Blending People and Technology
It’s impossible to think of a company that doesn’t leverage its people and technology, but not enough are passing the test. Says who? Well, employees, according to a 2022 1E survey of 300 IT decision-makers and knowledge workers from companies with 5,000+ employees. The survey found that 95% of employees say they “struggle with digital friction such as software and network issues, workplace application problems, and slow devices.”
Especially in today’s remote work and hybrid environments, organizations are increasingly investing in tools and systems to modernize and optimize technology to, in turn, equip their people with the resources to succeed while fostering a collaborative and enjoyable culture. When done right, an organization’s people and technology will mesh to drive efficiencies and increase connectivity to boost employee satisfaction.
Getting it Right
Employee comfortability with technology fluctuates within an organization, with tech-focused individuals having more advanced competencies than their colleagues in other departments. Leaders must keep this in mind when undertaking technology transformations and ensure their implementation steps are inclusive of all competencies.
We have identified four main success factors that will contribute to the successful introduction of a new system or tool to an organization: communication, training, change management, and positive reinforcement. These four elements will establish a clear explanation of the change, teach employees how to leverage the technology, promote sound internal processes to nurture and manage the change, and reinforce its goals and objectives and how they are contributing to the company’s success.
Communicating the Change
Step one for leaders is to communicate the “why” driving the company’s technology transformation; this is central do garnering buy-in and adoption. How will it benefit the company? Will the soon-to-be introduced system support growth? Will it streamline important projects and top priorities? On the other hand, how will it benefit employees? Does this change make their jobs easier? Does it help them reach their individual goals and KPIs?
Formulating the “why” is the foundation to a successful technology transformation. It’s more than likely that employees are comfortable and satisfied with the organization’s current technology stack —carrying out daily tasks through current systems is second nature to them and requires little, if any, thought. Throwing a wrench in employees’ systems familiarity could land negatively, making the need to communicate the drivers and expected fruits of the change paramount.
Training Your Team
Leaders must consider their audience when designing and implementing training programs for new systems. No employee base learns in the same way; some may be self-learners or visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learners. Therefore, it is incumbent upon leadership to tailor trainings and continued support to a diverse set of learners. Having a host of training options will increase competency and adoption across the organization — ultimately providing the desired outcomes and return on investment.
Moreover, soliciting feedback and a new system or tool will enable the organization to continuously improve its processes and utilization. Perhaps the technology’s performance in a handful of core processes is inefficient and creates logjams as opposed to streamlining workflows. This should come to light as a result of active inquiries by leadership followed by thoughtful remediations that show employees the value of communicating their feedback. New technology implementations are bound to hit a few bumps in the road, and unearthing these hiccups should not be viewed as failure but rather as a step to ensure the success of the technology that will serve an organization and its people.
It’s a huge win to implement a new technology company-wide — but whether leaders resist the urge to declare victory, wipe their hands clean, and leave it to employees after announcing the change can make or break its success. While giving individuals the time to progress on the learning curve, it’s helpful to identify internal champions who can attest to the benefits of the technology and help their colleagues overcome their hurdles. These people will be those who have are receptive to and proficient in the new tool or system and can bolster employee adoption, competence, and morale through the post-implementation stage.
Aligning employees, in terms of both skills and buy-in, is no small feat, and the wins along the way should be celebrated. Internal communications that reinforce the “why,” show how the technology is bringing the organization closer to that north star, and spotlight individuals and teams that are leveraging it to create value will serve as a constant reminder that everyone — and the company at-large — stands to benefit from its presence in the organization. On the other hand, the inevitable rough patches should be viewed as opportunities to learn and evolve as a professional and as an organization, turning a negative into a positive growing experience.
After all, blending people and technology in a thoughtful, deliberate manner is a winning strategy. When working in harmony, they will unlock efficiencies and increase employee satisfaction to build a resilient and scalable business.
- Date August 10, 2023
- Tags Insights, Operational Excellence, Operational Excellence Insights, Resilience, Risk & Governance, Resilience, Risk & Governance Insights, Strategic Growth & Digital Transformation, Strategic Growth & Digital Transformation Insights