How to introduce a new tool in the workplace (part 1)

At Crowdbase, our awesome team is comprised of people who have various background and life experiences. Over lunch one day, we were discussing our past work experiences and we came to realize that they all had one thing in common: each and every single organization was plagued by resistance to change.

From smaller businesses to big companies and government offices, it always came down to the same thing: change was very difficult to implement. Even more so when it involved new processes or tools.

We figured you might be facing the same issues in your workplace, so we decided to compile a list of best practices for you! We decided to focus on the best ways to introduce new tools, as this is generally quite a challenge for all types of organizations.

So we scoured the web for answers, called up our project manager friends and asked experts on Quora. Here are the main takeaways from our investigation – things you really need to keep in mind when trying to get your colleagues to adopt a new tool.

Don’t go at it alone

Finding your own bugs and squashing them alone in your shiny new bug tracking system is a pretty sad experience. Try to find and enroll a few early adopters to help your new project get started. They can become evangelists and coach others as you start rolling it out across the company.

Squash all the bugs!

Involving a couple of people early on will also create “social pressure” and incite others to use the new tool you’re trying to sell your team.

Involve Gen-Y employees early on

Much has been written about the clash of generations at the office. As Generation Y employees are infiltrating the workforce, so are their views on technology and the organization of work. They’re usually easy to convince when time comes to try new things, so use that to your advantage when getting your team to adopt a brand spanking new tool.

Just make sure the tool you want to bring in takes into account that this generation is comprised of digital natives. After all, they grew up with iPhones and are well versed in the ways of Facebook, Twitter, you name it. Their expectations are generally high and they will want your tool to be as good (if not better!) as the other web apps they are using at home everyday.

They can also provide valuable feedback: if your tool is too difficult for them to understand, chances are, it won’t fly with the rest of your team!

Think about what’s in it for the majority of users

Most productivity tools require content creation, something that is especially important right from the start. Unfortunately, these types of tools are often designed with content creators in mind, which means they do not have an immediate value for content seekers.

If I can just email information to my client or call my colleague Alice to ask about the latest company report, why would I want to take the time to enter that information somewhere else? Or to fire up an app and use its search tool?

It is crucial to the success of any new initiative to clearly state how the majority of users will benefit from it. What’s in it for them, and how will it help them do their job better? Emphasize on clear benefits: will it save your team some precious time? Can your department reduce its operating costs using this new tool?

It’s also easier for newcomers to understand how a tool works when they have examples and content to learn from in the beginning. We highly suggest you create engaging content and offer to tutor your colleagues before inviting them to try a new tool. This will certainly help drive adoption rate.

Build awareness

“Oh, you’re using a great tool with a trendy name? Can’t find it on Google. Yes, I’ve gone through 10 pages of results, and still nothing. Oh, you mean they’re using a different domain than the actual name of the product? Of course, why didn’t I think of that? So what’s the URL again? How do you spell that? Can you just email it to me?”

“You know what? Forget it.”

Double Facepalm

Sounds familiar? Yeah, some pretty powerful tools unfortunately have very common (or impossibly complicated) names, which makes them difficult to find for the average non-techie user. Make sure you tell your colleagues about the new tool and educate them on what it does.

But first? Literally spell it out for them. Show them how to find it. Install it or bookmark it for them, if you must. Make sure it is easily accessible, so people don’t have to make an extra effort to find it.

Harness the power of the inbox

As much as we would all love to, it’ll be difficult in this day and age to get rid of email altogether. Why? Because it’s a deeply ingrained habit, and you don’t have to put much thought into it. Email generally just works, and people do read their messages over the course of a workday.

So we suggest you try to outsmart the inbox to help kickstart the adoption of your new tool. Use this to your own advantage if you want to get your team or your department to change the way they work. Pick a tool that has some sort of integration with email to get your coworkers to pay attention.

Whether your tool sends out digests, notifications or invites, messages popping up in an inbox tend to get noticed and will help forming new habits. Why not maximize your chances and ensure your colleagues are reminded about the existence of the new tool every once in a while?

Mailbox

Whew! Since it’s a lot to take in at once, we decided to share only a few of our findings this week. Let these sink in and stay tuned for part 2, coming next week!

Meanwhile, we’d love to hear back from you! How are you dealing with resistance to change at the office these days? What are some of the things you have done to get your colleagues to successfully adopt a new software or tool?

7 thoughts on “How to introduce a new tool in the workplace (part 1)

  1. The Technology Adoption Model [TAM] suggests a tradeoff between ‘ease of use’ and ‘usefulness’. An application which is easy to use but offers trivial benefit will flash into use and out again. If it’s useful and easy to use, then it’s just a matter of making its existence known. An application which has a steep learning curve, or requires deeper insight into theory before being useful, has a tougher time. The developers, or their marketing organisation, has to persuade users that the benefits [whether in greater prductivity, easier overall project management, portability, or whatever] are worth the short-term disbenefits, and that thereturns are worth it. And then there’s that mountain of software and hardware for which that equation never delivered.
    Michael McBain
    Melbourne, Australia

  2. Implementation of the use of new tools can also be improved when the organization has the full buy-in of operational managers and, supervisors because, often this is not the case. When managers, supervisors or, team leaders are convinced and, throw their support behind implementation of new tools, they tend to use them more often as well as, share their use with colleagues and subordinates. “Leading by example” for implementation sends a positive signal throughout the workplace/team. Additionally, when key leaders in a workplace or team really support implementation of new tools, they go beyond verbal and/or required support. They seek out new opportunities to make additional use training available, whether those opportunities are simple webinars or, developing an actual training program. Academic research shows that, just making new tools available, showing their usefulness and, demonstrating ease of use does not guarantee that the new tools will be used. Successful implementation requires that management/supervisors/team leaders at every organization level, take a positive, active role in support of the implementation.

  3. Pingback: How to introduce a new tool in the workplace (part 2) | Crowdbase Blog

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  6. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you
    wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a
    few pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic blog.
    A fantastic read. I’ll definitely be back.

  7. Truly no matter if someone doesn’t know then its up to other
    people that they will assist, so here it takes place.

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