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User Adoption – Gain it and Sustain it!

User Adoption - Gain it and Sustain it

I’m going to keep it short this month. Our Change Management Practice has been super busy with client deployments, keeping our schedules full to the brim with exciting transitions. However, one thing, and one thing only, notably underpins all of these deployments – user adoption. Whatever tool or system is being rolled out, gaining full user adoption across the business will always be a challenge. But it’s one that we’re always willing to take on, and always willing to share the successes of!

So, if you’re reading this, you may be thinking about embarking on a journey involving a technical deployment in your business. Or, perhaps you are already deploying a technology. Or perhaps you’re not even sure if you want to deploy anything, in case of failure linked to lack of buy-in and user adoption.

I’m sure the technology you’ve chosen for your business works fine and has all the qualities needed to do what you need it to do. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have chosen it. But how can you guarantee the success of the tool once it’s out of your hands, and at the mercy of the wider business? Change management is the key here! And we’re willing to share just one of the theories we use in securing user adoption for any project you might have on your hands…


Securing User Adoption with the 4 Ps

The 4 Ps are part of William Bridges’ Transition Methodology as laid out in his book ‘Managing Transitions’. They include:

Purpose – Picture – Plan – Part to Play

Let’s look at each of them in detail:


End users – and the rest of the business – need to understand and fully embrace the purpose of the technology implementation. If they have no need for the tool or don’t a thorough enough understanding of it, most people will not take the time to get on board and start using it properly. For an example, have a look at one of my previous posts where I recall myself as a vocal resister to a CRM system being rolled out. To avoid resistance, provide users with a burning platform, a sense of purpose and urgency around why the change is needed. Who else is on board and sponsoring this project, and why?



What will the future state look like for the users? How will their day to day work transform for the better with this new tool? Communicate clearly and include visuals where you can to spark interest. Keep it concise and ensure to tailor the vision to the needs of different stakeholder groups. 



How will the transition from current state to future state happen? What are the timelines? How will the business receive support? What exactly will the users see, and what do they need to do? Employees need to have absolute faith in the plan and the team rolling it out. Awareness sessions and face to face ‘change forums’ are great ways to spread awareness and allow for critical feedback.


Part to Play

Humans are more likely to embrace a change when they feel as if they are driving it. If a change is being inflicted upon them, they are less likely to be as positive and engaged. Give users a part to play in the transition to the new state, and you’ll build yourself a network of positivity and promotion. Formulate a network of ‘Change Champions’. Make sure these are well spread across roles, departments, and locations. Incentivize middle management. And, of course, include top-level management in strategy sessions where you can. Have you thought about train the trainer schemes? How can you incentivize users in taking part and using the new tool? These are all crucial routes to securing successful adoption rates.


Does that seem like hard work? Myself and our other Change Management consultants are well versed in putting these strategies into practice to run implementations to the exact degree that you need.

Get in touch if you’d like to know more.

See you next month!
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About the author

Emily Merron is an Organizational Change Management Consultant for Northern Europe. Emily joined Arkadin in 2018, and has a wealth of experience in the Change Management field, having run multiple business change programs in the technology space over recent years. Primarily focusing on digital transformation, Emily is a registered Change Practitioner and embeds detailed Change Methodologies for Arkadin’s clients within Professional Services. Emily holds a technology agnostic approach to transformation, and ensures smooth transitions by putting a premium end-user journey at the forefront of any implementation.

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