Over the last couple decades, businesses have been digitizing their operations, some more quickly and enthusiastically than others. Then, in a turn of events no one could have predicted, the COVID-19 crisis accelerated digital technology adoption by several years — more quickly than business executives thought possible. McKinsey & Company predicts that many of those changes could be here to stay.
Whether it’s videoconferencing technology to facilitate remote meetings, digital payments to provide no-touch customer services, or an electronic key control system to minimize the risk of keys becoming touchpoint hotspots, today’s technology can make our lives — and our jobs — safer and more efficient.
While you might have implemented new business technology out of necessity rather than preference, these tools can boost your business by unlocking new opportunities and efficiencies, both now and in the future. To realize the full potential of digitization, however, make sure you’re not making any of the following mistakes.
1. Not Getting Employee Buy-in
Even if management has already made the decision to adopt a new tool, it’s important to get your employees’ buy-in — especially your Gen Z employees. You might not have been involved in the decision, but you can still help make a case for the technology.
Why is buy-in important? If you give end users the what but not the why behind a change, that’s like a parent feeding their child the ages-old phrase “Because I said so.” In your conversations with employees, address how the solution solves common pain points:
- Does it save the business money?
- Does it solve a problem?
- Does it put more time in employees’ days?
- Does it make certain tasks easier?
- Does it improve customer satisfaction?
Taking the time to explain how the solution will benefit not only the organization but employees as well will encourage staff to adopt it instead of resist it.
2. Not Providing Adequate Training
One of the first things you should do when onboarding employees to a new system is provide training. To get the most out of training sessions, incorporate at least two senses (e.g., visual and auditory) to engage participants and help them grasp and retain the information. Hands-on activities also help employees put the information they’ve learned into practice. If possible, tailor training to various job functions and even different generations (millennials, baby boomers, etc.).
After the initial training is complete, avoid crossing it off your to-do list and forgetting about it. Scheduling recurring training sessions is a must, considering how quickly technology evolves and the business environment changes.
If your technology partner offers any training resources — such as written or recorded tutorials, best practices documentation, phone training, and live webcam sessions — encourage your employees to take full advantage of them.
Helping your team learn more about the new technology your organization has implemented is worth the time investment. They’ll improve their job performance and reap the full potential of the system.
3. Not Designating a Point Person
Even hands-off technology — marketing automation, automatic cloud backup, etc. — needs someone to monitor the results to make sure the tool is performing as expected. When implementing a new solution, appoint an internal administrator who’s familiar with how the system works and understands the results it should deliver.
The person doesn’t necessarily have to be a member of management, but they should be a full-time, trustworthy employee who’s been with the organization at least a year. You’ll want to designate more than one administrator in the following situations:
- Your organization has high turnover. Having more than one person monitoring technology helps avoid interrupting business operations if one of those people leaves.
- The technology provides access to valuable assets. Checks and balances are essential if someone is handling sensitive data or valuable assets.
- The tool you’re using requires a lot of monitoring or affects multiple departments. Having multiple administrators allows employees to share the responsibility of overseeing the system, which saves them time and allows them to deal only with digital processes involving their department.
By designating one or more point people for the technology, you can ensure that your investment is meeting your expectations.
4. Not Sharing Goals and Expectations
To gauge the success of a new technology, you first need benchmarks. For example, if you’re implementing an electronic key control system, you could set a goal of all keys being checked in by the end of the day, or reducing the number of lost keys by 90 percent within the first six months.
If you don’t share these objectives with the people helping to realize those goals, however, you’re hurting your odds of seeing the desired results. Clearly communicate your intentions — both during training and in the form of written policies and procedures — so employees know what you’re asking of them. As your business needs change, be willing to adjust your goals and processes.
Just as we weren’t able to predict the crisis that precipitated rapid, widespread adoption of digital solutions, it’s hard to anticipate what the future holds. As you bring new technology on board, avoid these four mistakes and transform your organization for the better.