Just two decades ago the internet changed the way that people interacted in the world. Can you believe that almost all business was done face-to-face pre-Y2K? It’s crazy how the acceleration of technology has catapulted our lives into near science-fiction.
Despite rapid consumer adoption among the masses, companies seem to struggle to stay current in their internal operations. They have good reason too. Technology management and security threats are just a few examples of the challenges businesses face when bringing new software into the workplace.
Yet the most successful companies are finding ways to adopt because of the incredible value new technology brings in productivity and growth. Leaders have one major hurdle in the adoption: their employee’s willingness to use the technology they bring in-house.
After all, technology is only as good as the people that use it. Here are some tips to help you persuade your employees to get behind a winning cause.
8 PIECES OF ADVICE ON TECHNOLOGY ADOPTION
1. Pick the right technologies
A globally connected world means we have access to a near infinite number of tools at our disposal. Everyday new tech pops up to address any conceivable problem that might arise. We quickly become addicted to the next new shiny thing. It’s both beautiful and overwhelming to think about.
Before you even begin thinking of investing dollars in new tech for productivity, figure out what the problems your employees are facing and match technology solutions respectively.
Have a few employees test a pilot of the technology. Gauge the feedback whether such an investment makes sense. Start with your most resistant people—the luddites or naysayers. Any good tech on the market must be intuitive enough to create a great user experience. If your grandma can’t figure it out, then it’s probably not a good buy.
2. Show a vision of the possibilities your technology can create
Once you’ve decided that a certain piece of tech will work for your company and its employees, then it’s time to communicate its value to everyone. You communicate value not by listing the features, but by telling stories about the benefits the features bring.
Put yourself in the shoes of your employees and ask, “what a day-in-the-life of Sal would look like if this new tech was implemented?”
Communicating vision is great storytelling. Crafting compelling narratives is an art and to you become a better storyteller, consider these powerful tips:
- Use strong adjectives to invoke positive feelings as an emotional hook.
- Inject personalization by describing real-world examples of the company environment in action.
- Show the impact the finer details of your employee’s new workflow will have on the bigger picture the technology brings to the company.
3. Train! Train! Train!
Once employees are sold on the idea, they need training to onboard the new tech in their daily workflow. Imagine if you took photos with your smartphone camera and were suddenly given a DSLR. The learning curve would be steep and soon you would abandon the new tech, reverting right back to your smartphone because it’s easier and more comfortable.
Training isn’t a one-size-fits all process. People learn differently and you’ll need to accommodate for those different learning styles. The most common are auditory, visual and kinesthetic.
Visual – Engage by using diagrams, charts and pictures
Auditory – Engage by stressing key words, and telling stories and anecdotes
Kinesthetic – Engage by including physical activities and "hands-on" tasks
The training process could take months depending on the complexity of the tech, so it will need to be broken down into chunks. Build a calendar and assign training experts to manage the volume of employees depending on the size of your company. Those training experts might be the first employees in your earlier pilot testing or proof of concept phase. Or they might be influencers in the company.
4. Win over influencers first
The best form of adoption for anything new is word of mouth. Think of the last time you decided to buy a new product or try a new service. You heard good reviews and endorsements from your friends and family. Or maybe it was a third-party source like your local newspaper or online review site. You probably took their feedback to heart and tried something new.
The same applies to internal adoption of new tech too.
Find your influencers to champion the tech. Let them evangelize to the masses and convert through social pressure. It’s much easier to invest in persuading one person over an army. Here are some ways to identify an influencer:
- Middle-managers or supervisors
- Bridge builders
- Socially active & likable people
5. Make your technology routine for use
Technology isn’t static. It’s constantly evolving with new updates, trends and features that require regular training. When implementing it into the employee daily workflow, make it just that… daily! Much like any skill in the world, the more you exercise it, the more you will get better at the skill.
Tips for building a routine:
- Find the motive – there needs to be a reason or a positive incentive to practice using the technology in the first place.
- Be consistent – set certain durations of use at a specific times throughout the day
- Be accountable – acknowledge when your employees break routine and have a system for getting them back on track.
6. Celebrate the wins
Part of employee satisfaction is the celebration of achievements. When it comes to adopting new technology, you made a promise of the results in your vision. Now is the time to show that vision coming to fruition by highlighting the wins your employees accomplish when they correctly use the tech.
“X” technology boosted response times to customer inquires by 400%! “Y” technology saved Janet 3 hours a day on repetitive work that she could allocate elsewhere. Once a technology has proven itself as capable, then the difficulty of adoption is lowered for new employees.
7. Make new technology fun
Gamify the technology by hosting morale-boosting activities that encourage frequent use. These can take form as contests, competitions, and milestone achievements for employees to pursue.
Gamification takes game design elements and uses them in non-game environments. Here are some elements you can try:
- Achievement (Progression)
- Story / Narrative
8. Penalize as a last resort
The unfortunate truth is that some employees are too stubborn for their own good. They simply don’t want to step outside their comfort zone because ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ For these individuals, you will have to dish out punishment or suffer long-term damage to company growth.
One way to enforce adoption is by not logging any hours (or pay) for an employee unless they use the Clock-In/Clock-Out feature of a new technology you are implementing. Or if sales isn’t inputting their leads in the company CRM system, don’t count that towards their monthly quota. Penalties can be a devastating lesson in following orders.
Businesses need to adopt new technologies to stay current with both their competitors and also the world employees return to in their personal lives. Older generations tend to be the last to accept changes in the workplace, but now you have some techniques to smoothly transition adoption across your company. All that’s left now is to do research and discover the best technologies to help with your biggest problems.