We know that new technology can increase productivity, boost sales and help leaders make more informed decisions. However, we also know that most people don’t like change – and new technology invariably means significant changes to processes, workflows and even team or organisational structures.
New technology also requires fresh skills and a willingness to acknowledge that maybe the “old way” of doing things is no longer the “best way”.
These challenges can be daunting. Years of research on general organisational transformations shows that less than 30% succeed. Digital transformations are even more difficult, with only 16% of surveyed leaders saying their digital transformations have successfully improved performance and equipped them to sustain changes in the short term.
There are also roadblocks occurring along the transformation path. One study shows the vast majority of managers believe that achieving digital transformation is “critical” to their oganisation. However, 63% said the pace of technological change in their workplaces is too slow, primarily due to a “lack of urgency” and poor communication about the strategic benefits of new tools.
The study also found that leaders should expect to face luddites, people who aren’t naturally tech-savvy, and naysayers whose knee-jerk reaction is to oppose new things. Now that you’ve won over the key business leaders (see ELMO’s ROI calculators and implementation checklists), it’s time to work on the employees.
Here are those 5 tips in more detail.
- Outline the WIFM (what’s in it for me)
The best argument for new tech is to suggest how it will make the working lives of employees better. Creating a compelling vision for what the tech can do should include both the economic and rational benefits for the organisation and the individual. In the case of recruitment technology, for example, will it automate tasks such as scheduling job interviews, sending emails to candidates and provide reports on recruitment success? If it does, the benefits are obvious for both the organisation (streamlined paperless workflows, better management of core processes like payroll, mobile work, etc.) and its employees (removal of transactional tasks, time savings, etc.). A similar win-win business case can be created for all areas of HR tech, from onboarding through to learning.
- Make the right tech choice
An eternal challenge for HR leaders is to gain the functionality of new tech, while not being going overboard with all the “bells and whistles”. Remember: the goal is to simplify processes, not complicate them. Functionality is essential, but so too is user-experience. This is especially true if your goal is a high adoption rate across a team. You shouldn’t require multi-day training sessions, nor hefty user manuals; these will only slow or stall take-up. Involve your team. For HR, an understanding of how each person’s role might be impacted by the new tech is critical. This might mean surveying team members on their current challenges and what they would like from a new system. Running comparative pilots of systems can also help. Encourage various stakeholders to undertake trials and provide feedback before committing.
- Provide customised training
Familiarity and comfort level with new tech will vary widely, so it’s important to ensure training reflects those differences. Some employees will be fine on training sessions, others might need a bit more handholding with one-on-one sessions or the assistance of a personal coach. This is the perfect opportunity for managers to ask their team how they want to learn. You may be asking seasoned professionals to give up the way they’ve previously undertaken tasks, so empathy is an essential virtue for managers to have!
- Find your influencers – and get them onboard
Who are your influencers? They are not necessarily tech-savvy “geeks”, but they do know how to communicate well and are keen networkers who are able to work with people across the organisation. This “group of evangelists” can coach others on how to use the tools and can be the “glue” to connect the dots between objectives and outcomes – which can lead to the successful implementation of new tech.
- Highlight quick wins – and make it fun!
Once adoption rates start to climb, ensure word spreads about the quick wins. Highlight the positive impact it’s having on productivity or other KPIs across the team. For geographically dispersed employees, consider involving the marketing team to create mini case studies or get creative with acknowledging key milestones. Early adopters should also be recognised. Consider a “gamification” approach whereby employees accumulate points, gain financial incentives or achieve new levels of “status”.
More than just tech adoption
It’s important to consider the broader ripple effects of new technology. When adopting new HR tech, for example, a KPMG study shows the most successful organisations use the opportunity to make changes to operating models. These organisations also view the tech transformation project as a way to add strategic value to the business. However, it’s only by winning over the naysayers that those 2 objectives can be achieved.
ELMO Cloud HR & Payroll has helped hundreds of clients launch successful HR digital transformation projects. Contact us to find out how your organisation can benefit from automating HR, payroll, rostering / time & attendance functions.
 “Unlocking Success in Digital Transformations”, McKinsey & Company, October 2018
 “Embracing Digital Technology: A New Strategic Imperative”, a study by MIT Sloan Management Review and Capgemini Consulting
 2017 HR Transformation research, KPMG