Engaging your team with new software

We launched several learning experiences over the years, for companies spread across the world. Most of these products were designed for tens of thousands of employees. The CEO’s biggest concern? How do we engage a 70,000-strong workforce with a new product? A fair question to ask. Employees are busy with their own schedules, training programmes and could sometimes have limited resource for a company-wide initiative. Communication can also be a barrier. Here we outline our five principals surrounding a world-wide internal launch.

1. Allow users to see their colleague’s progress

A sure way to generate interest in a new product is to allow non-registered users full visibility into its activity. By observing colleagues take action and reap rewards over time, employees will often start to understand the value around the experience. Furthermore, allow users to join the product in groups — when employees are able to mimic their day-to-day interactions with colleagues on a digital platform, it becomes highly more likely that they check back in to gauge their peers progress and egg each other on to maintain momentum.

2. Never go for a quick win, commit for the long-term

The number one mistake made by corporations when launching an exciting new platform is that they fail to plan for the long term. Our advice to business is to avoid making software that solves today’s problems without understanding how the problem and its context can evolve over the coming years. For example, if a company’s goal is to improve team knowledge around customer care issues to a particular standard, one must know how to evolve the product and the content when that standard had been reached. We design learning apps which aren’t dependant on learning material, but on company culture and values. The former changes from month to month but the latter is the vision we strive to maintain.

3. Make the learning experience optional

Forcing employees to subscribe to a new training programme, especially one designed to be fun and engaging, is never a good idea. We work with companies to build software that is truly needed by their employees, but asking them what they want and how they want it. Like that, the workforce tends to gravitate towards the product over time, without unnecessary intrusion from management.

4. Put business objectives first

Sounds counterintuitive — Aren’t we building this for our teams’ benefit? Absolutely. But the end goal is to get measurable business results. When we forget to set business objectives (metrics indicating whether that particular software is being genuinely useful or not), it becomes challenging to iterate the software experience overtime, thus risking it become stale, regardless of how engaged users are.

5. Involve employees in the design of the new system

The best way to get someone to instantly love a product is to involve them in its design. How can you not be excited to use something you had an active role in? — we arrive at design organically, using information and opinions from employees who will ultimately use the software. That way, when we launch the first version, they are already familiar with it, and are comfortable with the interface from day one — they helped us design it.

6. Connect it to existing internal platforms

We all hate it when management requests us to sign up to a new service or system. It’s a hassle, especially when it’s something we aren’t familiar with and didn’t contribute to. This is why we always advise companies to when possible, connect any new software to existing internal platforms like Yammer or Salesforce. That way, employees have the option to log in using one set of credentials — this always improves registration rates during launch week.

New software brings about change, but with a good plan and careful communication your team will see the value in it and appreciate the hard work management has put towards the improvement of workflows and day-to-day tasks. Companies that follow our six point plan have a positive experience around software integration and often cultivate a receptive group of users that takes active interest in the long term goals of the product.