Thursday, September 15, 2011

User Adoption: Ensuring a Smooth Transition to a New Talent Management System

Let’s face it – change isn’t always welcomed or accepted especially when it comes to introducing new technology into a business environment. One would assume that employees and managers would be champing at the bit to use an automated and intuitive Talent Management System that would streamline and automate  core talent management processes. But…you know what they say about assuming.

The reality is that people are scared of change and are even more afraid of change that involves a new technology. Before introducing a new technology into the workplace, it is vital that an adoption plan is in place to ensure that everyone is motivated, willing, and able to jump on board.

Fostering user adoption is the only way to ensure that your Talent Management system is not only being used, but also that it is being used correctly. So how can you take the fear out of using a new technology? Here are some great tips to ensure user adoption doesn’t hinder you from exploiting new technology:

1. Convey Usefulness: Make sure that all employees and managers understand the appraisal process and how their role is useful to the process. If people feel as though their contributions make a difference, they are more likely to participate. Ensure that everyone is aware that the talent management system ties appraisals to other areas of their job such as development and compensation and into other areas of the organization such as corporate goals and direction. Everyone should be made aware that their usage could ultimately affect their future in the organization and also the organization as a whole.

2. Reassure Ease-of-Use: Most people are intimidated by new technology because they are afraid that they won’t know how to use it properly. Do you remember how scared your parents were when you tried to show them how to email? I do. But I also remember how relieved they were when they realized that it wasn’t very difficult. When you choose a TM solution, be sure that it was designed the end-user in mind and thus has a familiar interface that is incredibly user-friendly. Take the fear out of the equation by reassuring users that the new system is easy-to-use.  Host introductory training sessions for employees and conduct follow ups to ensure that everyone understands HOW to use the system correctly and who should be contacted if they have any questions.

3. Monitor Usage: The only way to see if a new technology is being adopted is to monitor its usage. Be certain that your TM solution includes the ability to create reports and dashboards that show the real-time status of talent management initiatives. It is much easier to follow up with the non-users when you can see who they are.

4. Reward Usage: This sounds juvenile but it is important to reward desired behavior. Whether it be an encouraging comment, a reward to motivate users to complete their forms on time, or  one-on-one sit downs to discuss the results of the overall process; people are more likely to accept the technology if they know that the results have a positive aftermath.

5. Communicate Support from the Top: This is probably the most important tip. In order for any new process or technology to be accepted into an organization, you need full support from the top management and executive team. It helps if top-level staff members are involved in the process of introducing the system to the organization, explaining its benefits, and conveying the organization’s usage expectations. People are less likely to resists if they are fully aware that adoption isn’t an option.

Overall, change can be scary and adoption of new technology can sometimes be met with contention, but if employees are made aware of the benefits to them and to the organization of welcoming a new and better talent management system, they are more likely to embrace the change. Ensuring full and proper user adoption will translate into you getting the most out of your Talent Management System.

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