Software is the foundation for just about every business. Whether accounting, sales, operations, e-commerce, customer service, marketing or a specialized niche, business and most of life in general now flows through some sort of software package.
While businesses typically don’t change software solutions as often as consumers add new apps, there’s nonetheless a constant process of onboarding as old software require upgrades, new solutions bring competitive advantage, and business expansion demands additional software solutions.
For each change in software, employees need to be onboarded. This process of getting workers up to speed is critical because poor adoption breaks workflows, reduces staff efficiency and minimizes the impact of business software.
Poor onboarding also creates shadow IT when employees go around a company’s software solution in favor of something they find online or through an app store. The threat of shadow IT alone is reason enough to take software onboarding very seriously.
With that in mind, here are six tricks for improving the software onboarding efforts after your company.
1. Onboard Only What’s Most Important
The typical software package has plenty of features and capabilities. Not all of these features are equally important for the business, however. Even business processes around a given software solution are not equally important.
So a key trick for better onboarding is knowing what matters most and focusing on that. Onboarding everything might be ideal, but start with just the critical functionality and business processes so the onboarding process is digestible and doesn’t overwhelm employees.
“During the initial onboarding phases,” says David Dremann, director of IT services for BLM Technologies, “it’s easy to let every step, process or challenge feel like it carries equal weight. It does not. Determine which processes take the highest precedence and communicate them to your team.”
2. Make Onboarding Self-Serve
Rare is the employee who gets excited by the thought of mandatory company software training. Software training sessions have a bad rap for good reason: learning software is best done on an as-needed basis, not in a classroom setting where processes are covered all at once and divorced from actual usage.
“Today’s employees do not want to spend time going through training and documentation to start using software,” notes Prasad Ramakrishnan, chief information officer for customer service software firm Freshworks. “When you want to onboard them, think about self-service methods that’ll enable them to start using it right away versus a full-fledged onboarding.”
So a second tip is offering a quick jump-start training for basic familiarity, then leaving most of the onboarding help to a self-service training solution that employees can use whenever they get stuck or want to dive deeper into the software.
3. Create SOPs for Passive Guidance
Despite good onboarding, employees will forget some of what they learned. This is normal even for studious employees who take good notes.
That’s why a third trick for onboarding is defining key steps and best practices around the software at the onset and putting those guidelines into a standard operating procedure (SOP) document that employees can access at any time. SOPs help employees all follow the same best practices around the software, and they serve as a reference guide after training. – Read more