This article was updated on July 26, 2018.
When it comes time to launch an HR mobile app, you can't just send out an email and hope employees download it. Technology adoption in a large enterprise is hardly ever that easy, especially when your audience is not accustomed to using mobile apps. To encourage employee engagement with the mobile app, HR teams would do well to learn from technology marketing teams about best practices for gaining adoption of new technologies.
For new technologies to gain traction and eventual adoption, you must first learn about your different user types, and then identify what it will take for them to find enough value in the technology to start using it.
Focus on the Right Employee Type
Different people adopt new technology for different reasons and at different speeds. Understanding those differences will help your HR team put the right programs in place to encourage adoption.
Here are three of the most common:
Innovators and early adopters: Innovators and early adopters are self-motivated to try new technologies. You will not need to do much convincing to get those employees to use your mobile app. You should lean on them to spread the word to their colleagues and attest to the app's capabilities.
Value seekers: This is generally the largest group of people that need convincing. They are often pragmatists and comfortable with the way they are already doing business. To convert that group, it is imperative that they are both told and shown the practical value of the HR mobile app. That means they need to see it is easy to use, provides new benefits and will actually make their work lives easier.
The dawdlers: These users are always late to the party. It will be tougher to get them to use the HR mobile app unless their valued HR information can no longer be accessed in the manner in which they're used to. Identify them and reach out to them directly, or recruit one of your early adopters to evangelize to the dawdlers.
Show and Tell
Widespread adoption of your mobile app will hinge largely on the value seekers. One of the most important traits that separates the pragmatists from early adopters is that they don't use a technology until it is considered the standard. To show this group that your HR mobile app is the "new normal," you need a dual threat of empirical and anecdotal evidence.
What that means is providing references and proof that this type product has a proven track record. HR teams should use it as opportunity to leverage early adopters by asking them to share why they use the HR mobile app and the value it adds to their daily lives. The more of those stories you can communicate and publicize, the more likely you are to convince others to use the mobile app. The stories can be told in meetings, employee newsletters, emails, posters on office walls and table tent signs in break rooms.
This communications should center on stories addressing why a particular employee uses the mobile app.
"I use the mobile app because I get instant access to my paycheck and then make transfers or switch over to my bank app and pay bills."
"I can plan vacations and request time off from anywhere without waiting to get into the office on Monday."
"I can show my financial adviser my retirement allocation, while in their office, and make changes they recommend."
From an HR perspective, the most vital component of this adoption campaign will more than likely be patience. It will take time to get a majority of employees to use the app regularly. But if you focus on understanding your users, communicating to them in the manner they expect and clearly establishing what this change can do for them, your HR mobile app will soon be treated as if it is just business as usual.