Jason Averbook, CEO and Co-Founder — Liebgen.
“Rollout” is a term often used to describe the process of introducing new technology into the workplace. HR rolls out a new employee compensation platform, or sales rolls out a new CRM platform. When this happens, affected employees typically receive an email with a link, temporary password, and logon deadline.
Note that “rollout” is an aviation term referring to the process of deceleration an airplane undergoes after landing, coming to a standstill on the runway. This definition of rollout isn’t what organizations aim for when they roll out new technology, but it’s what they often achieve. Far from building excitement, gaining momentum, and getting new tech tools off the ground, rollouts often lead to confusion, frustration, and an overall lack of engagement.
The problem with technology rollouts that play a big role in the overall success of an organization’s digital transformation process is that they don’t put people first. In fact, too many digital transformation initiatives are technology first and people second. They focus on tools and their functionality rather than the value they bring to users.
This approach is causing big problems for organizations. According to the report, only 30% of digital transformation efforts actually lead to high levels of performance. Organizations are investing heavily in digital transformation, but getting little value.
Those looking for a solution to this problem should pay close attention to the new technology implementation process. The problem is not the tools. Tools help organizations improve efficiency and profitability, just as manufacturers promise. The problem is that managers and employees are unable to operate the tools effectively.
Here are two steps any organization can take in their implementation process to ensure new technology tools don’t end up dusting themselves off.
Step 1: Communicate why technology is important to all employees.
The process of migrating to new technology is long and difficult. It typically recognizes a problem, sifts through various possible technical solutions, decides on the most viable one, and fights for the resources to make it happen. Also, it typically does not include any end users.
As a result, new technologies are rarely perceived as solutions from an end-user perspective. On the contrary, it is often perceived as a problem. You have to learn new workflows and develop new habits. Interactions are suboptimal when the payoff is not obvious, especially on non-essential platforms.
To improve processes, technology rollouts can include campaigns to communicate why new tools are needed and desirable. This is part of the shift from a technology-first to a people-first approach. Telling users how to log on and engage is not enough. Organizations should communicate why interaction is encouraged to effectively implement new technologies.
Technology solutions in the HR sector are one example. A recent survey found employees across the country were unhappy with his HR technology. These tech tools, which automate common HR functions like vacation requests and health insurance enrollment, have become so frustrating that 67% of employees say they prefer a more effective platform and more efficiency. They say they are willing to cut their salaries in order to use a more sensible solution.
The problem with many of these HR platforms is that they were designed with HR professionals in mind. They work for HR, but they don’t work for other people. Organizations should explain why new tools are needed to fill this gap.
For example, paid time off traditionally has two options: time off and sick time. Many organizations today offer a variety of options for charity days, mental health days, non-standard hours, remote hours, and more. Tracking these is a complex process that benefits from using HR technology.
The average employee would rather have the simple process of emailing their manager a request than learning a new HR platform. Some people continue to engage in old processes even after new platforms are introduced. To transform them into new processes, the increased workload due to increased options, the importance of accurate payroll processes, and the need for digitization to free up HR staff to provide more personalized attention. There needs to be some communication on how to do it.
All new HR technology is assumed to work in HR. It should be clearly stated why it works for everyone.
Step 2: Communicate how technology can improve the employee experience.
Defining the “why” explains why the technology was introduced. The next step is to define the impact technology has on the employee experience. Communicating how new technology will improve the employee experience is an important part of the implementation process.
For example, transparency has come to be seen as a valuable tool for employee empowerment. Many of the new technical tools organizations are rolling out are more transparent. A task management platform shows who is involved, what they do, and when their work should be expected. Communication platforms show when someone is online, when they read a message, and when they respond. In most cases, that level of real-time access to critical information greatly improves the employee experience.
Effective technology does more than just improve processes. Enable workplace transformation by increasing accessibility, flexibility and efficiency. Helping employees understand that is critical to stimulating their interactions.
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