Introducing new technology in the workplace can be intimidating for both workplace leaders and employees. Change can be tough, especially when it means changing a habit of how you once operated at work. When it comes to introducing new technology, there is a lot that can go wrong. The technology might be complex to set up or doesn’t integrate with your existing systems. Or maybe leaders and employees don’t see the value in the new tool and opt not to use it. That’s why implementing a new tool is only half the battle. The other half is in successfully introducing it to your teams so that they actually see the value. You don’t have to face this battle alone. We’ve got you. In this month’s Workplace Tech Talk, we’ll go over steps and considerations you should be aware of when introducing a new technology in your workplace. Let’s get to it.
Step 1. Create a roll-out plan
Jumping the gun on a new technology is sure to lead to confusion, so make sure you create a thorough roll-out plan first. It should have realistic dates, action items, and stakeholders associated with each line item. Build it in a document that is easily shareable and can be replicated down the line. Here’s what you should include in your roll-out plan with a suggested timeline:
- Week 1: Connect with the customer service rep of your new tool and grab resources and tips from them. They may be able to lead tutorials or have pre-built demo videos you can easily share out.
- Weeks 2-3: Build in ample time for implementation and set-up. You’ll want to make sure your IT team and admins have time to set up the new tool for your employees to use. Week 4: Next, schedule a few training sessions. You’ll want these to be spread out throughout the week, with different times available for folks in different time zones.
- Week 5: A few days later, schedule a Q&A session. These sessions open up space for employees to comfortably ask questions. They can also be led by your champion team (more on that below). You want to cultivate an environment of empathy for employees, because learning new tools can be tricky.
- Weeks 6-7: After two weeks, get feedback on the new tool and see if there are any suggestions around the roll-out process. Your employees can provide you with valuable tips on how to roll out a new tool in the future.
If you replicate a similar process for any new tool you introduce, your employees will know what to expect and feel more comfortable with the process. We’ll go into more detail about these action items in the next few sections.
Step 2. Communicate the value
No one likes to be surprised with a new tool that interrupts their day-to-day process, especially if they don’t understand why there’s a new tool in the first place. You’ll want to take time to understand the real needs and concerns of your employees, so that you can communicate how this new tool can help them. Focus on the benefits of the new tech, and how it will make their jobs easier, more efficient, or more enjoyable.You’ll want to use relatable examples and even case studies to illustrate how the technology has helped other companies and how it might help them. For example, if you’re looking to add a room booking tool to your workplace tech stack, then empathize with your employees' frustration around finding available meeting rooms. Then tell them about the benefits of a tool that lets you find available rooms that are the right size for your meeting.
Step 3. Be prepared for resistance
Now here comes the tough part. Employees are human, and humans can be resistant to change. That’s a natural reaction to a shift in what’s familiar to them, and it’s important to acknowledge that your employees may feel uneasy with a new tool. This resistance might lead to employees ignoring the tool or choosing not to use it. So be sure to build in some checkpoints to see if employees are actually using the tool. Ask them if any of their day-to-day processes have been improved. What do they like about the tool, and what do they wish could be changed? Take that feedback into consideration because there might be extra features within the tool that can help employees see its value. You might be able to upgrade your package or unlock additional features.Another way to combat resistance is to identify your power users and work closely with them. These power users are those who quickly mastered the new tool and are enthusiastic supporters of it. Enlist them to be champions to help promote and support its adoption to their peers. Plus, you can check-in with them to see if they have specific suggestions or feedback from observing their peers’ experience.
Step 4. Track your progress
You won’t be able to know if steps one through three are going well, unless you’re tracking your progress. Pull weekly reports on the usage of the tool. For example, if you’re implementing a new employee scheduling tool, check how many employees are using it to sign in each week.Attach your data points to a goal so you know if you need to adjust your strategy. If your goal is to hit 75% adoption by the end of a month, and you’re at 50%, you might need to hold a few more training sessions. Lastly, be sure to celebrate your successes and share them with the company. —Introducing new technology to employees is important for keeping up with new demands for the workplace. Although change is never easy, it can have a great payoff. By carefully moving through the steps and frequently checking in with your employees, you can avoid whiplash and successfully upgrade your workplace tech stack.To learn more about how to stay ahead of new workplace technology, check out our Future of workplace technology infographic, and check back soon for next month’s Workplace Tech Talk.