As organizations across all industries fight to stay ahead in a crowded global market, technology continues to serve as the main gateway to gaining and maintaining a competitive edge. Technology infiltrates every aspect of business (regardless of industry, role or demographic), drastically impacting our productivity and efficiency outputs. However, in order to sustain these benefits long-term, there’s another component to consider beyond just the technology itself—technology adoption.
While 87% of companies believe that digital transformation is crucial to growth, 63% indicate that technical change isn’t happening quickly enough in the workplace. The resources are there to facilitate success, but the majority of employees end up feeling uncertain and under informed about what’s available.
Too often, SaaS companies become laser-focused on releasing as many features as possible, as fast as possible, that they forget to consider elements like user experience (UX), user interface (UI) and overall accessibility. If a piece of software is confusing or overly complex, teams will avoid it at all costs—no matter how beneficial it could be to themselves on an individual level or the business as a whole.
By coming to terms with the adoption curve and the importance of user experience, organizations can create a strategic roadmap for digital transformation and uncover the true potential of technology.
The Technology Adoption Lifecycle
In recent decades, we’ve seen significant changes in the way that companies use technology both from an internal and external perspective. Unfortunately, despite these new developments, productivity rates aren’t exactly going through the roof. In fact, Gallup studies famously indicate that only about 13% of all employees feel engaged at work.
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While 76% of employees indicate that technology has a big impact on their work, less than half of that same group felt that their leaders implemented solutions that improved their quality of work—indicating a gap between the systems employees need and the strategies that are being made available.
Running a business with a disconnect of this caliber leads to an unengaged, unhappy workforce that would likely struggle to adopt (let alone integrate) even the best of technologies. Here are 6 ways to prevent that from happening to your organization.
6 Steps to Increase Technology Adoption
First and foremost, how do companies simplify the technology adoption lifecycle while continuing to engage teams across an organization? Ultimately, it starts by recognizing that employees (yourself included) want clear, intuitive and reliable technology to complete tasks more efficiently.
Step 1: Select Tools Carefully
The first thing you need to determine is whether or not you’re currently investing in the right business tools for the right reasons. Digital transformation in the workplace isn’t about having the newest and shiniest tech kit on the block, but rather, about pinpointing problem areas in your workflow, identifying the cause of the snag, and then finding a solution to overcome that challenge.
More often than not, your solution will come in the form of technology, which brings us to one of the most defining moments in this journey—identifying how this challenge impacts the business on a large scale, and then detailing how the proposed solution closes that gap to create measurable benefits as a result.
Start by having a dialogue—either internally or with team members—around the following questions:
How does this system serve our organizational goals?
If your goal is to get more talent through the door via referrals from current employees, you’ll need to first identify the different variables involved in achieving success. Does your company currently cultivate a desirable company culture? Are your current employees engaged and happy? Would they be incentivized to share job openings?
At the end of the day, whenever success is dependent on changing habits or shifting current behavior, your approach has to be more thorough than just giving employees login credentials. Success relies on dedicated management, ongoing maintenance, a purposeful deployment and seamless integration into current processes.
Knowing exactly which values every new tech solution brings will make it easier to create your business case, and ultimately, impact your ability to sell it to your audience.
What pain points does this tool solve?
While it’s important to make sure that your new systems serve your business, technology adoption is all about finding ways that software or hardware can support a better workflow for your employees.
In the previous example, by identifying the concrete potential results from an employee advocacy platform, you’ll color the situation for those who may be more removed from it and provide context for why a solution is necessary.
How difficult will it be to roll out the new technology?
Finally, consider how much productivity you’re willing to lose when rolling out new technology. With any change in process, there will be a learning curve (some longer than others), but it’s important to estimate an ideal adoption timeline, and then identify ways—whether it’s paying for additional training, one-on-one sessions or the choice to opt-out—that can speed up or ease technology adoption.
Step 2: Find the Balance Between Functionality & UX
As you’re browsing through new technology solutions with a focus on the adoption curve, make sure to keep the importance of user experience in mind. While it’s tempting to select a program based on factors like price or feature-set, remember that with technology adoption—simplicity is key.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should avoid any new technology that requires extra training or a longer rollout. Instead, it’s about making each decision with purpose and confidence—especially seeing as 85% of decision-makers believe they have less than two years to embrace digital transformation before falling behind the competition. With statistics like that in mind, it’s easy to see why some companies race to choose the first solution they see.
The key to success with technology adoption is making sure you know the breadth of what’s available in the marketplace, lessening the likelihood that you’ll make a decision without having the full picture.
Step 3: Develop a Training Strategy Early
No matter how simple and efficient you believe your digital transformation to be, there’s always a chance that your workforce will need a little more training than anticipated. In today’s multi-generational work environment, technology adoption happens at different rates for different people, and one of the biggest problems with most user adoption strategies is that they’re not customized to the needs of a specific professional.
If your workforce has been using the same software for decades, it’s likely that they’ll need more than just an off-the-shelf presentation to get the lay of the land and understand what this new tech can do. People need a chance to interact with the system ‘s interface and expand their knowledge of how this change might impact their day-to-day.
For example, instead of expecting your employees to train themselves with product guides or listen to a vendor talk about the software, add some elements that encourage engagement. You can ask employees to complete a task (relevant to their job) using the new technology, and have an open dialogue about what went well and what may have been a little bumpy. This will help them to see for themselves just how easy the solution is to use, and how it can improve efficiency in their role.
Step 4: Schedule a Strategic Roll-Out Plan
Once you’ve chosen the technology you want to implement, take all the information you have about pain points, internal and customer-facing benefits, training needs, etc, and then incorporate those headlines into the roll-out plan.
Providing a holistic background behind the reasons for this change can significantly elevate technology adoption by simply reducing confusion and initial feelings of being overwhelmed as a result of frequent or substantial change.
Given that 52% of leaders think a lack of familiarity with new technology is a barrier to digital transformation, consider a roll-out plan that includes the following:
When will each element of your new technology be ready to implement? Do you need everyone to start using it straight away, or can they adopt at their own pace?
Tiers of Deployment
Do you need to roll your technology tool out to specific users first? For instance, would you prefer to start with executives, and work your way through the silos in your company?
How will you celebrate meeting your targets with the technology adoption lifecycle? Will rewards be given to early adopters, and provide additional training to those who lag behind?
The more precise and informed your roll-out plan is, the easier it will be to keep everyone on the same page.
Step 5: Keep New Tech Top of Mind
Given the range of personality types present in any workplace today, the rate at which employees adopt technology will always fall on a spectrum. However, a positive and encouraging attitude can help to motivate the slower adopters to put forth the extra effort.
Rather than just pushing a new internal communications program or social advocacy strategy as a change in company policy, introduce it as a way of making your employees’ work life easier. Show them the reasons behind the change and demonstrate new examples of how the tech has successfully helped other people on the team.
Every time your company accomplishes something new thanks to your new technology, share it with your organization or celebrate the milestone in office. These small celebrations add up and contribute to a healthier, more consistent company culture.
Step 6: Follow-Up
Digital transformation is a constant, ever-evolving process. In other words, technology adoption is never really “finished.” Even once the majority of your workforce has fully switched over to the new tech or solution, you’ll need to keep tracking the success of the software and highlight the areas of the business that have seen a measurable impact.
At the same time, remember to keep your ears and eyes open to employee feedback, and show your team that you’re willing to respond to their needs and suggestions when they arise. When your community feels as though you’re implementing technology with an understanding of their needs and concerns, they’ll feel more engaged, respected and more likely to adopt the next time you bring something new into the mix.
Mastering the Technology Adoption Curve
Ultimately, no matter where your business is situated, almost all companies are embracing new and improved technology in today’s eras of digital transformation. While it’s tempting to simply install every new piece of technology that you feel could improve your company’s revenue, it’s crucial to remember the importance of user experience, and how it relates to technology adoption.
By implementing structured user adoption strategies, you can reduce the risk of disengaged and disinterested employees who fail to make the most out of a new platform, software, or application’s potential.