How to adopt new software in a home care business
Whether you are completely new to digitisation in your care agency, or you are switching to a new software provider, technological change is always a challenge. Preparing your team for new software is a crucial step in getting your software implementation journey right.
There may be excitement about adoption, apprehension for the unknown or upset over the pace of change. But it’s up to you to ensure that everyone feels engaged and on board with the process to ensure that your client’s care is not impacted. So it’s time to start thinking about your software adoption plan.
The five stages of technology adoption
When introducing new technology into a business you’ll likely see familiar patterns in how and when employees feel ready to make the jump. They can typically be broken down into five camps – commonly referred to as the five stages of technology adoption. Identifying how your employees are feeling will undoubtedly help you in preparing your team for new software.
Innovators – technology enthusiasts by nature. Innovators are excited to dive in and find out how new software can improve their role. They may be the kind of person that invests in tech way before anyone else – and they’re constantly seeking the next new thing.
Early Adopters – like innovators, Early Adopters will try new software faster than the majority. Getting buy-in from this group is critical because their opinions influence how the Early Majority feel. They may be the kind of people that do lots of research about technology and enjoy sharing what they find out with their peers.
Early Majority – This group is more practical in their approach to new software. The Early Majority typically waits until the software is vetted by others (Early Adopters). They want to know how new software fits into their working day before they feel comfortable adopting it.
Late Majority – These users will only adopt new software when they need to, or when it becomes unreasonable not to. The Late Majority will use the software once you’ve made it a concrete part of your business operations.
Laggards – Laggards tend to use familiar technology and software as long as they possibly can. They’re often uncomfortable learning and using new tools. The only way to move this group may be to force them to use the new software by eliminating legacy options.
How to develop a software adoption plan
According to Infopro Learning, ‘Adopting new software can be challenging for employees, especially if it directly impacts their regular routines and everyday activities.’
This means it’s crucial to adopt a robust software adoption plan to ensure a smooth journey for your organisation.
Find your champions
If you can leverage the excitement of your Innovators and Early Adopters to build momentum around this new software, they can be the champions to convince the rest of your employees to use it.
You might consider people from the using people that helped evaluate the software or the people that will be using the software most often. Seeing the enthusiasm of these champions will help convert people who are more sceptical or hesitant.
Create a shared understanding
If employees can’t find a compelling reason to use the new software, you can almost guarantee low adoption rates.
So, help your champions understand exactly what the tool is, what it does, and why you chose it. Involve people early in the implementation process. Encourage questions and be transparent with your answers.
Move important content to the new software
One way to increase adoption is to make important information your employees need only accessible via the new tool, which can be the tipping point for the Late Majority. In fact, setting a hard deadline for migrating to the new software may be the only way to get your Laggards to convert. But it can be risky – employees may get frustrated by the change, so it must be clearly communicated what is being done and how it will benefit them and the business.
Listen to feedback
While Laggards may come up with every reason under the sun why new software is not going to work, it is important to listen to feedback. As with any software implementation, there will be bugs and pain points.
So, it’s important to identify when things really don’t work.
It might be helpful to have champions serve as a first port of call for software concerns – vetting unhelpful opinions from genuine product feedback before they get out of hand.
Want to read more about managing software implementation in a home care business? Check out our comprehensive project implementation page.