Consumers are now increasingly embracing digital and online channels to transact with businesses. Online shopping records continue to be broken each year. US merchants generated $7.9 billion in revenue in 2018’s Thanksgiving weekend sales. Mobile commerce is now even a key driver in sales, accounting for 35.9 percent of the recent holiday sales revenue.

With this increasing preference for digital, businesses are now hard-pressed to pursue digital adoption efforts. They now have to increase online visibility, put up digital channels, and incorporate various technologies and tools to improve their operations.

Unfortunately, companies can struggle with the digital adoption process. Some of the common concerns, especially of small businesses, include the resources and investment needed to acquire these solutions and the expertise needed to use these tools. Fortunately, the emergence of easy-to-use cloud-based services and applications have made enterprise-grade digital tools affordable and accessible for minimal investments.

However, one other often-overlooked reason why companies can struggle in digital adoption is the human element in organizations. Leaders have a tendency to become too focused on technologies that they fail to provide measures such as proper onboarding to ensure that users are eased into the effort.

Here are three ways onboarding could help digital adoption efforts succeed.

1. Trains Users in the New Technology

Some business leaders may think that, since most of the workforce are now tech-savvy Millennials, their staff would be able to figure digital tools out on their own. While many applications and solutions now have intuitive user interfaces, companies can’t simply rely on these and assume that their staff would be able to manage without proper onboarding.

It is crucial for users to be oriented with the proper use of these tools. The onboarding process typically provides a comprehensive walkthrough of the features and functionalities of these applications based on scenarios and use cases where they apply. These tools are designed with specific workflows in mind so having users try the applications out based on real-world situations would enable staff members to be functional with these tools.

Digital adoption platforms could even be used during onboarding to help further simplify onboarding. These platforms enhance applications’ user interfaces with callouts and tool tips that guide users as they use the software to accomplish tasks.

Proper onboarding also prevents human errors that are caused by users simply winging it. Human-caused errors are still among the top causes of IT-related incidences and these can be costly as gaffes can result in downtime and even lost assets.

2. Enables Staff to Buy-in to the Effort

Another reason why onboarding is crucial is because staff members don’t often see the point due to the lack of buy-in. Employees can be skeptical when it comes to new technologies that can alter their customary ways of working. Failing to overcome this skepticism towards new technologies can lead staff to be resistant to the effort.

Leaders and managers could take the opportunity to discuss and clarify the strategic and perhaps even individual benefits during the onboarding period. Onboarding efforts could also be designed to provide context and show how the new solutions could make work easier and the other benefits that these digital tools bring.

Providing training and transition periods allows users to explore and navigate the new solutions and warm up to them. Onboarding allows users to compare the status quo and the new tech-driven processes and see how much more productive they can become.

3. Allows for Follow Up and Intervention

Digital adoption is a process so leaders shouldn’t expect that simply acquiring and deploying these tools would be an end in itself. Adoption efforts must be nurtured and managed to provide continued and sustainable success.

Great onboarding strategies are often set up to allow for follow up and intervention. Aside from encouraging belief in the effort and developing technical know-how, onboarding efforts can provide mechanisms for review, reinforcement, and even rewards to help keep users motivated. Management could establish metrics and checkpoints to evaluate how efforts are progressing.

Many digital platforms now have analytics and tracking features that allow companies to monitor key metrics to see how well users are using the new solutions. If the outlook reflects that the effort is falling short of expectations, the organization can effectively intervene and get things back on track.

Building a Digital-First Culture

Technology is undoubtedly at the core of human activity today. As such, businesses must get with the times and put technology at the centers of their respective organizations. Successful digital adoption is only achieved when members of organizations instinctively use and leverage technology to be at their most productive and efficient. For this to happen, companies must build digital-first cultures and make sure that the human and technology elements meld together. Effective onboarding helps develop this synergy.