Shawn Peterson is the CEO of Quantum Business Solutions. He comes with a decade of experience in the technology services industry as an executive. Shawn is a visionary focused on high growth and performance through sales, marketing, and client experience.
Technology is advancing at an incredible rate, and for businesses to survive and thrive, they must embrace new technologies. Unfortunately, the adoption of new technologies is often met with resistance from end-users. How can you gain traction with your team, obtain their buy-in and support, and successfully implement new technologies to remain competitive, improve organizational efficiencies, expand your reach to your target audience, and grow revenue? Here is a step-by-step practical approach to improving engagement and adoption of new technologies in your organization.
Invest in the right technology. Do your homework.
On the surface, a lot of technologies claim they do the same thing. Research the technology, speak with others who utilize the technology, sit through the demos, ask a lot of questions, and when possible, do a test drive to determine and experience usability. Make sure the technology you are asking your team to adopt is an improvement over the technology you are replacing and solves the specific need you are looking to solve.
Solicit feedback from end-users.
If possible, include team members in the demos. Get their buy-in early on. Discuss what problems you are looking to solve and share the benefits with the end-user. Listen to, acknowledge, and address any concerns. Consider past experiences, including prior technology rollouts that did not go smoothly, and clearly explain steps that are being taken to avoid those pitfalls this time around.
Identify the resources and responsibilities for onboarding and implementation.
This is most likely a combination of external resources from the technology vendor who will be providing onboarding support and internal resources who will be responsible for the implementation.
Build a solid communication plan and secure commitment from all levels of the organization.
A negative comment from senior leadership or management can quickly derail excitement and adoption. Management should be well-versed in the benefits to the organization, as well as to themselves and their team members.
Set realistic expectations and alleviate fears.
Even with thorough planning, there are often hiccups with implementing new technologies. Set realistic timelines for implementation. Have contingency plans to protect any data that could be lost as part of an integration. In a real and meaningful way, address fears, such as fear of job loss, fear of change and fear of something new, and highlight the benefits that will improve work functions and job satisfaction.
Share upcoming dates for implementation and training. Ask team members if they are looking forward to being able to utilize the new technology. Continue to highlight the personal benefits to the end-users.
Train early and often and have a fully developed training plan.
Break training up into manageable segments and verify understanding and proficiency. Closely monitor during the early stages of using the technology to make sure the knowledge has been retained from training and that end-users are properly utilizing the functionality.
Once reasonable proficiency with the new technology has been reached, cut off usage of the old technology tools.
If given the choice, end-users will often fall back on something they are more comfortable using, even if it is less efficient or doesn’t drive the most effective results.
Make it fun.
Set up contests with rewards for both utilization and success. Celebrate and publicize success within the end-user group as well as within the broader organization.
Recruit champions and early adopters to help you build adoption within the team.
Ask them what benefits they have realized as a result of using the new technology and then ask them to share that feedback with other team members.
Continue to ask for feedback and provide ongoing training as needed.
If there are legitimate barriers, acknowledge them and find an appropriate solution.
Be patient and avoid becoming antagonistic.
There may come a point when it becomes necessary to mandate and enforce adoption or face consequences, but this should only be done once other efforts have been exhausted.
If you have followed this step-by-step process, but your team has failed to embrace the new technology, your team is most likely not realizing the value. If the technology is solving for the specific need it was intended to address, you need to provide further education using data to illustrate to the end-users the value and benefits.