We always end up talking about employee adoption whenever we are implementing anything whether it’s technology, process or anything else. When we talk about adoption, we’re really talking change management, and in that we are talking about changing both behaviors of people as well as attitudes. We want to convert both their minds as well as their actions on a daily and ongoing basis.
To really create change and adoption, we often talk about certain change paths we need to make inroads with. First, there has to be leadership support. Hey, if the leaders are not sure, there is no way we should be rolling anything out. They need to be on board and vocal about it. Second, employees need to feel like they have some skin in the game – like they have some form of influence in their own future. Third, they have to understand what the benefit it. And this benefit is not the benefit to the organization, it’s the personal benefit they derive that makes them feel like it’s worth the effort. In some cases, the organizational benefit will be the personal win. But lets face the facts, it isn’t always.
To really see successful adoption companies need to focus on the benefits of the user first and the benefits of the company second. You can’t approach a user and ask them to change behaviors because it benefits the company. Companies need to approach the user and tell them how it will benefit them. This is a bit of psychological approach but it’s important. Employees put their needs first and company needs second so if you show them how Enterprise 2.0 can help them make their job easier then they are much more likely to listen. ((Morgan, Jacob, December 21, 2009. “Strategic Principles for Enterprise 2.0 Implementation. Retrieved from http://www.20adoptioncommunity.com/ on December 22, 2009.))
The concept of the “personal win” has been being used for years by sales people. They realize that if you want an executive to buy a product, not only does it have to be the right thing for the organization, but the executive has to feel like they also derive some benefit. The same goes for employees. The personal win is not the threat of consequences if they don’t adopt the program, and it’s not usually the meager incentive compensation that is tied to performance either. Rather, it’s how their lives are made easier, or given skills to make them more marketable, or provided with opportunities to interact with peers and supervisors. The personal win in most cases not only makes the employee more interested in the program, but it will increase their engagement to their job. Finding the right personal win tells employees that you’re looking out for them as well as making their jobs easier.
Jacob above is right. We don’t usually tell people how the program benefits them. We assume people are so engaged that telling them it helps the company is all we need. I doubt we are really that good. We need to target our communications better and increase our adoption and success rates of implementations.