5 Characteristics of a Super User | Sekoia

Aces in Places: 5 characteristics of a Super User


5 characteristics of a Super User

Change is not something that can just be done by the flick of a switch. Our old way of doing things is deeply entrenched in our habits. Routines that also carry over to our work. If managers or directors want something to change, they usually just send an e-mail. But does the change take effect just because of that e-mail?

No, it’s not enough to manage change from a top-down perspective. You need to have people buy into the change. Here, the purpose of identifying and educating super users becomes clear. The typical super user’s role and responsibilities revolve around championing the change at a user level.
In Sekoia, we regularly help guide organisations from primarily working on paper to a digital solution. A profound change. Here, we’ve found the benefits of super users to be invaluable.

What’s the Definition of a Super User?

The term super user, or superuser, is a widely accepted concept within the world of IT. The key quality of a super user is to act as a change agent in the organisation. They are incredibly valuable if you are going to make fundamental changes to the known way of working.

A super user is your internal expert on a system. They’ll be able to answer minor questions, so you don’t have to wait around for the supplier to respond.

Super users will usually be more enthusiastic about the system than regular users. That helps everyone get on the same page about the new system. Enthusiasm is contagious.

From a technical perspective, super users often have more system rights than regular users. It could be the ability to configure the system or access certain information.

In a digital care planning solution like Sekoia, only super users can add residents, while all members of staff can add an ad-hoc task.

Who can become a super user?

Judging from the way we talk about super users; it might seem like a superhero-like employee who swoops in to save the day whenever there’s trouble. Not a true reflection of reality.

Yet, in our humble opinion, most people can be like a superhero. We’ve identified the qualities of a super user. And it’s got nothing to do with having superpowers!

A dive into the Super User gene pool

Super Users are not necessarily technical experts. Instead, they are open-minded and willing to assist their co-workers.

Super Users are the frontrunners. The pioneers, who can lead by example. Encouraging their colleagues to take part, and make the organisation adapt to the change together.

When described like that, the super user job description sounds more like a manager. And super users and management go hand in hand when it comes to leading the change.

They plant the seed, organically grow it, and keep motivating peers by sharing “how and why to…” information. This kind of bottom-up approach helps reduce uncertainty. During implementation and in the initial phase of operating the new technology, before settling into a more natural state of use.

Aces in Places: 5 Characteristics of a Super User

Open-minded and ready for change
Responsible and willing to lose face (never faith)
Positive social capital ➝ glass half full kind of person
Patient with others, eager to learn
Confident early adopter (not necessarily IT experts)
Remember to include staff with different professions and from all shift layers

Motivation as the primary change catalyst

Back to who you should choose as super users. In the selection phase, it’s important to trust your staff. When you read the characteristics of a super user some people may have immediately sprung to mind.

However, it’s important to make sure that it’s not the “usual suspects” who get the extra responsibilities. Other employees might blossom when allowed to drive a new change – even if they didn’t know they wanted to be a super user. That’s also why it’s not necessarily a bad thing if no one volunteers in the first place. Some superusers will fly and some will not be suitable – and that’s okay. It’s all part of the change process.

How to Train Super Users

The extensiveness of a super user training program depends on what system you are going to train them in. If it is an intuitive system, it takes less time to get familiar with compared to a more convoluted one – seems straightforward. Below we’ve listed our top 3 tips to become a super user:

  • Allow time and space for the new super users to get acquainted with the system
  • Make the super users work in the “real” system outside the demo environment as quickly as possible to establish a sense of ownership
  • Go live with the system soon after having super user sessions

You need peace away from the daily tasks so you can immerse yourself in learning the product.

Further, you need to throw the super users into the deep end. Meaning you can’t have them use the system in a test environment where there are no consequences. You need to have them use the system in a real-life context – when the stakes matter the super users are more likely to claim ownership of the product.

Finally, you should harvest the fruits of the super user training program as soon as possible. It’s no use having staff spend a lot of time learning the ins and outs of a system, only for them to forget it because the Go Live date is months away.

Looking back at the characteristics of a super user, it’s evident that the traits are not what you can classify as “hard skills”. Even though you might expect the experts of a digital system to be good with tech, it is much more important to have good “soft skills” such as a positive attitude, patience, and an eagerness to learn new things.

Super user role example

Social care is not a sector you normally think of as “tech-savvy”. Nonetheless, we’ve had great success training super users in the sector.

A lazy comparison would be that since it’s software young people should be super users. After all, they grew up with technology so it’s a natural choice…right?

It’s a dangerous assumption to make. As the 5 characteristics suggest, a super user is more defined by soft skills than age or education.

When we introduce care staff to Sekoia, we create separate training sessions for super users and employees. Super users are trained before the other employees. So they can already start to show off their new expertise when the regular employees receive their training.

The training itself is dependent on the complexity and design of the system. In Sekoia, it takes approx. 1 day to become a super user while regular employee training usually takes less than 2 hours.

You can read more about our onboarding and implementation here: Onboarding with Sekoia