After delivering training to a group of Nissan’s field managers, we saw adoption increase by 56 percent the following week. This training was not simply a software demo, but a discussion of how the software could transform the managers’ weekly operating procedure. After a training-led spike, adoption usually returns to its previous baseline. However, in this instance the training was followed by a series of live and web trainings. This continued to drive adoption upwards over the next six months. The key learning here: Training must be an ongoing process.
Meet users where they are.
The relationship between enterprise employees and new software is rarely an enduring love at first sight. Users’ eager anticipation can quickly lead to frustration and confusion. They discover the software doesn’t always do everything they had hoped for, or creates more work in the short term—the work of learning new habits and breaking old ones.
At that point, users start to arrange themselves along a spectrum of adoption. On one side of the spectrum you have successful users. This group receives the best training, they get the right kind of encouragement and support from their managers, or have a more proactive approach to learning. On the side of the spectrum are the unsuccessful users who, for any number of reasons, use the tool as little as possible. Most fall somewhere in the middle.
We hear you, and here’s what we’re doing about it.
We can’t forget about these users who don’t adopt the tool fully on the first rollout. Every update and every introduction of a new feature or new workflow is an opportunity to reach out to these users once again. Ongoing training, whether it is done live, via webinar, or through documentation, is ongoing relationship-building. The story training tells should be put in terms of that ongoing relationship. New functionality should be positioned as a direct response to user needs and frustrations, emphasizing the evolution of the software.
Consistent training brings consistent success.
Each time this cycle of innovation and training repeats (which, for an agile company, should be often), you move closer to creating a broad majority of users who are actively engaged with the tool and satisfied with its ability to help them work better and smarter.
At Square Root, we believe there are three components to effective software training:
- Understand the spectrum of user adoption and training and using it to move users along that spectrum.
- Be intimately familiar with the needs and frustrations of your key users. Let those determine the shape of our training.
- Think small: Know that training can—and usually should—come in small bites.
In the next installment of our training series we’ll talk about the importance of staying directly engaged with your most important users. To learn more about Square Root’s product offering, visit Our Services page.