Technology’s role in the workplace is more important than ever. If you walk into the average office on a weekday morning, you’ll find computers, tablets, smartphones, web tools, applications, routers, and dozens of other physical devices and software components.
For someone who is in the business of tech, understanding these technologies and how they fit together to create a cohesive bigger picture isn’t that difficult. For employees who aren’t exceptionally tech-savvy, it can be a challenge to keep up.
If technology is confusing your employees, you need to stop onboarding new tools and devices until you get a better adoption plan established. Otherwise, you’re going to end up wasting money and experiencing diminishing returns.
Don’t Ignore Tech Challenges
Upper-level management isn’t always in sync with what’s happening on the ground level. Employees don’t like to admit difficulties for fear of looking weak and small issues aren’t always communicated all the way upstairs. If you have a business of any considerable size, then you may have experienced situations like these from time to time:
- You invest a bunch of money into a new software program and deploy it for your employees to use. Within hours, your employees are frustrated, they can’t do basic tasks and functions that their job requires of them, and you have to call in IT support to put out fires for the rest of the week.
- You spend thousands of dollars on a new device that’s supposed to improve connectivity for your employees while they’re out on the road making sales calls. However, after a couple of days, you realize that the device doesn’t communicate with your CRM system, which essentially renders it useless.
- You implement a new communication tool that’s intended to enhance enteral collaboration between employees, but after a few months, you realize that only some of your employees are using it. Specifically, your older employees aren’t familiar with the interface and are having trouble figuring out how to use it. Instead of asking for help, they’ve just decided to ignore it.
These are specific examples, but they all speak to just how challenging it can be to integrate new technology into an organization. Even if you find it practical, your employees might find it confusing. Not only is this costly, but it drives down productivity and hurts morale.
3 Hacks for Easier Adoption
Entire seminars have been conducted on how to make technological adoption easier in business settings. In other words, this is a meaty topic that sometimes requires very specific advice for unique circumstances.
However, if you’re looking for some basic ways to make adoption easier across the board, the following three hacks are quite useful:
#1. Find Intuitive Technologies
The first key is to find intuitive technologies. When looking for technology, don’t just choose the one that’s the cheapest or most convenient. A cheap and convenient piece of technology becomes expensive and cumbersome if it’s not easy to use.
One of the more practical examples here involves mobile devices. If it’s time to replace your sales team’s smartphones, do your research and make sure you’re upgrading to the right phones. All major cell phone providers have a wide selection of devices. Instead of picking the same one for all of your employees – just because it’s easiest for your IT department – consider letting each employee choose their own phone. This ensures they each have a phone that makes sense to them.
Software is another example. You should never invest in a piece of software for your team without first letting them try it. Every competitive software vendor offers trial periods. Take full advantage of this and let a couple employees test it out. Based on their feedback, you’ll know whether or not it’s a realistic option.
#2. Customize the Training Program
Training is arguably the most important step in the technology adoption process. Everyone knows this, but few businesses take it to heart. A good training program isn’t just detailed – it also takes age and skill level into account. A one-size-fits-all training program usually isn’t adequate.
“For example, a 54-year-old director of nursing and a 22-year-old nurse assistant may both need to be trained on a new clinical product that’s delivered on tablets and smartphones,” Jim Rubadue, VP of a web-based labor management software, explains in the context of a healthcare scenario. “Their learning styles and the time required to adequately train each may be at the opposite ends of the spectrum. Training plans and services need to be flexible enough, both virtual and onsite, to accommodate the range of users within each community.”
#3. Get Past the First Two Weeks
The third hack is something that you need to remember when you’re in the midst of a challenging adoption phase. When employees are struggling to grasp a new technology, it’s easy to throw in the towel and send the product back or cancel the service. But you need to remember these words: two weeks. Two weeks is the amount of time you need to give any piece of technology to work.
The first day is almost always going to be rough. There will be resistance, issues, bugs, and flaws to work out. The next few days will be characterized by small gains here and there. But it won’t be until the first two work weeks are in the books that you’ll really know if a piece of technology is going to work. If you give up before two weeks, you might miss out on a potentially profitable piece of technology because you chose to react prematurely.
Give it Your Best Shot
Some technology is confusing, that’s just the way it is. The key, from a business leadership perspective, is to ensure you’re implementing technology that’s conducive to mass adoption. There’s a lot that goes into this process, but the three hacks outlined in this article will go a long way towards easing the tension in this area. It’s time to put your best foot forward and see what happens.