Technology exists to make our professional lives a little easier. However, when department managers and their teams get too comfortable with the old way of doing business in a familiar pattern or process, it’s never easy to convince them to adapt to the latest infrastructure all at once.
If your company is currently pursuing a new digital platform or service, an expert panel of Fast Company Executive Board members shares 16 points to support each employee’s tech level and learning style.
1. IS THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE PERSONALIZED?
Our company uses a “white glove” approach during the onboarding process as every restaurant we partner with is at a different point in its digital transformation journey. As a business leader, it’s always important to ensure that each client’s experience is hyper-personalized because it sets them up for short- and long-term success. Conduct in-person meetings with each client as their team adapts to your technology. – Christine de Wendel, sunday
2. DID YOU GET FEEDBACK FROM ‘TOUGH CUSTOMERS?’
Engage your “tough customers” first. Make a shortlist of folks in your organization that are both influential and known to be squeaky wheels about change. Invite them to preview the tech and ask for their thoughts on the product and rollout. Identifying points of resistance from the toughest critics early and often makes them feel included and adds to a more successful adoption. – Carrie Weaver, Silver Branch Consulting
3. WHAT IS YOUR COMPANY’S CHALLENGE?
First, understand the business problem you are trying to solve or the opportunity you are trying to capitalize on. Technology for the sake of technology always ends badly. Second, find a partner you can trust who can help you on the journey because the unanticipated can result in expensive mistakes. This not only weakens a company’s growth but also puts it at an even greater risk. – Ryan Frederick, AWH
4. WHAT TYPE OF TRAINING IS AVAILABLE?
Education on how the digital transformation will assist in resolving pain points for employees and team members is key. In order for staff to adopt something new, it has to be relevant and beneficial for them. Otherwise, it seems like an arduous task to learn a new product or tool. Ask team members what challenges they have in their day-to-day work and explain how the new technology will address this. – Amanda Dorenberg, COMMB
5. DID YOU GET A SECOND OPINION?
Many technology solutions can be sold as the “definitive” and “golden ticket” for increased productivity and decreased costs. Network with peers and see what their thoughts and suggestions are and what they have used. This type of advice will enable you to make a decision based on others’ experience, not the salesperson’s opinion. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency
6. IS THE PLATFORM USER-FRIENDLY FOR MULTIPLE LEARNING?
If you’ve seen the new tech demoed a million times, it may seem easy to use. But, for your team, this may be the first time they’re seeing it. As we all learn differently, be sure to offer many ways to teach the new tech (e.g., slides and videos) and lead meetings where everyone can learn to use it together, working out the kinks as a team. Making learning more fun and social should lead to quicker adoption. – Heather Hatlo Porter, Chegg, Inc.
7. HOW WILL YOU INCORPORATE CREATIVITY?
Adopting technology may come naturally to many people, but not so much for others. For companies to get everyone on board with new technology, I suggest incorporating an element of creativity and play into the learning process. When you utilize creativity and play in any training, you are tapping into a capacity we all have! – Van Lai-DuMone, worksmart Advantage
8. WHAT IS YOUR STARTING POINT?
Start small and expand to a larger number of business units after completing the initial phases. Use a framework process to provide an efficient rollout of the new technology while avoiding the missteps that can plague initial rollout attempts across the company. This will support the evolution of new technology to make the company more productive and efficient. – Cheri Beranek, Clearfield Inc
9. HOW WILL YOU ENCOURAGE AN OPEN MINDSET?
Stirring an adaptive and open mindset throughout the team will leap bounds in terms of the adoption of technology. Technology will ever change, and the needs of our business will eventually change as well. Our necessities right now may not be apt to the technology we will have 2 to 3 years from now. It’s hard to learn new technologies, and it will be even more challenging if the person is not adaptive to them. – Lane Kawaoka, SimplePassiveCashflow.com
10. ARE YOUR BUILDING STRENGTH IN NUMBERS?
When rolling out new technology within your company, strategically select people at different levels of the organization to be part of the process. Listen to their needs during the evaluation phase, and have them test out the new technology before it rolls out. By having their buy-in and their familiarity with the new tech, you’ve created ambassadors who can help get their own teams on board. – Alexandra Cavoulacos, The Muse
11. ARE YOU DRINKING FROM YOUR OWN FOUNTAIN?
Drink from our own fountain. As a sales training company, we utilize a learning management system and use a combination of on-demand video, live coaching, and training to teach our clients. Get a new piece of tech or software, create a course around it, and use the same methodology to onboard your own team. Because of gamification and reporting, this approach is working well for our specific company! – Viveka Von Rosen, Vengreso
12. HAVE YOU INVESTED IN THE EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE?
People adopt changes because they are easy to understand and have a perceived value associated with them. The “why” is significantly more important than the “what.” Educate your employees on why they’ll personally benefit from adopting this new tool or process. If you’re still hitting a wall, identify champions in the organization to help drive this why forward. – Melanie Fellay, Spekit
13. ARE YOU DEDICATED TO CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AUTOMATION?
Start small. I founded a customer experience automation (CXA) company and I always recommend that customers who are just getting started with automation dedicate 20 minutes a week to it. Think about what could be automated for your company and set up one automation at a time. Too often with technology, people want to dive in, but that feels daunting. By taking small steps, it’s more manageable. – Jason VandeBoom, ActiveCampaign
14. HAVE YOU CREATED A TIMELINE FOR THE TRANSITION?
Getting your team to adopt new technology becomes easier when that becomes the only choice available to people. This doesn’t mean that you force team members to switch to new tools. Rather, create a timeline for when all work moves to new tools. This gives people enough time to get a feel for how the new process works. In time, your new tech and processes will become the new normal. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
15. ARE YOU MOVING TOO QUICKLY?
Take it slow. To get started, figure out the key issues that are in your business. Over a period of weeks, you’ll likely be able to identify the top issues you face. From there, search for the best SaaS solution to solve just that key issue. Make sure you consider implementation and team buy-in. Once ready, proceed with implementation. Assuming it works, repeat for the next issue. – Fehzan Ali, Adscend Media LLC
16. ARE YOU BEING A GOOD ROLE MODEL?
Role model the behavior of adopting new technology. Try utilizing new toolsets in the context of your own day-to-day activities because the more your team sees you doing what you espouse, the better. Also, ensure that the technology adoption is to help you streamline or accelerate activities that are driving your business outcomes. If not, walk away. – Krishna Kutty, Kuroshio Consulting Inc.