Getting employees to adopt new technology can be difficult.
There are a few reasons for this type of natural resistance.
First, it can be perceived as more work. While using a new technology at work should eventually make things easier for the employee, they’re probably not going to be paid extra for the time it takes to learn it.
Second, if it’s not presented properly, the new software might seem unnecessary or extraneous. What was wrong with the previous method of doing things?
Third, humans just have a natural resistance to change—we’re creatures of habit. Have you ever noticed that in a classroom setting, even if there isn’t assigned seating, everybody naturally just gravitates to the same seat they were in last week? We seem to claim ‘ownership’ over the seat.
The same can happen with software, tools, and processes at work.
And this is a serious problem for organizations! An MIT Sloan Management Review study found that managers consider digital transformation critical to their organization, yet 63% said that adoption of new technology was happening too slowly.
Employee adoption is a huge part of digital transformation, so let’s talk about different methods to encourage your staff or coworkers to get excited about their new tools.
How To Drive Adoption
So the decision has been made, and you’re going to implement a new digital tool (or suite of tools) to your workforce. Here are some ideas to help you make the transition as smooth as possible.
Plan your rollout meticulously
You need a timeline, you need a budget, you need a contingency plan, and likely many more details. Talk with your vendors or partners to get a sense of how a typical software internal launch goes down. Prepare your rollout plan like way a defense attorney would prepare her client—never get asked a question you don’t know the answer to. You’re the leading expert on this project and your confidence will inspire others. Being prepared is the key to not only appearing as the resident expert on the subject, but being the expert. This planning and research can can managers avoid small mistakes.
Tell a good story
Speaking of confidence, sell this thing with a great story! Make a presentation, create some charts, tell your employees the story of how this new tool will make their lives easier, how it will improve their professional capacity. People are more receptive to ideas when they can visualize a beginning, middle and the end. So even if it might take an extra hour of work per week in the beginning to learn the new software, by the end of the month its automation capabilities will be saving you an hour per day. See what we did there?
Onboard a small group first
If your company or department is large, do not try to onboard everyone all at once. Grab a small group of your most technically competent employees, or at least the most open minded as your control group. Take your time to train them, answer their questions, let them know your expectations, and follow through until they arrive at the end.
This method works for two reasons:
- It lets you iron out some of the wrinkles in your training and implementation plan with the people who are more likely to give constructive feedback and put forth a solid effort.
- A successful cohort gives you social proof and an extra group of teachers to help the majority of employees and coworkers get up to speed.
Customize the training
The software you use during your digital transformation is likely to have several different features that may apply more or less to certain job functions. For example, the way that a web developer would use the HelloSign API is a lot different than the way a human resources manager would use electronic signatures. Customizing your training will allow you to go more in depth in areas that matter to the individual. This helps them get what they need quicker and shows them that you’ve carefully considered their needs while developing your training.
Celebrate the early wins
OK, we’re not saying you have to bust out a birthday cake every time somebody successfully fills out their new profile, but make a point to publicly acknowledge people who catch on early and put forth the effort learn something new. A little shoutout on the company intranet never hurt anybody…
We’re all adults here, and we’d hate to see it comes to this, but if you’ve tried all the carrots above and you’re still not seeing adoption, you might have to try the stick—especially if resistance is affecting the bottom line or holding up other people in the organization. One example of a ‘penalty’ would be to only count sales that are entered into the new system toward a monthly quota. A bit harsh? Maybe, but also effective as a last resort.
We hope you can use these tips to get your employees excited about the new digital tools available. If you want to go deeper into using digital as a core component of your company, check out our Digital Strength program—a comprehensive program that arms professionals with skills to expedite their digital journey.