You’ve made the decision to up your game and get some fancy new technology on board for your team. Before you know it, they’ll be sales superstars, smashing their targets and proudly showcasing their new gadgetry to the masses. But there’s a small niggling feeling at the back of your mind, a slight twinge in the pit of your stomach that they won’t use it, they’ll toss it to the wayside grumbling, “My way has worked for years, why on earth would I change now?”
There’s a big gaping chasm between investing in new technology and actually getting your money’s worth out of it. I’m a salesperson’s dream, having succumbed to the spiel stood in the middle of a store some years back buying my first iPad. I had such high hopes. I’d use it in all my classes at University, taking notes, doing research and penning my next assignment. A few years later and I’ve wasted countless hours of my life on Candy Crush, Temple Run, Flappy Bird and every other ridiculously addictive game out there, and can’t say I have done a single productive thing on it. Now, it sits on my kitchen side and gets used once, maybe twice a month to Skype my friends and family. Worth it? Nope. Did I get value out of it? Absolutely not.
And this is where so many companies fall down; high hopes soon turn into unrealized dreams.
So how can you encourage your team to use new technology and generate ROI for you and your company?
Share your vision
Your perception of technology may be very different to that of the person sitting next you. You may see it as a godsend, where they may see it as an invasion of their privacy. To get any return on an investment in technology, you’ve got to share your dream. Get together with your team members and show them how technology can solve their problems, how it will help them to work more intelligently and better manage their day.
Back to buying my iPad for a moment. Had the salesperson showed me an app that would keep me organized and make me more productive, all that might well have been different. If I’d have seen the true benefits of the tablet and not just imagined them, my iPad’s destiny could’ve been a lot different.
The only way people will use technology in any capacity is if they can see some value in doing so. Will it help them to meet their targets? Does it save them time/money/effort? Will it help them to do their job better? These are the kind of questions you need to be answering ‘Yes’ to.
Take it one step at a time
Another big mistake is to bombard your team with new technology and tell them to ‘get on with it’. Change doesn’t happen overnight and people do get incredibly stuck in their ways. You must give your team time to make the transition from old to new, they will come around, you just need to take it easy. When I made the move from a PC to a Mac, I felt like a rabbit in headlights. I had no idea what I was doing, hunting frantically for the Start button, wondering why the little red cross I was so used to was now a red dot and at the other end of the window. I like to think I’m pretty tech-savvy, but that was tough.
Everyone has a job to do and mastering new technology just adds to an already teetering workload. Once you’ve introduced something new, technology or otherwise, you must be on hand to offer the support, training and assistance that your team may need.
Get your team involved
If you’re looking to equip your 100-stong team with a tablet each, it will be a change that they will need to come around to in time. But if you put in the time to get them involved from the outset, throughout the decision making process and implementation, it’s likely that they won’t feel like this new tech is being forced upon them. The idea is to make a democratic decision that you all agree on. Get them to feedback to you periodically. They’ll feel far more involved and show a keen interest without management even saying a single word of encouragement.
Granted, it does depend entirely on what kind of technology you are investing in. Take SaaS based software solutions for example. They are usually some of the most affordable pieces of technology out there and are easy to scale up or down as your business changes. Whereas trying to return 100 iPads to Amazon, will be a struggle, to say the very least.
Talk to other users
Business is all about networking, but it doesn’t always have to involve closing a deal and making money. Say you’ve introduced some new software. If you know one of your contacts has introduced the same solution, let your team pick up the phone, pen an email or go and see them to talk it through. What has their experience been like? What did they like? What didn’t work so well? How did it help their daily tasks? They’ll get the uncut version of events from them. And don’t feel like you’re taking up their time, most people will appreciate being asked for their advice and opinion.
How has your business gone about introducing new technology? We’d love to hear about your experience with encouraging user adoption. Has it been a big success or a big slip-up you’d rather forget? Let us know in the comments section below.