Introducing new technology into the workplace might be just what your company needs to boost employee productivity and morale. According to a Microsoft and Qualtrics study, employees with access to modern technology are happier, more engaged, and more productive at work. In the study, 59% of workers agreed that access to modern technology helped them better serve customers and be more productive. The study also showed that they were 121% more likely to feel valued by their company as a result of having access to modern tech.
Conversely, research by Korn Ferry showed that outdated tech can be a barrier to performance, holding back high-achievers and frustrating them to the point where they may even feel compelled to quit. According to Korn Ferry, a low sense of enablement—the feeling that you don’t have the resources you need to get things done—is the biggest risk to the retention of high-performing employees.
There’s no doubt that providing employees with the best tech experience is essential for keeping them engaged and productive. But how do you successfully introduce new technology into the workplace? We’ll discuss the challenges and best practices below.
Why implementing new tech sometimes fails
Even good, useful technology needs to be properly introduced. Adopting new technology means change, and change can be uncomfortable. Employees need to understand what they stand to gain from a new tool before they can embrace it.
Companies that adopt a top-down approach to incorporating new technology risk not only alienating their staff, but also making bad decisions: a shiny new tool that seems like a great solution on paper might create all sorts of problems in the hands of actual users.
When exploring new technology solutions, it helps to get those who will be using the technology involved early on, at the consideration stage, and listen attentively to their feedback, needs, and concerns.
Best practices for introducing new technology into the workplace
Here are other tips for successfully introducing new technology at work.
Find the right solution to a legitimate problem
If something needs fixing, and your team has been vocal about it, explore all possible solutions. Keep in mind that, depending on the problem, the solution might not be new technology, but updated processes. (See Management Is a Technology—Are You Due for an Upgrade?) If it’s clear that new tech will help, let the team know you’ll be investigating options. By getting key stakeholders involved from the get-go, you’ll gain valuable information that will help you narrow down the choices and pave the way towards a smoother implementation process.
Get an “implementation team” together
Introducing new technology into the workplace isn’t just a matter of installing software on everyone’s computers—it’s a complex project that involves managing resources and conflict priorities and performing multiple administrative tasks. Successful implementation requires that either a team or a person be in charge. This person or team will be responsible for equipping staff with all that they need to start using the new tool and providing admin support throughout the process.
Run a pilot program
Before rolling out new technology to the entire company, consider beta-testing with a small group first. Running a pilot program has several advantages:
- It helps you determine the value of the new technology and the feasibility of implementing it. (Plus, the data you collect from this trial period will be helpful in securing leadership buy-in.)
- It helps you sort out the kinks before implementation.
- It gives you confidence to move forward.
When planning your beta program, be selective of who you invite. Recruit the staff members who are most likely to benefit from the new tool as well as those who are enthusiastic about the tool or technology in general. Remember, your beta testers are potential evangelists who can support implementation.
Train everyone to use the technology
Create a training plan that’s both effective and engaging. Get specific: communicate how the new technology will help individual teams do their jobs better. Remember, people have unique learning styles, so make a variety of training resources available to cater to different preferences. For example, you can let employees choose between attending a live workshop or watching video tutorials in their own time (or both). During the training process, ask for feedback so you can make improvements in real-time.
Launch and iterate
The work doesn’t end when everyone completes training and starts using the software. The stage following implementation is crucial for learning whether introducing new technology into the workplace has met expectations of increased productivity or profitability. Have team members become more efficient as a result? Has the new technology saved the company money? How much? By continuously evaluating performance post-implementation, you can make tweaks to continue driving improvements.
Keep up-to-date with new technology
Introducing new technology in the workplace is crucial: without modern tech, companies risk losing their best employees and becoming obsolete. That said, the implementation of new tech should happen thoughtfully and in stages. Ultimately, the key to successful implementation lies in collaboration: employees should feel heard and involved throughout the process.