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Should we forbid employees to use SAP HR applications – in order to ensure adoption?

A key question which needs to be solved in all HR projects which offer self service functionalities for learning, recruiting or administrative functionalities like leave requests is: How can we ensure a high and quick adoption rate for these new applications within the workforce of our organization?

A lot of good approaches have been established in the past including newsletters, town-hall meetings, demo booths in canteens just to name a few.

But in a recent blog Steve Boese brought up an interesting idea. Based on an example from a red button on new remote controls for TVs  with a mark: Do not click this (which will animate a lot of people to click this on button which will connect them to a streaming service) the author made the point that HR people need to make their approach unique for the really important tools and messages so that it is really heard even by using unusual ways.

This blog was thought provoking for me and it just made me think how to use this in SAP projects. I remembered the time when Google Wave was invitation only and how desperate people (including me) tried to get such an invitation just because it was limited.

Let us just take the example of an ESS project with such an approach:

Instead of asking people to test this application the project team can add an ESS area on the homepage with a clear mark on it: Do not use this link – by invitation only. I am quite sure that a lot of people will complain that they are not invited and that the ESS project will be discussed during the next lunch breaks very often. Yes, I know that this could cause problems with the workers’ councils so as always it is very recommendable to speak with them about this approach before.

Instead of restricting the access to your application you can also go underground with your project. In case the project does not set up an official communication about the project before tangible results (a running application) is existing you can achieve similar results as in the first example. A lot of rumors will occur when several people spend their time on a project without disclosing what they do. If you were able to have a very short implementation time and come up with an up and running application at one point of time suddenly you can transform the rumors into curiosity to use it.

The third approach is the most difficult for HR people but it will be needed in the future. With the digital natives entering the workforce they are using their new gadgets even at work and are building up new mash ups which they will use not only at home but also at at work to fulfill their tasks. This will demand a good reaction from HR professionals and the SAP experts within your company as well. The users clearly express the need for a new tool with their application. So the HR department of the future should not only send out unique messages but also need to listen to these messages which the employees give them. Especially in the area of mobile learning a lot needs to be done as it was outlined in an Thought leader interview  – Prashanth Padmanabhan plans to revolutionize SAP’s learning and talent management.

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  • Here's what I would do:

    1. Send out an all-staff email saying that a new ESS widget that does XYZ has been developed. Make sure you talk up how good it is, then mention that it will only initially be available to a select group of "pilot" users for the first X months.  Don't mention who the pilot users are.

    2. Put the new widget on the ESS menu with text like "ESS Widget XYZ (pilot users only)".

    3. After X months just change the text to "ESS Widget XYZ".  By then pretty much everbody will be using it.

    4. Send out another email raving on about how successful the pilot was, and thanking the pilot users.

    • Thanks for your reply. The reason why I would click and why I read your comment would be curiosity.

      But I agree with you: This is not a method which everybody will appreciate.

      Best regards,