Too often, organizations make a huge investment in a new software system, but the strategy doesn’t include giving individuals their “why.” Why is that a mistake? End user buy-in makes or breaks adoption and builds the motivation for change. Without it, projects fail and organizations squander millions in money, time, resources and employee trust.
But what do we really mean by end user buy-in? We mean giving people their personal “why”.
One of our core beliefs at ACS is that meaningful progress requires both behavior and belief. It’s no secret that the greatest progress is made and the biggest impacts happen when everyone on a team is moving in the same direction with the same goals. People must believe in a cause or strategy before they will change personal behaviors. What's more, when each person can articulate how a change benefits them personally, they will adapt their behaviors to create that benefit.
We believe the fastest way to gain buy-in and to accelerate change around a new software system is by training your users to understand what’s in it for them and why and how they should use it. When you can successfully do that, users feel valued, they feel some ownership in the outcome, and are more productive.
How do you get them to clearly understand their why? That’s easy - personalized training that contemplates how different roles have different use cases. It might seem like an afterthought but it’s essential. The cost of not training is not only frustrated employees, it's turnover, lost customers and shrinking market share.
Like most organizations, securing a training budget requires approval. It’s easier to do if you embed it into your project right up front. Below we unpack three ways to convince your leadership to invest in training from the start. It’s easier than you think!
"Over the years, our team has found that ‘doing it right the first time’ provides markedly better training outcomes vs. a ‘clean ups on aisle five’ approach." - Sharon Levitch, Founder ACS
1. Articulate the value.
Any transition to new technology should be accompanied by proper preparation, instruction, and detailed implementation planning, because no one benefits from a new system if they don’t know how to use it. Training helps leaders realize the value of the investment they are making into the software program by ensuring teams will actually understand and use the new tool.
Of course there is no 100% guarantee for adoption, but trust me, it costs more to “clean up on aisle five vs. doing it right the first time. Without training, your organization will end up spending more than you need to on lost productivity, “do-over” expenses, employee turnover and even frustrated customers.
Contrary to what leaders may assume, for all the reasons listed above, effective training IS a revenue generating line item and you should budget accordingly. A healthy training budget should reflect 10% - 15% of your overall project budget.
2. Demonstrate increases in productivity
Tailored end user training sets the stage for success by ensuring everyone on the team has the opportunity to learn new skills that help drive productivity. That boost in knowledge reduces the time it takes for them to seek out information and execute their work. In addition, teams will reduce overlapping efforts as roles become more clearly defined through training. When everyone gets their tasks right the first time, the time, money, and frustration required to correct mistakes drops quickly.
For example, our team at ACS partnered with a leading residential construction company to create a custom training experience for fifty sales divisions across the US. The company was digitizing a process for home buyers that included signing sales agreements and expediting manager approvals. Before the program launched, we built the curriculum, designed the training program delivery, created custom, role-based experiences, and launched the full training across fifty states. As a result, sales teams quickly adopted the new workflow and shaved 40% off the sales cycle without disrupting internal teams.
3. Tie training to improvements in customer service & satisfaction.
Training has external benefits too. Well-trained employees know where to find answers and feel empowered to solve problems. In addition, when employees feel more ownership over their learning, they are more efficient with their time and feel more engaged at work.
A study from Zenger Folkman found that only 4% of employees will give the extra effort when empowerment is low but 67% will step up when empowerment is high.
Most organization’s measure customer satisfaction through an NPS score or something similar and you can use this to build your case! When you are pitching your team for training, take the time and draw a parallel between training and customer service. For example, walk the team through a use case scenario and point out how it flows differently if an employee is well trained or not.
Securing a training budget may feel like an afterthought, but it couldn’t be more critical to your success with a new program. To learn more about how you can pitch your team for training, give us a shout - it’s what we do day in and day out!