Three Best Practices for Technology Onboarding

Technology is only as good as how it is used.

This statement is simple, yet the process behind the use of these systems is complicated. How many of us have had a negative experience adopting new technology? How many of us have tried, and failed, to roll out a new platform within our organization? Yet technology continues to be at the center of cross-sector collaboration initiatives – such as California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) and its predecessor Whole Person Care – and the California Data Exchange Framework (DxF) will only expand on that.

We have spent the past five years guiding more than 2,000 users through onboarding to various technology platforms, and through this, we have learned what works and what doesn’t when it comes to supporting the people-side of technology implementation and adoption. During this time, we have defined and refined Best Practices for Technology Onboarding. These concepts are baked into our onboarding approach and help to shape and define what we do.

Here are our top 3 best practices:

1. Manage Change. It’s a fact that change is a daily occurrence in our lives. We believe how we prepare and react to change strongly influences the overall outcome of a project. Our approach to change management highlights two critical points: change causes a variety of positive and negative emotional reactions, and how people respond to change matters. Our understanding of how people respond to change is what drives our approach to onboarding. We purposely segment onboarding into distinct phases to allow people to react to and understand change as the process flows

2. Identify and involve key parties in stakeholder engagement. Mapping stakeholders at all levels of the project aims to ensure all voices are represented appropriately, including quieter voices or those that historically have not been invited to the table. To do this we utilize the networks of stakeholders that already exist and ask them a series of questions, including:

– Who else is missing from the project?
– Who are the champions or key leaders that will be advocating for this project or helping to remove barriers along the way?
– Who are the people that will help implement this project, the “doers and drivers”?
– Who are the people who will be using the product, the “customers”?

We use these guiding questions to help think outside of the box to try and capture all parties that have a hand in the process. From there, we encourage visually mapping the stakeholders to understand what the connections are and how they can support each other and the implementation of the technology solution.

3. Define success for your project and monitor over time. When thinking about technology onboarding, defining success allows you to identify whether your onboarding approach is working the way you intended. For instance, your end goal might be for someone to use your system for referral purposes, but instead, you observe that users are logging in to look up demographic information. You can target additional support towards getting people to understand how to send referrals, rather than spending time supporting people logging in. It’s important to define success early so you know what you and your team should be working towards, and so you can celebrate wins as they come!

Through our work, we have refined an approach that leverages best practices for technology adoption and created a Technology Adoption Toolkit to support users at any step in the onboarding process. The Toolkit is accompanied by a corresponding workbook for learners to practice skills, apply knowledge to personal scenarios, and help prepare for real-world application. This model follows a learn-as-you-go approach to support various learners and the individual experiences they bring to their learning journey. Our content guides those designing technology onboarding plans through the entire technology onboarding process.

Our innovative Toolkit presents tips and techniques for understanding organizational readiness for technology adoption, analyzing and revising workflows to support implementation of the new solution, and suggesting opportunities to implement continuous feedback loops and small tests of change (or PDSA cycles) throughout the process. The Toolkit also explores different training approaches, strategies for developing engaging training content, and tips to support adoption after training.

We know implementing a technology solution is only part of the picture – getting people to use it is the hard part. Let us help you along your journey!

To view our toolkit, or more about our TA Marketplace offerings, please visit our website.