I got a new laptop for work a month or so ago and it came with Windows 10 and Office 2013. I’m sure there are some fantastic new capabilities that came along with that upgrade, but…. it’s different. Different enough that some of the functionality that I used without even thinking about in the past is now something I have to figure out how to do, and that’s frustrating. To me, not only is it different, but I can’t see anything that seems better.
Gartner projects worldwide IT spending at $3.41 trillion for 2016. That’s a whole lot of new technology, which means a lot of end users are going to have to change their daily workflows – in other words, do something different that they don’t necessarily view as better.
According to Gartner, “Digital transformation has become a key factor in future business growth and success. The digital revolution is about consumer behavior and business opportunity, not technology. The future of business will be defined by how well companies, organizations, and governments leverage the technology to enable partner and customer engagement across a wide range of digitalized processes.”
In order to leverage investments in technology to improve customer engagement, businesses need to develop a sound adoption strategy. Regardless of the tremendous improvements your new contact center or CRM solution may be capable of providing, your business will gain very little if you are unable to drive employee adoption.
Why is adoption so challenging? According to the Chapman University 2015 Survey of American Fears, Americans expressed the second highest level of fear about technology (first was fear of man-made disasters). In an article in The Atlantic, Dr. Christopher Bader, one of the researchers of the study, said “People tend to express the highest level of fear for things they’re dependent on but that they don’t have any control over, and that’s almost a perfect definition of technology.”
Here are 5 actions you could take to reduce some of the frustration and fear of the unknown, and improve adoption in your next deployment of new technology or processes:
- Executive sponsorship – this is critical. Executive sponsorship legitimizes the change – whether it’s processes or technology – and creates the necessary buy-in for success. When the right sponsorship isn’t in place it’s very difficult to succeed. This role should not be delegated to others whose job is to facilitate the change because they don’t necessarily have the power to influence it.
- Communication – Communicating the executive vision is so important and often not done. Employees need to know when it’s going to happen and why it’s going to happen. Provide a compelling vision of what the technology is and what it’s going to do. Remember that foremost in the minds of employees is “what’s in it for me?” Let them know the expected benefits.
- Training and support – No matter how amazing and intuitive the new system may be, your employees need training. You may need to consider different levels of training based on the individual or their role, but training and on-going support are a must for a successful rollout.
- Quick wins – Start with the low hanging fruit – simple projects that are visible and provide quick improvements. This helps the project gain visibility, and ideally shows it in a positive light and builds enthusiasm.
- Keep it simple – Don’t attempt to boil the ocean. An agile deployment methodology is typically less disruptive, and users find it easier to adopt many smaller changes than one huge, global change. Even though the change may be global ultimately, introduce it in smaller pieces, and build the technology into the routines and rhythms of the workday as quickly as possible.
Regardless of the size of the company or the complexity of the project, success comes down to addressing the concerns and expectations of the people involved, and building an adoption strategy into your implementation plan.
Give it a try and let us know how these steps impact your technology adoption.