Introducing Software

How to Successfully Introduce New Software to Your Team

6 min read
Zoe Brankin
Author
Zoe Brankin

Picture this: You’ve spent the last six months pitching to your leadership team about why a solution is needed for a problem you’re currently facing. You got the buy-in and spent time shortlisting and sitting on demos with vendors. Finally, you have chosen a new software solution for your business. What a relief! 

Unfortunately, you’re not in the home stretch yet. Implementing new software in the workplace can really stress people out – but why? Getting your team onboard with new software or technology is tricky, especially for those who aren’t tech-savvy. People typically resist change, and asking them to use yet another tool in their day-to-day can feel like a disruption and distraction. 

So, how do you overcome this? Well, if you just decide to launch a new software with no explanation as to why it’s being introduced, what the benefits are to the individuals using the software and information on how to use it correctly, you can’t expect everyone to welcome it with open arms. 

In this article, we will look at some of the most common mistakes managers and leaders make when rolling out new software and how to avoid them to make the transition as smooth as possible. 

Common software launch mistakes 

Too many leaders see something compelling, quickly purchase that new solution and then get disappointed with low adoption. Your team won’t change overnight. Habits are hard to break. Here are some of the mistakes you need to avoid when launching new software. 

Not testing out the software for yourself 

Many software vendors offer demo videos, 15 or 30-day free trials, and live demos tailored to what you’re looking for, so why would you not use them?

Before bringing a new tool to your team and telling them to use it daily, you need to spend a few weeks testing the product and embedding it into your daily routine. This doesn’t mean hopping on the product in a free trial, clicking on a few things and then moving on.

Doing this will help you understand whether or not the tool is easy to use, can integrate with your existing software like Microsoft Teams or HRIS systems, and what support is available from the vendor when launching. 

How is it going to benefit your team? 

Why should your team care about this software launching, and why should they be expected to take time out of their already busy day to learn how to use it and integrate it into their daily work life? 

A common mistake made when launching new software is not explaining to your team why this new tool is being introduced in the first place and what problem it is trying to solve. 

Let’s say you wanted to launch Slack because you’re moving to a hybrid approach and know it will make communication and collaboration between your distributed teams much more manageable. You need to explain to your team that rather than communicating via email only on the days you’re at home, you can use Slack as a communication tool to message, call or video chat with colleagues. 

Tell your employees that a tool like Slack offers transparency – no need to transfer emails to new people joining projects. It’s also flexible, allowing the team to work together in whatever way works best for them. Rather than confining work to the siloed communication of email, Slack will work to bring the team together. 

Too much going on in the business 

Deciding to roll out your chosen software in the middle of change, a merger or an incredibly complicated project, it will not go as planned. Consider whether this is the right time for your team to implement a new system. 

Timing is key, and we know it can be very exciting when you start fresh and introduce new things, but you don’t need productivity to be damaged in the process. 

No champions to help you get your team on board

You might test the product and think it’s great – but that’s only your opinion, it doesn’t guarantee the rest of your employees will use it. If you want a successful launch, getting a few champions on board to test the tool is best. 

By getting a team of champions to help you test the tool, they can provide feedback on any issues that might come up from adopting the software. Not only that, you might miss huge benefits or different use cases of the software you probably didn’t even think of. 

When it comes to then launching the software, your team of champions will be on hand to act as advocates to help bring the team up to speed and offer support to anyone who may need it. 

Lack of training in the product 

People learn at different rates and picking up new software is difficult without proper training. The team of champions can help train everyone and spend a bit of time with those who may need extra training. Your champions will know how their teammates like to work and their workstyles which is a huge benefit. 

Tips on how you can successfully improve the process of introducing new software

Crown your team of champions

When preparing to announce the new software, explain the reasons, goals and the rollout schedule (if necessary). Gather people who will easily understand the concepts of the software and encourage them to stand as advocates and be your champions. 

They could even spend time walking the more hesitant employees through the process. Seeing the enthusiasm of the champions will help convert those who are more sceptical or hesitant about using the new software. 

Hold events in or around the new tool

To familiarise the team with the new tool, try to hold events in or around the new software. 

This is usually a very effective way of introducing employees to software and encouraging participation. For example, if you’re planning on hosting a Christmas party and want to drive adoption on Mo, you could post all the information about the event there. You could also suggest using Mo to nominate teammates for the Year in Review/Employee(s) of the Year awards.   

This helps reinforce the idea that the tool is part of the company’s workflow and keeps you on the lookout for ways to incorporate the tool into daily routines as often as you can.

Training sessions

Training events can be an effective way to get your employees onboard with the new software. You can use these events to encourage dialogue and answer any questions your team may have, reinforce the benefits and demonstrate how easy it is to use. 

If you feel it would benefit your employees, it might be worth creating some guidelines and best practice documents to make available at all times. 

Introduce the new software in a period of low work

Save the software rollout for a quieter time. For example, if your slow period is generally in Q1, you could plan the introduction for then rather than trying to launch it in Q3, when you tend to be busiest. If you’re also going through a considerable period of change or merger, then it’s not going to be the best time to try and implement more change. 

Consider rewarding your early adopters

Using a rewards incentive to drive adoption can be a very effective way to encourage good behaviour. However, this will all depend on your culture. Sometimes it can fall short or even be damaging to some workers. True motivation will be driven by a sense of purpose, which is why conveying the value of the new software is so important. 

We’re not talking huge rewards if you do go down that route. It could be something like a free coffee to encourage participation!

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