How to Increase Employee Adoption

Employee Adoption

Employee adoption of your change program or project ultimately comes down to two things: ability and willingness. 

Ability: have they received adequate training? Are the processes around them allowing them to adopt the training and are there any other constraints that are basically affecting their actual ability to adopt these changes in behaviour, knowledge, skills, you know, ways of working that we’re asking them to do? And really, you want to look at the root causes for those. So is it about training? Is it that there’s been limited end-user support so they’ve got the training, but they just haven’t really been able to bring it into their day-to-day working? Are they just not really feeling that you know, that there’s an awareness of the expectations of them doing it? Or are there some real challenges with kind of systems not working, bugs, etc., that are just preventing them from ultimately behaving and adopting these new skills, behaviours, or knowledge?

Willingness: this is really about someone’s mindset towards doing it. So they may have the ability; they’ve been on the training, they get it, they know what they need to do, but they’re just not really feeling particularly willing. And that might be because they don’t recognize the value. They have not been incentivized properly to adopt, or they don’t trust the fact that they think this is worth doing and it’s going to deliver the outcomes that they think, you know, is required. A big part of willingness is usually associated with leaders and their behaviour. So if they’re not actively encouraging or role modelling the new ways of working, the new adoption of skills, knowledge, that’s a really crucial one. Whether employees, therefore, don’t see the value or benefit because it’s not been explained properly, it’s not been brought to life for them, they’ve not been incentivized effectively. So if it’s really significant change that we’re asking that makes them feel like we’re asking more of them but we’re not necessarily giving them anything more in return, then that could be a challenge. And also, whether it’s just that, you know, they’re just too easily deferring back to old ways of working because we’ve not put things in place properly to kind of prevent that and to really engage them in the new way of doing things.

Some immediate activity you can take to really increase employee adoption once you’ve understood whether it’s about either ability or willingness or both:

  • Providing on-the-ground support- such as, drop-in clinics, super users, places where people can go and get assistance

  • Communications-is there enough on-demand information that they can get? E.g. reminder communications, easy to download user guides, FAQs, infographics, stuff that helps them to just quickly go and get the information they need without going back through the training

  • Improving training content-there may be a need to go and evaluate the training and see if something was amiss, what’s not worked, what’s not landed, is there anything we can improve there to help with adoption? Also ensuring you get feedback from people who’ve been on the training to do that

  • Success stories and bringing things to life-think about how you can share successes and the best ‘voices’ to do this. People need to see others benefitting to decide whether they should also bother!

  • Other levers of change- when you’re looking at embedding really transformational change, you want to think about your other, broader levers of change which you may need to consider: organization design– what is it in terms of the way people are currently structured in terms of hierarchies, teams and the interactions between them that might be preventing adoption? And do we need to look at where that’s ultimately limiting us in achieving new behaviors and ways of working?; performance management– “what gets measured gets done”- have we aligned performance reviews, people’s objectives, the way we’re running people’s performance assessment and review cycle to the new behaviours that we need to see?; talent management– are we actually attracting and retaining talent in a way that aligns with whatever new changes we wanted to see in the business? Are we hiring and retaining more of the right people who are going to adopt the changes that we need?; leadership– a really significant one, getting leaders to really make sure they’re role modeling those behaviours and where they might be, you know, not being as transparent and showing the sponsorship that we need; processes and systems that aren’t working; or inefficient governance and decision-making that’s getting in the way; and lastly, symbols and behaviours– for example if we tell everyone that we want people to be really collaborative but then we have lots of closed offices and rooms where it doesn’t really feel like you can have that really open, collaborative working environment, that’s not going to be a kind of symbol or a physical sign of engaging people in that new behaviour.

For further detail sign-up to the Change Proud programme now. 

Leave a Reply