Since March of 2020, we’ve seen incredible changes to the business landscape. Operations, employee collaboration, and business processes have all changed as a result of offices closing and businesses choosing to keep their employees remote. As we hit the mid-way point of 2021, businesses are settling into what is considered the “new-normal,” and a significant part of this new business landscape revolves around novel technology. More specifically, organizations that want to stay competitive must create environments that foster learning, digital proficiency, and virtual collaboration. One of the most important aspects of these changes is implementing a strong technology transformation program that puts employees in a position to succeed in their roles. Whether your organization is overhauling its entire technology system or simply choosing to implement new software or processes, it is important that you have a strong plan for success in place.
There are many new business technologies that are bursting onto the scene in 2021, including AI, remote onboarding and collaboration, comprehensive HR tech, and more. While these may seem like tools for the future, they are quickly becoming the present, and your business should be prepared to implement them quickly and efficiently. A technology training program is often the best answer to these needs.
When creating a training program, we always focus on putting the learner first. Technology transformation is no different—new technologies you purchase and implement are only as strong as their users, so you need to make sure you are creating a learning solution that works for them. We always recommend considering learner incentive, context, and support.
Incentive. Many new technologies and software may seem redundant, threatening, or useless to your employees, especially when replacing processes and systems that have been in place for decades. For example, overhauling your Human Resources department with a comprehensive HR technology suite will certainly require employee education and support. Employees will need to know the reason for this change. This is a great opportunity to explain to your workers how this new tech will positively impact their work lives and make their jobs easier. Providing incentive is a necessary part of successful technology adoption, and it can be done either as a part of the final learning solution or as a standalone initiative.
Context. Much like incentive, context is a necessary part of ensuring your technology transformation goes smoothly. As an organizational leader, it is your responsibility to determine to what degree employees need to know why you are choosing to implement a new software or technology. As learning and development professionals, we recommend you do everything you can to create a supportive and informative environment for your learners, and that includes giving them information on your decision-making process. Context should be broad enough so as not to overwhelm your employees but specific enough so they understand where you are coming from.
Support. The entire technology transformation and adoption process requires support for your employees. Give your employees multiple opportunities and ways in which they can learn how, why, and when to use the new tech you’ve chosen to implement. Some great examples of learner support are online help centers, open-door policies, and follow-up sessions with subject matter experts and upper management. Learners who are supported throughout the process will retain information better and feel more valued.
Another critical factor of technology transformation that is important to consider is knowing when to adopt new software, processes, and tech. While this varies for each organization, here are five questions you can ask to better understand and flesh out your whether or not adopting new technology is right for you.
- Is the change necessary? In other words, would your organization be at a disadvantage if they didn’t adopt this new technology? A great example of a recent necessary tech adoption is video conferencing software. Without the likes of Zoom, Teams, or GoTo Meeting, many companies would simply not be able to function.
- Is the all-in cost worth it in the short-term? What about the long-term?
- Can this technology be a part of a larger adoption? If your team really needs a new digital collaboration tool, have you considered the adoption of a larger suite-like solution such as Microsoft Office?
- Is the business impact measurable? Do you have metrics in place to ensure you know how the new technology is performing in your organization?
- What does success look like? How will you know whether or not the process was successful and effective?
Technology transformation is a complicated process. If you put in the work up front and find a trusted L&D partner, you can make the transition and adoption easy for yourself and your employees. As you consider your technology adoption, ensure you are putting the needs of your learners first. Supporting employees, keeping them up to date, and providing an environment in which they are motivated to learn will save you time and money.