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Designing the Perfect Onboarding Strategy for New Tools

So, your company is investing in a brand-new software suite to improve workflow and efficiency for ongoing projects. Project management and technology have long been working in tandem to improve the business bottom line. Depending on what type of workflow your company handles, the software may be a CRM, an HRM, a marketing automation suite, an SEO tracking tool, or even a full-fledged project management software.

Needless to say, to utilize the full potential of these tools, the intended users must understand how to use them and be proficient at them. Although most modern tools are somewhat intuitive, there is still a learning curve. To tackle it, experts recommend comprehensive onboarding strategies. No matter what technology for project management you’re using, we believe this post can help.

Step 1: Communicate with Intended Users

This step comes before you pull the trigger on the purchase. The fact that you’re investing in technology tools tells us that you’ll be deploying it for the team. It’s important that the team members are aware of the upcoming changes to make the transition smoother.

Interestingly, the communication phase is common across IT strategy plan examples as well as other technology-oriented strategies.

The team members you’re planning to onboard most likely have a way of doing things the tool will replace. You need to know the benefits as well as the drawbacks of the existing system before you can make it better. And the only way to do it is through effective communication.

At the same time, you must communicate the benefits of the new software you’re planning on deploying. The team members should be open to the idea of change and prepare their minds to embrace the change.

Step 2: Evaluate the Technological Literacy of Users

In any given situation, there are three types of users.

First, tech-savvy users who easily adopt new technology and understand the use cases right away. If you’re a SaaS development company, most of the users will belong to this category.

Second, old-school users who prefer paper trails and avoid technology whenever possible.

Third, users who are right in the middle of the spectrum who possess a healthy balance of technological knowledge and the will to adopt new tools. In our experience, most of your stakeholders belong to this spectrum.

Before you evaluate the impact of technology on project management, it’s crucial that you evaluate the level of users before purchasing software. If you see the majority of intended users belong to the first category, you may need to consider launching a hiring program to better utilize the new tool.

Step 3: The Tasks Matter More than the Tools

One common mistake we see onboarding managers make is that they focus too much on the tool and its functionalities. While it’s important, the tasks you intend to perform are more important. Understanding the scope of tasks a tool can perform will determine how the stakeholders consider the decision.

When pitching the idea to them, allow your documentation to explore the different tasks instead of the cool features you’re excited about. You might understand the technological nuances that make the software great but don’t expect everyone to feel the same way.

The same goes for onboarding presentations and documentation for the team members. Instead of explaining the features, explore how these features can make their lives easier in day-to-day scenarios.

Step 4: Roll Out the Tool Gradually

Deploying new software across the board may seem like an intuitive choice, but it’s often not the best course of action. According to the classification of user levels, some users will be more efficient than others. They’re your best prospect when deploying a new tool. If you want everyone to use the tool at once, business productivity may take a serious toll.

The idea here is to keep the operations untethered during the onboarding. Once the tech-savvy employees get the hang of the new software, productivity should improve automatically. From there, you can start training the level 2 and level 3 employees because at this point, reduced productivity on their end for a short duration won’t hamper the overall operations.

Step 5: Curate a Checklist to Monitor Progress

At the end of the day, the purpose of investing in new software is to improve business efficiency and meet KPIs. How do you know if it’s working or not if you don’t monitor the progress? Most IT experts recommend crafting a unique checklist that includes key business processes with objective metrics.

Maintaining a timeline is another great way to gauge the progress of the new tool. See how long it takes with the new software for the same tasks and compare it with the timeline without the software. If you’re noticing improvements, it’s a good sign that your onboarding effort was a success.