Strategies to Increase Adoption of New Technology
Technology has become a critical tool in every business, which helps to maintain competitive advantage. It’s also ever changing, with new features and options coming out every year. So, how can you and your team stay Up-to-date?
Changes to technology often impact your employees, as many aren’t willing to accept the change with open arms. By implementing technology training and explaining the usefulness of the tools for both the business and their workflows can have a huge impact on your success. Implement strategies to make it easy to understand these tools, increase employee productivity and help your employees embrace the new technology.
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1. Develop a long-term Tech Strategy
Simply installing new software on your employees computers, and hoping they will know what it is, or be motivated to use it is a recipe for disaster – but it happens more often than you might think.
Organizations should develop a long-term technology, or ‘Technology Roadmap’ that considers the features and functions the business needs from the technology moving forward, looking for options that can be used across departments.
It's likely that user adoption will be low with frequent technology changes. By implementing a long-term strategy helps businesses better understand their future needs, minimize changes, and look for options that enhance existing operations, rather than completely replace existing ones. It's also a great way to share upcoming changes with your employees to ensure they are aware of your organizations future direction and goals.
When changes will impact employee workflows, the planning team can prepare in advance. There should be a roll-out plan considering when each department will have to make the transition that slowly introduces the technology, to give your team the time required to properly utilize it. Some changes will be minor, like tweaked interfaces, while others will be major, such as improved functionality.
Timelines should be designed to allow employees adequate time to become used to the new procedures, otherwise they will become stressed and resist the change. Ideally, the chosen technology will share design languages and shortcut keys, reducing the number of steps and processes that employees need to learn across departments.
The strategy should also include time for meetings and training sessions that introduce the team to the new procedures, plans for communicating with the team about progress in the transition, and receiving questions and feedback.
2. Communication and Questions
Good communication is important when it comes to any changes in a business. Employers should announce changes in advance and employees should be given time to embrace the idea of change and be fully aware of the benefits the transition will bring. Not being transparent creates a culture of ‘them’ and ‘us’ which leads to many disgruntled employees.
Emails, meetings, and video chats are important tools for properly communicating change. The planning team should take great care in clearly explaining what specifically will be changing and what will remain the same. Confusion surrounding technology at the beginning will lead to frustration, and resentment amongst employees. Each meeting should also encourage team members to ask specific questions and engage with the changes as they happen. Deal with any negativity or resistance by highlighting how the employee will benefit from the software or new technology.
Why not consider assigning an employee that will become a ‘super-user’ to join the planning team. They can act as an expert in the new technology, and act as a point of contact for other users questions and concerns prior to launch. They can also provide coaching assistance once the new technology has been launched.
Planners should take notes during Q+A events to learn about common points of confusion or frustration and develop a plan to ensure that these issues are addressed. A document that explicitly addresses these issues can be beneficial and can be reinforced during hands on training sessions.
Two-way communication and encouraging questions will build trust and reduces resistance since everyone is part of the process. It allows the users to design the procedures and best practices which will help them learn the technology better for themselves. Furthermore, it fosters an environment that reduces the intimidation of technology, a factor that often reduces user adoption.
3. Explain the Benefits of the Technology
This might sound obvious, but it is missed all too often. Technology should serve a specific purpose and enhance the work life of employees. Often, new technology user adoption is low because the value of the new tools is lost on the employees being told to use it.
The technology was likely chosen because it was exciting, offered improved efficiencies, or made tasks easier and quicker. The introductory period should try to convey similar excitement in the rest of the team by highlighting these benefits. They will be more likely to embrace the new technology if they also get excited by what it has to offer, and how it will make their life easier.
Fortunately, most teams will have at least one individual that naturally embraces the new procedures. This individual should be encouraged to show the rest of the team all the new features and benefits by highlighting improvements on specific projects. This will be more effective than generic examples.
4. Training and Learning
As with anything new, employees should be trained on the best practices for the technology and basic functionality. They should be knowledgeable enough about the critical parts of the technology to get started in their work.
An in-depth training program should be designed prior to the launch of the new technology, with the training team getting a hands-on experience with the technology before training other employees. This program should focus on navigating the interface, saving work, and the core work functions. Hands on practice for everyone during the training is important since it exposes the team to the new technology, making it feel more familiar.
There will also be a learning curve when incorporating the technology into critical workflows. Businesses should keep this in mind to allow employees time to get used to the new workflow before focusing on productivity improvements. Allow the employees to initially use the old systems in tandem with the new systems to keep business moving, then slowly phase out the old system.
Training sessions should encourage peer support to reduce feelings of intimidation or fear that accompany change which decrease new technology user adoption. During the learning process, the team can work together to help each other out when they get stuck and foster an environment where workers won’t be afraid to learn new features of the technology on their own.
Training will continuously be required after the launch as the technology is better adapted to the changing business landscape. Allowing employees to show their colleagues new features and communicate with the planning team will lead to innovation and improved workflows. Actions like automating tasks or creating universal templates across departments can reduce the time needed to complete critical tasks and develop a professional look to customers.
After all the training, on-boarding, communicating, and hands-on use, there will likely be a few users who won’t fully embrace new technology, or the technology may not work as well as expected. Have a plan in place for following up with your employees periodically to check how the technology is working and how to continually improve.
This step fuels the other strategies of implementation in dictating any modifications that should be made to the technology strategy and giving notice of changes that will occur in the company. This process also builds trust since this allows for employees to give honest feedback that can effect change in the company. With honest evaluation, employees will be more likely to suggest positive changes to make the technology work rather than complain to return to the old system.
Technology is important for a business to remain competitive and changes frequently, causing frustration and confusion for employees. Not every change in technology is necessary or beneficial for a business, and it is important that companies form a technology plan or Roadmap to minimize frequent changes.
Changes that are about to occur should be carefully explained and announced far in advance of the change being implemented. When the change occurs, the staff should be trained on the critical aspects of the technology and it should be on boarded at a comfortable pace for the employees. Management should continually evaluate the effectiveness of the technology and continue to improve its effective use. In general, employees will become more likely to adopt the business crucial technology if it is effectively introduced to the workplace.