interactive learning tools to improve software implementation and any resources for them to refer back to.
The faster people learn how to use the tool, the more likely they are to transition.
Add to that, you need to share benchmarks with the team. Encourage them to observe the benchmarks you’ve noted in step 2, so have first-hand accounts of improvements over the previous tools.
When you make learning easy and improvements measurable, you’ll make software implementation easier.
With Your Team Onboard, Efficiency Improves
Here at Userwell, we understand that adopting a new product can be challenging. No matter how easy to use a tool is, it can be tricky to get everyone excited and on board for new software. Getting your team on the same page should therefore be your primary concern.
After all, a better tool is useless to your company if your team doesn’t want to use it. New software might provide benefits that can improve workflow and increase productivity, but if your team isn’t on board you won’t see any of those benefits.
Once they understand the benefits of the new tools, implementation comes easily. By following this guide, you can better convince your team to adopt new tools — keeping your management team and everyone else happy when it works.