This is a guest post for the MELD Coworking blog written by Ashley Wilson.
Work is no longer a place we go to each day – it’s something we do. That means that new kinds of employees are showing up around the world, from mobile remote workers to people who work in different offices from one week to the next.
83% of professionals in today’s workforce say they rely on technology to remain productive. Why? Because the modern workplace is changing.
We’re all looking for more freedom in how we work, and the right technology can help to unshackle us from old-fashioned ideologies and 9-to-5 roles.
However, for companies to empower the modern workforce, they can’t just deliver new apps into the workforce and wait for productivity to grow. There needs to be a cohesive and comprehensive plan for driving adoption of new software and solutions.
Businesses that do not implement a new tool the right way end up with just another wasted investment. So, how can you convince even the most skeptical worker to try something new?
Step 1: Look for a Simple UI
When choosing new tools for the workforce, many business leaders start by looking at things like features and price. While these components are essential, it’s crucial not to lose track of another consideration too – usability.
The more complex a tool is, the more training your team will need to use it.
Rather than getting carried away with the latest innovations and pioneering solutions in the marketplace, businesses should choose tools based on what they know employees need.
For instance, a remote team will need access to collaborative tools they can use to share files with coworkers, and host video conferencing sessions. They don’t need more complex features like virtual assistants and VR integrations, to begin with.
The less training required an employee needs, the easier adoption should be. Well-designed technology with a fantastic interface is a good first step. The fundamental aim should always be to solve employee problems, not present them with new challenges to overcome.
Step 2: Emphasize the Value of New Tools
For someone who’s never considered coworking before, working in an office with random people might sound strange. However, when you tell them, they’ll have a more collaborative and productive experience when surrounded by their peers, they will see the benefits.
The same strategy applies to introducing new technology.
Team members want to know what’s “in it for them” when they’re given a new piece of software they need to learn how to use.
Business leaders that can show their workers why a new solution will help them ease their workloads and get more done are sure to see greater adoption rates. Managers could even earn the attention and interest of employees by showing them how the tech makes remote working easier.
For instance, a business introducing a video conferencing solution could explain how face-to-face interactions with coworkers will help remote workers feel closer to the other members of their team – regardless of where they are. Organizations introducing project management tools could show their employees how they’ll be able to track their progress towards goals and reduce the risk of missing deadlines.
No-one enjoys being told to change the way they work “just because,” but employees that can see the advantages of a new tool will be more likely to try it out.
Step 3: Implement Effective Training Programs
Implementing new technology can be difficult for any business environment. Often, the easiest way to ensure success is for business leaders to make sure they have a plan for implementation from start to finish.
That includes plenty of training opportunities for people who need extra support getting used to their new tools.
Since different people learn in their unique ways, some companies might want to explore different training sessions. You might try a one-on-one session with a mentor or online courses that people can take in their free time. Some businesses will just need to run a quick demonstration to get everyone on the same page.
Sometimes, even after a rollout, employees might realize that they need a little extra help along the way. It’s essential to have people available that team members can turn to when they have questions.
Step 4: Engage Influencers and Early Adopters
Some people work best when they’re able to collaborate with people from home. Others prefer the chatter and community of an office environment. When a company introduces a new tool or piece of technology, there will be some workers that embrace it sooner than others.
The best thing a business leader can do with these early adopters is use them to influence other members of the team.
For instance, senior employees that feel comfortable with a new tool could act as digital mentors for other members of the group. They might offer one-on-one video chats to people who need some extra help or provide chat-based support.
Early adopters can also advocate for the new software or hardware with other members of staff, reminding them of the benefits that come from adopting the technology when implementation stalls.
Step 5: Track, Learn and Adjust
The modern work environment is evolving at all times.
Today, the workspace is very different from the environment we used to know ten years ago. As businesses become more agile and innovative, it’s essential to pay attention to how employees are responding to the changes in their everyday schedules.
When implementing new tools, business leaders should always pay close attention to the feedback they get from their staff members. These responses will help team leaders learn where people struggle in adopting new technology, and what to do to ease adoption.
Regular feedback also ensures that business leaders are investing in the tools that their employees need, rather than just deploying the latest and most exciting technology.
Employees prefer the status quo, and many will fight new changes if they don’t see the benefits. To make the transition easier, don’t force new tech on them. Instead, prepare a good onboarding strategy so that they WANT the new solutions.
Those that accept solutions early can help you get the rest on board and help their colleagues get familiar with new tools.
About the Author
Ashley Wilson is a digital nomad writing about business and tech. She has been known to reference Harry Potter quotes in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.