How to boost adoption of a new collaborative tool

If you are launching a new collaborative tool in your company, these are 15 steps to follow:

  • Understand the culture of your organisation. Some of the questions you might address: What leadership means to you? Is individual performance more valued than collective performance? How do you work? Do you have any limitations or frustrations with you current working methods? What would you like to do better and how?
  • Seek for active sponsorship, already in the pilot phase. “Active” sponsorship: someone, ideally a top manager, who will be a role model in the platform, contributing and not only promoting it.
  • Select one specific business goal for your pilot. Be clear about what you want to achieve, why and by when.
  • Build your first business case collectively, with the people concerned.
  • Frame: security, data protection, behavioural rules.
  • Co-write a user policy which will include all these rules, basic digital competence tips – tags, notifications, following model – contact points and privacy statement.
  • Produce a quick home-made video tutorial using the language of your organisation.
  • Organise a first physical meeting to help people get connected, approve the user policy, allow time for any question and agree on a deadline for the experience.
  • Prepare a central working space for the group. Link to all documents needed, contact details of all participants, team calendar and useful urls.
  • Plan for “personalized” regular email digests which will link directly to current conversations in the tool to allow those who did not take part to finally see them and engage (max: 1/week).
  • Reward those who actively contribute to the work.
  • Use a few powerful motivation techniques to engage those who are more hesitant. (For some members, knowing that the senior manager/sponsor follows closely the exchanges will be a good incentive. Others will be motivated by the fact that you praise publicly those who deliver on time. For others, it will be to have their names associated to a successful story in the internal media).
  • Evaluate activity and invest into gamification techniques when you see a need to reenergize the exchanges, a quick poll, for instance. Be creative, there are many ways to boost participation – when you are clear about what you want to achieve and by when.
  • Publicize your success story highlighting key success factors and results, once the work is accomplished. Use the internal communication channels of your company.
  • Make a call for more business cases.

In order to boost adoption, you need to speak business value first. This is why, you should create a space in the tool itself for all your success stories, and another one about “what’s in it for you?” gathering testimonials from all over your company and business cases from other organisations.

On top of this, you need to show that everyone has a collective responsibility in the success of this tool. In this journey, you don’t need to do everything alone. And you should not. Obviously, you need to take responsibility alone for everything related to security and data protection since it is always better to have just one dedicated, identified person for this. But for the rest, you will achieve better results if you distribute responsibility. You need to promote on a regular basis your group for beginners, where all advanced users of the tool are motivated to answer questions coming from all parts of the organisations. And you need to create a network of ambassadors ideally representing the different activities of your organisation. Frédérique Henrottin, Social Media Manager at Elia, has just published a very interesting article on this topic in the Behind Digital, People section.

2 thoughts on “How to boost adoption of a new collaborative tool

    • gueg1 says:

      Thank you! By promoting use cases in various areas (communication, IT, leadership, information management, sales, stakeholder relations, etc.) you increase chances to attract people to experiment with the technology. A common mistake is to limit your communication to the features of that technology, since by doing so, you raise interest of only a few people in your organization.
      You need to inspire people with business cases and promote these successful stories which were made possible because the technology was available. Even better if you manage to have your people promote their own success stories! That’s why I’m convinced that in your role as community manager, your aim is to become invisible…


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