When technology adoption just isn’t working out

A collective groan echoes around the room; “another system rollout”. We are creatures of habit. We don’t like our boats rocked. So, when heavy-handed technology is deployed and using new and different tools are more of a hassle than help, it doesn’t take much for the frontline to turn away. Only in an organisation when it happens on masse, and during a digital transformation, it can be disastrous.

What was intended to make the employee experience better, quicker and easier, often doesn’t. False promises, delayed timelines, many sticks and no carrots. It can all lead to the realisation from the frontline that life really is easier if they stick to the status quo rather than go through the struggle of using the new technology.

Instead of the typical last-minute scramble to hire a Change Manager in the run-up to launch day, the key is approaching change and adoption as a building block of the solution. The question then becomes less around how you drive adoption when the technology is rolling-out and more about how you build buy-in and belief from the very beginning. So, what are the 4 key considerations that will help you get there?

Prioritise employee experience

Involve users in the design-specifications of the technology. The frontline know their jobs inside-out; which processes are complex and convoluted, and where the manual work-arounds are. Involving your frontline gives them an opportunity to build the employee experience that they wish to have – certainly more accurately than anybody else could.

Pilot or beta-test with a carefully curated group. Representatives from key functions who have a dual role. Firstly, this will prompt feedback and assist with building a better solution. Secondly, it will encourage communication of the benefits, informally to their networks within the organisation.

Business-led, IT enabled

It will be no surprise to anyone that the business and IT typically have different objectives. However, when the technology is intended to drive results for the business, the rollout needs to be business-led and owned. IT has a significant role to play in enabling the build and deployment, but the buck needs to stop with the business. Selecting the right solution that fits the business needs and designing the right user stories for frontline requirements, should all be driven by the business with validation from IT.

Carrot, not the stick: Sequence the release

Understand where the pain is for the frontline. What causes the daily frustration? What takes 40 minutes that could take 4? Ensure the first release of technology alleviates the most pain. This means that rather than just being told of the benefits, the frontline experience it immediately in their day-to-day work; building receptivity, removing scepticism, and giving you the right to continue with implementation.

Leave space for course correction

Overworked and overstretched. Technology rollouts typically come on top of BAU for project teams, leaving little-to-no space to adjust, course correct and address any issues that arise, particularly post-rollout. Dedicating time and space before moving on to the next project will help properly embed new ways of working and help with laying the foundations for future rollout success.

Key takeaways

Even mid-way through, these suggestions can come into play. Beta-testing new features with your carefully curated group, re-sequencing to remove the biggest pain points earlier and ringfencing some capacity within your project teams will help to build buy-in for even the most heavy-handed rollouts. Maybe even turning down the volume on the collective groan…

Worded by Gabrielle Lukes-Mooney.

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