For any new technology platform, the onboarding process is crucial.
This is the critical point where people either get excited by the system or switch off and are reluctant to use it. A successful onboarding process helps people to develop the motivation, understanding and skills necessary to commit to using a new system.
We work with lots of clients in frontier regions like Iraq, and we found that we face a mix of challenges when rolling out software platforms, some familiar and others specific to the environment.
In frontier regions, low internet bandwidth and time differences can make it tricky to communicate remotely with new users. Equally, many people working in countries like Iraq, operate on rotation, staying on site for several weeks at a time before their back-to-back replacement takes over. This can make it difficult to ensure everyone has the necessary information. Some people using the platform on site may not even be direct employees of the company, as many sites work with multiple sub-contractors.
Here are a few of the key principles we’ve been using to ensure a smooth and successful roll out of our platforms:
Communicate the ‘why’
Communication is key when successfully rolling out a new system and the first step is providing a comprehensive overview of why the system is being implemented and why an individual’s participation plays a key role in making it a success.
Helping people to understand the bigger picture in advance, as well as their own role, is a great way to get buy in, and allows teams to ask any questions prior to adjustment to their workflow.
It’s important to have a champion or lead manager on the client’s side. This is someone who is excited and motivated to bring the new product to their company and can help communicate the benefits internally.
Champions can also help facilitate communication with employees and other managers. Having a champion can have a significant impact on the adoption of a system as they help to encourage, motivate and inform their colleagues throughout the process.
Robust support process
Having a quick response time to any queries or issues that do come in is also vital. If users feel like they are not getting the help and support they need, they can quickly disengage.
Preempting support requests can also be useful. For example, our Personnel Monitor flags up any sites that have failed to upload new POB data within a set time frame, say 72 hours. This means that we can quickly follow up with anyone who is having issues with the system, often before they contact us.
Providing ample guidance on how to use the platform is important and this can be delivered in many ways, from simple instructional emails, to ‘how to’ guides and on-line guidance. Bear in mind that if you have different levels of access within a system, any onboarding material should be relevant to an individual’s level – a one size fits all guide may cause for confusion for someone who can only use certain sections of your platform.
Less text, more images
We found it useful to make sure our onboarding support materials make good use of visuals. Having annotated images and demo videos really helps people to quickly process information and get the most out of a platform.
At the end of the day, the platform you are introducing plays a crucial role in onboarding. Having a well designed and intuitive product that displays the information people need will help incentivize people to engage. Providing the chance to give feedback and participate in the development of the product can also help encourage long-term commitment.