5 Software Onboarding Best Practices to Boost Productivity

WalkMe Team
By WalkMe Team
Updated May 2, 2023

Modern enterprise software promises to increase productivity, unleash new sources of innovation, and revolutionize the employee experience.

But unless your employees can fully adopt the technology, those benefits will remain out of reach. Employees need the right support and guidance to integrate the new digital system into their workflow.

Without effective onboarding, employees will stick to utilizing just a few basic features, leaving the rest of the tool’s value unrealized. Or, they will avoid using it altogether.

On top of capping your ROI, inadequate onboarding can actually impose new sources of inefficiency into employees’ work. Not understanding how to complete complex processes or utilize key features is frustrating for users and causes their productivity to plummet.

By adhering to these software onboarding best practices, you can avoid these pitfalls and make sure your employees get the most out of your software investments — and send productivity soaring.

1. Clarify the purpose of the software

Employee engagement is critical during the onboarding process.

To generate authentic engagement and support among employees, you must clarify the digital tool’s intended purpose and value.

For example, if you’re implementing a powerful new analytics platform that will make reporting easier, more efficient, and more accurate, sell your employees on these points.

Show them how utilizing the new tool will not only enable them to work more efficiently, but it will also help them improve their performance (while having a better digital employee experience).

If you fail to communicate how the software will support employees productivity, they will most likely view it is a hindrance instead of an asset.

Is Poor Software Onboarding Putting Your Digital Transformation at Risk?

2. Anticipate the usability challenges your employees will face

software onboarding best practicesAs you plan your onboarding strategy, being proactive about the challenges your employees will most likely face during the onboarding process will give you a major advantage.

But how can you find out just what those challenges are? One way is to simply read what other people have to say about their onboarding experience with the given platform. You can use software review and compare sites like G2 Crowd to find out that information.

Another approach is to ask employees about their prior experiences onboarding to other types of software.

For example, common challenges that seem daunting to employees during onboarding include facing an unfamiliar interface and integrating new processes into the daily workflow. Both of these can introduce stress and incite resistance.

Once you understand which factors trip up software onboarding, you can take steps to avoid them.

Effective training is fundamental to relieving stress and helping employees get up to speed quickly. However, traditional forms of training aren’t equipped to cover the breadth of content employees must learn in order to fully adopt the platform.

Digital solutions that provide onscreen guidance and support as employees actually complete processes not only improve knowledge retention, they also increase efficiency by enabling users to “learn in the flow of work.”

3. Build a digital adoption strategy

Digital adoption is defined as achieving a state in which people use digital tools as they were intended and to their fullest extent.

When your employees have achieved digital adoption, they have the means to utilize the full range of features and processes and extract the tool’s highest possible value.

Without proper onboarding, it will be impossible for your employees to reap all of the benefits of your software investment. That’s why software onboarding best practices are so fundamental to the broader goal of adoption.

The main tenets of a successful digital adoption strategy include:

  • Understanding the current state of software usage and what accounts for low usability
  • Fostering employee engagement and motivation
  • Providing continual retraining and support as software evolves

By addressing each of these steps, you can be confident you are addressing all aspects of onboarding and get the most value from your software.

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4. Choose a best-in-class digital adoption solution

software onboarding best practicesFor many companies, a digital adoption solution is the linchpin of an effective digital adoption strategy.

These digital solutions ensure high-level usability across all possible features by making it simple for users to navigate the software and complete processes.

While they are instrumental to effective onboarding, they are also immensely valuable to ongoing learning and support. As companies increase investments in cloud-based SaaS technology, employees constantly face automatic updates and the need to learn new features. That means onboarding is a continual effort, not a one-and-done exercise.

Digital adoption solutions are lauded as a software onboarding best practice because of the following key features:

  • Contextual training, which provides tailored training content to support the user in the moment of need.
  • Onscreen navigational guidance, which walks employees through processes step-by-step.
  • Process automation, which saves users time and effort by eliminating empty clicks and taking over mundane processes.
  • User insights, which provides software administrators with a detailed view into how employees use the system, where they encounter friction, and how processes can be optimized.

5. Ask for employee feedback

Asking employees for feedback and actually incorporating it into the onboarding process is an important but often overlooked software onboarding best practice.

By soliciting feedback and having open conversations with employees about their experience, you can ensure a smoother implementation and cultivate higher engagement.

However, when it comes to feedback, don’t give into the tendency to wait for “the end” of the process. By then, the opportunities to improve employees’ experience will have passed for the most part. It’s much more effective to make small improvements along the way.

Follow software onboarding best practices to boost productivity and success

By keeping these best practices in mind, you’ll eliminate a lot of frustration and stress (for both employees and yourself) and increase the likelihood of a smooth onboarding experience.

Staying organized, keeping a pulse on employees’ needs, and incorporating advanced solutions to support them will make software onboarding far simpler and more effective. Digital adoption will be within reach — and so will all of the benefits of improved productivity, a better digital employee experience, and higher engagement.

WalkMe’s Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) transforms the user experience in today’s overwhelming digital world. Using artificial intelligence, engagement, guidance, and automation, WalkMe’s transparent overlay assists users to complete tasks easily within any enterprise software, mobile application or website. Discover how a DAP can revolutionize your business.

WalkMe Team
By WalkMe Team
WalkMe pioneered the Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) for organizations to utilize the full potential of their digital assets. Using artificial intelligence, machine learning and contextual guidance, WalkMe adds a dynamic user interface layer to raise the digital literacy of all users.