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Best Practices in Achieving Engagement Among Super Users


Workers look at a computer screen

Technology is ubiquitous. Not only that, but it’s also continually changing with new applications emerging daily. It can be difficult for even the most experienced and passionate IT professionals to stay up-to-date. That’s where super users can come in. Super users are employees who are also passionate about technology and willing to volunteer their time to learn, train and assist others.

This represents an opportunity to organizations, but also to employees. Super users gain important new skills and competencies that can help in their personal and professional development. It’s important, though, to ensure that super users are engaged and feel acknowledged for their efforts.

What Are Super Users and What Do They Do?

Kraig Kleeman is CEO and founder of The New Workforce, an outsourcing solutions provider, based in Chicago. “Super users are the unsung heroes of the tech world in any workplace,” Kleeman said. “With their exceptional knowledge and skills, they translate complex “computer speak” into something everyone can understand. They’re your go-to people when tech gets tricky, but their roles are more than problem-solving.”

Sneha Mandala, a keynote speaker and advisor on work culture and peak performance, agreed. “Super users are an essential bridge between technology and the rest of the organization,” she said. “They play a pivotal role in integrating new technologies and driving change. However, not all experts or early technology adopters are cut out to be effective super users.”

There are certain traits that can help to identify those who are likely to excel in this role.

“It’s essential to recognize the impact of selecting super users based on traits like technical proficiency, communication skills, and leadership qualities and providing comprehensive training and resources to enhance their capabilities,” said Rob Porter, e-learning services manager at CoSo Cloud, a secure private cloud virtual training solutions firm based in South Plainfield, N.J.

But, added Mandala, super users need to shift their mindsets. “They must view themselves not as system experts but as educators and trainers. Their role is to guide others in understanding and utilizing new technology.” Super users, she said, need to understand both change management and adult learning principles.

It’s important for super users to understand how employees typically react to change, Mandala said. “They must guide their colleagues through the emotional journey of transition, helping them move from resistance to curiosity,” she said. Some basic change management training can help super users feel more prepared, Mandala suggested.

Super users should also be familiar with adult learning principles. “This includes making the material relevant to the learners, explaining the reasoning behind the change, and engaging with questions and discussions,” she said. “Fostering curiosity and a thirst for knowledge in their students is a critical part of their role.” 

Importantly, super users need to be more than technologists or tech experts. Super user skills need to go beyond technical competencies, Kleeman said. “You need individuals who are not just tech-literate but can stay ahead of the curve in the fast-paced world of technology,” he said. “Communication is paramount. Super users should be able to take the most complicated tech terms and break them down into bite-sized, understandable pieces.” The ability to demystify technology, Kleeman said, is what “sets super users apart and makes them such an invaluable resource.”

In addition to these skills, super users often have leadership skills, noted Draven McConville, CEO and founder of Klipboard, a business management tool for field service businesses based in London.

“Give them chances to guide and lead other users, either through official programs or casual one-on-one conversations,” he said.

Engaging Super Users

Being a super user can be a thankless role, but it shouldn’t be.

“By enabling super users to contribute content and fostering a feedback loop, experts have a platform to showcase their expertise and receive recognition within the organization,” Porter said. “This collaborative model encourages super users to take on mentorship roles, share their insights, and contribute to the continuous improvement of the learning environment.”

The organization also benefits, Porter said. Super users enhance “the organization’s ability to adapt to new technologies and promote ongoing learning, all while recognizing and rewarding the contributions of super users.”

“People who are super users usually love trying new things,” McConville said. “You can give them early access to new features and beta versions, and you should encourage them to share their thoughts. Their feedback can help you make your product better and make sure it meets everyone’s needs.”

McConville also recommended making a space for super users just for them, where they can meet, work together, and connect with each other. “This could be a chat room, a secret forum, or a community group,” he said. “They can share tips, look for answers to their questions, and help each other.”

To keep super users interested and engaged, McConville recommended keeping them up-to-date on new development, product changes, and events that are coming up. “Showing that you value their feedback and want to make the offering better makes them feel more important.” Asking for their feedback regularly can help keep them engaged and motivated.

“Super users should see their role as a path to more significant organizational opportunities, not just a temporary position,” Kleeman said. “Creating a community of super users also adds value to their experience. It provides a platform for them to connect, share knowledge, and support each other, fostering a sense of belonging and mutual growth.”

Super users represent a readily available and often very passionate pool of talent that can be leveraged to extend the reach of IT and learning and development staff while preparing employees for future roles—not just in IT-type jobs, but in leadership roles as well.

Lin Grensing-Pophal is a freelance writer in Chippewa Falls, Wis.

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