shutterstock_189620384Unified Communications (UC) offers increased efficiencies in employee interactions and collaboration. While many UC tools offer significant benefits, an incomplete deployment process can result in UC tools going unused.
A properly executed training program can increase user adoption of UC. To get the most out of UC, companies should consider employee user needs and habits, and provide targeted training before, during, and after UC tools are in place. The steps below can aid user adoption to help ensure the success of UC deployments.


Step 1 – Consider Preferences
Gather end-user input throughout the entire process. Absent end-user input, companies may deploy tools that look good on paper, but aren’t practical for employees. Employees are unlikely to adopt tools they don’t find useful, resulting in a wasted investment.
Step 2 – Assess Needs
Research indicates that video conferencing and social collaboration tools are being widely deployed but usage rates are low. Employees also indicate they are only likely to use half the features of any communications tool. Taking these preferences and usage patterns into account can ensure that the tools most likely to be used are chosen at the outset.
Step 3 – Prioritize Training
While many companies invest considerable time and money into deploying Unified Communications technology, many neglect to provide sufficient training. To get the most out of the investment, companies should implement a program that demonstrates the benefits of these tools, and conduct employee training on how to use the tools effectively.
Step 4 – Understand Users
The most important step to encouraging user adoption of any new tool is to accept that most users will not be enthusiastic about switching from something familiar and trusted to something new and unknown. The change to new technology is about changing user behavior. This takes time.
The Lazy User Model of Solution Selection, known as LUM, theorizes that when presented with different solutions, users will choose the one that requires the least amount of effort to satisfy a particular need. Sometimes, this means employees will not willingly choose to migrate to a new communications tool. Simply training employees on how to use the tool is not enough. Administrators should also explain how the tools will increase productivity and ultimately make employees’ lives easier.
Step 5 – Diversify Training
There are many different ways to provide information and training to maximize adoption and usage of new tools. Implementing and offering just one type of training may limit who benefits. Diversifying training methods increases the possibility of connecting with the highest number of employees and departments.
Step 6 – Monitor Usage
In the deployment and training phase of any new technology implementation, it is useful to set adoption goals and then quantify employee usage. This information allows administrators to change or introduce new types of training that can help increase adoption and usage. Implementing training that is responsive to employee needs and concerns is crucial to the successful implementation of any new tool.
Soliciting user feedback, then following through with policies that capitalize on the positives of the implementation, while changing policies that aren’t working is important. Companies should gather feedback before, during, and after deployment, in order to make appropriate changes in training to ensure UC deployment success.