Convince employees to adopt new products
Change is difficult. Stepping out of the comfort zone in order to do things differently can be challenging. The majority of people embrace routine, enjoy it, so interrupting it means causing them distress. However, for development purposes change is necessary. Hence, for the sake of the higher goal, it’s a good idea to make the transition as enjoyable as possible.
Here’s our 5 easy steps for successfully implementing a new product among your employees.
1. Let them choose
Assessing a product’s advantages and disadvantages can be different from the perspective of employees versus management. A feature that is seen as facile for management can imply a lot more data-inputting work for the employee, and so tip off the balance of product likeability. Letting the employees choose the product that best fits their work habits is one of the building blocks of the adoption process.
Nonetheless, letting your employees choose does not mean simply giving them an idea of what the product should do or how it should help solve a certain problem and let them go from there. It also shouldn’t mean laying 10-15 different products that do the same thing, only slightly differently, and expect them to do the research and choose one. The best way to approach this is conduct the research first on behalf of the company, and narrow it down to 2-3 options. This way, you’re lowering the decisional weight put on the employee, while having the company’s interest in mind as well.
If, however, you are required to introduce a certain product, it’s important to ask employees for feedback regarding it. This will help customize both the product itself and the implementation process, which should help increasing the acceptance rate.
2. Generate interest
Regardless of the degree of involvement in the purchasing process your employees have, to ensure acceptance of a product, you should try to instill curiosity, interest, and a splash of enthusiasm among the end users. In order to do that, start by outlining how the new product addresses their pain points. Maybe it’s an automation tool that gets rids of boring, repetitive actions, clearing their schedule and giving them more time for development or leisure. Or maybe it’s a piece of high-tech software that replaces an obsolete, clunky program. In any case, emphasizing how the product will alleviate their work activities will surely bring down the reluctance level.
Matching the product to the employee pain points comes as a support pillar in guiding the entire product acceptance conversation. This dialogue should be constructed mainly around the benefits of the product. And since it was chosen to help both the employees and the company, neither should be excluded; a balance in the product presentation speech should be the goal. Talk too much about the company’s gain and it will come off as selfish and insensitive towards the employees; highlight the advantages for the employees only and it most certainly will cause disbelief or suspicion. Be honest and maintain the equilibrium between the two parties involved.
Focusing on the benefits prepares the ground so that the newly implemented product can take roots. It also primes the employees for using said product, since they know what to expect.
3. Offer training
While the “swim or die” method might sometimes work (and it is absolutely vital for some shark species), this is definitely not the case when introducing a new product to your employees. Simply giving them a product and making them use it is not enough if your goal is a swift transition or a quick onboarding process.
Training is another essential component of the acceptance process. Whenever a new product is introduced, make sure it is accompanied by the proper amount of instruction courses. To compel people to use a new tool, you have to show them how it’s supposed to be used, what it can do, some of its shortcuts and some of its flaws, a couple of tips & tricks, and so on. It will spark the end users’ interest, driving engagement and, once again, decreasing skepticism.
4. Have a product expert always available
It is well-known that trainings represent only a glimpse into the actual activities. Only when you set up to perform that activity (or use that product), do you encounter real issues and start posing serious questions. In short, no matter how much training you go through, the real learning is happening on assignment. Therefore, a person who knows the product inside out should be readily available to answer any questions the end users might have.
The product master can an external person, maybe someone representing the product company, or it can be an employee that has been put in contact with the product before the others, and received additional, in-depth training. Ideally, it is someone who has had the necessary time to familiarize himself with all the product’s features.
The reason why it’s so important to have someone available to answer the end users’ questions immediately is that struggling to use a certain product (be it hardware or software) can be very frustrating, leading to a rather solid aversion towards it. It’s easier to guide the user to enjoying a product, than change his mind after he has decided he doesn’t like it.
5. Follow up
You succeeded. You implemented a new product with very little friction and a high acceptance rate. What’s left to do? Supervision and adjustments, of course, so that everything continues to run smoothly. Keep a close eye on how the employees interact with the product and be ready to offer support in case it is needed. If it’s a piece of hardware, for example, some maintenance guidelines would come in handy. If it’s a software program, maybe they need assistance handling the updates. If it’s any other sort of product (such as a procedure), it helps to give a pat on the back for a job well done or to lend a helping hand when someone gets stuck.
One thing’s for sure. When it comes to deploying a new product in your company, do ask the end users their opinion on it, both before and after the actual implementation. After all, they’ll be the ones using it.