You’re an IT leader at your company responsible for implementing a new software selection that the Executive team is on board with and wants to get rolling, fast. You know that beyond the technical implementation, winning the hearts and minds of your end users is critical to the success of your project. These 5 tips can help you realize your company IT objectives and ensure your staff not only know how to use your software solutions, but want to.
1. Identify the Change Management Team
Managing the change around adopting new software is a big job, but not because of the amount of work involved. It is big because new software tools generally reflect a change in goals, focus, and culture. Examples I have seen of this change in my work with multifamily clients is the desire to go paperless in the leasing office, the desire to maximize efficiency around administrative tasks to leasing staff can focus on people, a shift to focus on online presence and helping end users recognize the importance of replying to online ratings and reviews.
Change Management is really synonomous with Software Adoption. The best Change Management teams are comprised of an executive sponsor, a project manager, a corporate communications representative, and 1-2 end users who can help champion software adoption. Pulling together a team that spans this many levels and geographies can be challenging, but virtual meetings are generally more than sufficient. The team’s charter is to craft a change management plan that will…
2. Define Goals for End Users
While the executive team is excited about increased NOI and efficiency, your staff may be wary of a new solution. Carefully identifying short-term and mid-range goals that your property and regional staff can feel accountable for and motivated by are critical to successful adoption. Additionally, these goals provide the lens through which you will craft the communication and activities around software adoption, ensuring a consistent message and purpose behind the perception you create for your staff. Goals should be measurable and specific. Examples include:
- Capture 50% of leases through a tablet in the month of June
- Reply to 80% of online ratings each month
- Achieve 90% coverage of resident rent reminder email blasts by December 31st of this year
- Increase portal enrollments for residents to 75% in Q3
3. Create Awareness
While you may have been involved in the sales process, property staff generally are not aware of new software service subscriptions. They should be. One client that I worked with recently made a point to define an awareness campaign, designed by the joint efforts of their change management team and the software provider. Messaging was designed to emphasize the joint nature of the partnership, and the goals for implementing the new software (that were specifically designed to resonate with end users) were carefully communicated via email blasts, video recordings of the executive team, and even contests.
4. Incentivize Software Adoption
Speaking of contests, these simple programs can be a powerful catalyst in helping your end users overcome any fear or apathy related to new software. For companies bringing on a new payment platform, I might recommend a competition between site staff to see who can subscribe the most residents to receive rent reminders. For communities using tablets for the first time, contests and prizes for signing leases from the mobile tablets and collecting guest cards have shown a lot of success among the companies I work with.
5. Invest in Training
Training is consistently the number one scapegoat end users mention as a reason why they are not using software. Enterprise multifamily software can be daunting to end users. The best training programs entail a broad classroom training in a safe environment for end users to “play” with the software and explore the possibilities, followed by a tailored training program to help apply the new tools to existing processes. Timing for these trainings can vary, but companies that do the general training before implementation and specific training after experience great results.
Remember, when you communicate change in advance, change is more easily received. While these five tips are not exhaustive, the underlying message is simple: over-communicate software change and you will maximize software adoption, helping you achieve the goals that you purchased the software for in the beginning – increased NOI, greater efficiency, and actionable data.