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How to convince employees to adopt new technology (hint: make it fun)

How to convince employees to adopt new technology (hint: make it fun)

What’s the key to getting your employees to adopt new internal workflows? According to Adobe’s Scott Belsky, make it fun.

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“When it comes to rolling out an internal enterprise tool, a lot of the adoption of new technology comes down to internal merchandising,” said Belsky, the chief product officer and EVP at Adobe Creative Cloud. Which is to say it’s not enough to roll out a new program and call it a day. People have to want to use it, too. Belsky points to Slack as a great example of this–it’s not only an internal communication platform, but it has fun animated GIFs and other features employees actually like. Who wouldn’t want to integrate it into their day-to-day? “[Slack] first galvanized engagement through fun,” he said.

When there’s internal resistance to new programs, added General Assembly cofounder and CEO Jake Schwartz, “you have to treat users as customers, regardless of whether or not they’re giving you money.” It’s all about “understanding this process of how to get people to use this product.”

Schwartz and Belsky sat beside Microsoft EVP Peggy Johnson and Walmart International CEO and president Judith McKenna early Wednesday morning in snowy Davos, Switzerland, and discussed the challenges organizations face when approaching digital transformation with Fast Company editor-in-chief Stephanie Mehta. They all agreed that these approaches to innovation have to focus predominantly on all the people involved. A company can’t simply implement a new technology and hope employees will catch on.

One answer the panel posited was a focus on selling the update internally. Yet it’s as much about the process as it is the solution. Getting the right people involved from the get-go ensures the best possible result. According to McKenna, real stakeholders have to be part of the design process. “Were the people who are using it involved in the design in the first place?” she asked.

From there, the organization has to make sure everyone is on board. For McKenna, internal transformation should be handled like any consumer-facing deployment. “You have to market internally just as much as you market externally,” she said.

Essentially, the four panelists emphasized the need to approach organizational changes by taking into account all the stakeholders involved. The larger the company, the more difficult it is to bring about change. The simple way to fight that is to make sure as many people have input as possible. Following that, give people a reason to engage.

Sometimes people simply don’t adopt a new tool, said Belsky, “until there’s a fun element.”


Davos Dialogues, a series of editorial panels, videos, and news coverage, is produced in partnership with HCL Technologies. 

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