It can be overwhelming when you’re launching any new tool, campaign, or channel. This feeling of being overwhelmed comes from trying to measure everything to find that all-important ROI that your leaders want to see. But when you try to measure everything, you end up measuring nothing. That’s why we break up the rollout of theEMPLOYEEapp into the three stages of launching a new tool: Grow, Engage, and Activate. By doing this, we make it easier to set the right objectives at each stage of your rollout and benchmark appropriately against them. So, let’s dive in and talk about our software rollout best practices in more detail.
Software Rollout Best Practices
When rolling out new software to employees, it’s essential to think of this as a change management campaign. That means you’ll need a rollout strategy that has multiple stages—including reinforcing the tool in the long run.
At theEMPLOYEEapp, we like to align these phases of a rollout with the goal of each phase:
- Grow. This is the initial push where your primary focus is to raise awareness of the tool and get people on it.
- Engage. In this stage, you focus on getting employees to actually use the tool to maintain their adoption over time.
- Activate. After employees have accepted the tool, now you need to make it sticky and achieve your larger business objectives that the software is meant to solve.
Let’s talk about the three stages of a rollout and best practices for each.
Best Practices for Growing Adoption for Software
“Grow” is all about driving adoption. Before you can worry about engaging employees and getting them to take action, you have to get people onto the platform in the first place. And once you do, that’s where you can start measuring some of the data points in the Engage Phase to see what content and strategies are successful.
Some great strategies for the growing adoption:
- Creating exclusive content for the new channel or tool
- Asking employees what they want and need and including that content in the channel
- Leveraging your managers to explain why the channel is great and how it will help the team
- Creating materials to drive hype and show employees what’s in it for them if they use the tool
Best Practices for Maintaining Engagement and Software Use
The “Engage” stage is all about how your employees use the technology. How active are they? What features and functionality are they using? What are they opening, liking, or commenting on? When are they engaging? And is all of that data lining up with your goals and what you anticipated?
Slice and dice this data by audience, role, and other demographic data. This will give you more insight into what you might need to do differently to meet your benchmarks. And we know that not all groups are going to engage with the same content or in the same way. What success or engagement looks like might be different based on what part of your employee population you’re looking at.
If collecting and analyzing data is completely terrifying to you, check out our comprehensive measurement and analytics guide for tips on how to get started and how to measure the right things.
Best Practices for Activating Employees to Take Action
And finally, we move into the “Activation” stage. This is where you really start to measure ROI and whether or not you’re achieving your business goals. Measuring activation should come back to the goals that you set at the very beginning when you decided you needed a new channel in the first place.
Employee activation is whether or not your strategy is driving the desired results. For instance:
- Is having better access to communicating changing what employees think, say, feel, or do?
- Are you improving culture or retention?
- Have you saved money by replacing a printed channel?
Whatever your objectives were at the beginning, you should start achieving them in the activation phase.
Putting the Stages of Launching New Software Together
These best practices for launching new comms software take a different amount of time for every organization we work with. One company might be in the Grow Phase for six months, others cruise through it in weeks. But it’s okay if your Grow phase takes longer than that, because the reality is all of these phases are truly ongoing as you introduce new audiences over time.
For example, one of our clients in the automotive industry had great success using the Grow, Engage, Activate stages to assess the ROI of theEMPLOYEEapp.
This client launched their app in March 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. But it was because of those extraordinary circumstances and a huge need for communication and information that they were able to hit 60% adoption incredibly quickly, simply by engaging their frontline managers.
Another secret to their success in the Grow phase was that they tapped into “app champions”—essentially, community leaders who were well liked and helped them spread the word about how great theEMPLOYEEapp was. This personal, peer-led outreach was incredibly successful.
As they now are working in the Engage and Activate phases, they are using focus groups to verify that they are providing the right information in the app and that employee needs are being met. This is driving app usage, which ultimately will help them achieve their business goals.
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