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Technology has become such a central part of the overall work experience you can no longer separate it from the people agenda. In order to manage both, look to the promise of new technology and consider what motivates people to adopt new ways of working with tech. It can’t be one or the other. The goal, according to a recent PCW report, is to get beyond titles and delve into attitudes and behaviors. That’s the approach that leads to more relevant communication, rewards, performance and development, the report reads.

Automation will put even more focus on understanding how to create great places for people to work because it will impact just about everyone’s role, job content and decision rights. According to our survey, today’s workforce is overwhelmingly positive about the potential for technology to improve their lives, but they also have concerns about how it can be used. So, how do you get staff to buy into digital transformation strategies, new technology and the digital workplace?

The Key Role Of Leadership

Leadership is key. As with any large-scale or complex organizational change, executive leadership must empower the efficient company-wide transformation. Digital experience without a holistic perspective means portions of the business could be shortchanged.

Victor Tingler, vice president of digital transformation solutions at InterVision, said that the onus doesn’t fall on executive leadership exclusively — IT also bears responsibility. It’s too common for a business to view technology as a burdensome cost rather than an innovation driver. In driving digital transformation to a successful implementation, three impact areas (technology, process and people) play an essential role. 

"Connected to each other in more ways than IT managers probably would like to admit, technology prevents a business from moving forward if it is outdated and not secure," he said. “Furthermore, cumbersome processes for maintaining that technology can hinder overall security and go-to-market.”

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Changing Processes Is Daunting

How effective any given technology or process will be very much depends on having the right talent to perform testing, maintenance and recovery, which often makes “the people aspect” the hardest piece of the puzzle. Matt Reaney, founder of Big Cloud, said that for many staff, the idea of changing processes or how things are usually done with the implementation of new technology can seem quite daunting. It’s the job of the CEO to ensure that everyone is comfortable and buying into it. There are two main things that need to be done.

Ensure that all staff learn the technology through and through before they use it -This helps give them the confidence to navigate and use it day to day. If they lack confidence and skill whilst interacting with it on the back end they will avoid using it. When possible, we also provide in-house training from product specialists. Training days and practice days are offered to ensure staff fully understands the new tech.

Get them excited about the product and run product launches internally (and externally) with the help of marketing - Buy-in like this is essential for them to see the real value in the new tech and how it will add to their jobs. The launches combined with in-house training can be especially useful as the companies or trainers are able to provide real examples of how the tech has benefited other businesses and workers.

Technology Needs To Be Useful

SocialChorus executive Alison Murdock believes that for this buy-in to happen, employees need to know how a new technology is going to benefit them. Regardless of whether it makes them more efficient, informed or knowledgeable, it has to add value to their workflow and daily routine. When introducing new technology, companies that have the strongest adoption results are those that involve leadership, regional managers and an initial group of employees that are often the hardest to reach, like deskless workers.

“Rather than tell employees what is going to happen, they show them. Organize a launch event where employees can immediately engage with content, such as a video from the CEO. This allows employees to see the potential for how this new technology can be used and what they, themselves, can do,” she said. This approach creates a viral effect that gets other employees excited about the technology and the experience.”

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Give Workers Digital Ownership

The key to designing a smart workplace employees will engage with is to create ownership and excitement and to execute change management strategies with a clear communication plan, said Chris Wiegand, CEO and co-founder of Jibestream. The flexibility and scalability of the technology being incorporated also plays a major role in a successful roll-out. Leveraging a technology-agnostic platform that can scale with an organization’s needs and offers the flexibility to integrate with other industry specific applications helps to divert the risk of vendor lock-in and offers greater versatility.

Engaging staff from the beginning is key to building interest, securing technology adoption and initiating the cultural shift required for their digital transformation initiatives. The overall user experience of the application plays a key role in the app’s success and can translate to greater data reliability and accuracy. One advantage of working with these technology platforms is the ability to scale and adapt over time to fit and compliment an enterprises’ evolving business needs.

As a final thought Nigel Davies, founder of digital workplace Claromentis, said that leaders need to make sure there are at least some everyday business processes included, like vacation requests, to encourage people to get started with the new application as well as make it enjoyable to use. Companies that go big on the social element will have rich content to draw users in, such as galleries, videos, events and discussions. “Follow Mark Zuckerberg's lead, when he rolled out the early version of Facebook he did so university by university. During your roll-out, gradually add users in smaller groups so the pilot groups can share their experiences, generating intrigue and excitement,” he said.

He added that being told change is coming, followed by a lengthy radio silence or vague and sporadic updates will only intensify the fear of change. Engaging with staff and keeping them informed throughout the process will remedy the majority of doubts. Get employees involved in the procurement process for increased buy-in.”

Without seeing how the technology benefits them, employees are understandably resistant to change, even if the new technology helps other areas of the business. At first glance it may seem as though it just adds more processes or layers to their already complicated work, so you must be able to communicate the benefits that directly impact them.