Every company, regardless of size or industry, is feeling the pressure to upgrade its technology in order to stay competitive. But even after successful deployment, some new tools don’t live up to the buzz.
This is because often, when new systems are introduced, companies do not focus on employee adoption. People accustomed to using specific tools and following certain procedures tend to be resistant to new methods.
Successful adoption of digital tools requires leadership through the adoption phase. The sooner the employees fully embrace new technologies, the sooner the company will begin to see a strong ROI.
Opt for Simple Products
Most organizations will focus on costs or features rather than ease of use when choosing new technology. However, more complex tools will require more research and training.
New digital tools may never be accepted or fully appreciated if employees find them difficult to understand and use. Technology projects may run into delays and even opposition if they require extensive configuration or a confusing set of features. They may end up having a negative impact on the business objectives. When choosing a new tech solution, it’s important not to get distracted by a range of functions that don’t really serve the company needs.
Ideally, new technical initiatives should involve minimal training. They should be visual and intuitive. Well-designed technology makes it easy and natural for users to navigate among tools and features in performing their tasks. Look for solutions that are easily learned and applied.
The right employee attitude can make all the difference. Employees may feel they are being obligated to learn new technologies solely for the profit of the company or to justify someone else’s decisions. If so, they’ll be far less likely to engage with the new tools and realize their full benefits.
Introduce new technology not as a mandatory shift in company policy, but as a tool that will make the employees’ work easier. Communicate to employees the reasons behind new technology adoptions, and how it can benefit them in their jobs. They will be more receptive to change if they feel that it serves a real need and will benefit them personally.
Explain how it will ease their workloads. Celebrate new accomplishments using the adopted technology so they get a real-world context for the value it provides. You could let them know how much their productivity improved or how many mistakes were reduced. Let them know how that provides greater value to the organization.
Engage Early Adopters and Influencers
Getting senior employees to lead new initiatives is an effective strategy for supporting change. You could make the first phase of new technology deployment a limited release to the teams where it’s likely to have the most positive effect. Ensure that the supervisors or other employees whom the rest of the staff looks to for advice and leadership will show enthusiasm.
Preferred change advocates will be those who have some technical knowledge, a demonstrated need for better digital tools, or can use them with the least risk of negative consequences. Make sure that these are high-profile employees whose opinions influence their team members or the organization as a whole.
Adoption of a new technology is a project that should be planned and budgeted from the beginning. That includes training to ensure staff will be able to utilize their new tools. Training sessions should be limited to small groups so employees can get personal guidance and acquire hands-on experience.
Be sure to allow plenty of time for questions. Technically-challenged employees that have a harder time adjusting to new applications shouldn’t be made to feel overwhelmed or leave the class feeling poorly prepared. In order to speed adoption you could provide an incentive program where employees that excel with the new tools are rewarded.
Measure and Adjust
Review your HR and manager policies to see that the new technology is institutionalized and not merely an option. Set milestones for adoption such as how many employees will be using the new tools or how much production should increase by a certain date. Track and try to improve the effectiveness of training or minimal interruption of systems. Gather employee feedback throughout the process.
Managers should define specific targets for what each team member is expected to achieve with the new technology in use. These goals should be realistic anticipations of the results the new technology can provide. Be certain that fair and objective controls and metrics have been established as you monitor employee progress.
As you gauge the proficiency of your staff with the new technology, be sure to connect with those who seem to be having difficulty or are critical of the change. Be patient and try to understand the causes of their problems or issues. You may have to make additional adjustments, offer further training, or brainstorm for suggestions.
Above all, you should remain patient and open to feedback. Maintain open channels of communication as adoption takes place. Determine baselines for future progress and regularly evaluate data to find opportunities for improvement.
In conclusion, adopting new technologies is rarely a smooth process for any organization. It’s important to select a tool for its ease-of-use as well as its technical benefits. You can speed technology adoption by communicating to employees how the change benefits them, providing adequate training, early adoption by team leaders, and incentives for achievement. Perhaps most importantly, you should establish metrics to track progress and remain open to employee feedback.
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