Change is a constant in technology and as a result, the industry is inundated with an infinite number of tools, software and systems. Organizations can scale their business by integrating these new technological advancements. However, the question is which tool to adopt, and how to select the right tool for your business.
As stated, the ever-evolving access to new software is welcomed by all businesses alike. However, there is one set of people who are frustrated with these changes – the employees who bear the burden of having to learn the new technology. This difficulty is compounded by the fact that as soon as they get comfortable with a new technology, system or software, another one comes along. In this scenario, as an L&D professional, how can you get your employees on board with a new tool?
This article will guide you in selecting the right tool/software for your business and suggest ways to get your employees on-board with it.
Steps To Adopt & Integrate A New Tool In Your Organization
Before Selecting The Tool
- Research Extensively
An important step to follow before you implement any new technology is to first research about it. Following are some questions that you need to ask yourself before you take any decisions:
– How valuable is the tool?
It’s clear that you must have looked into a new tool because it benefits your business in one way or the other. However, there is a need for you to actually quantify the value it gives to your business. Determine how and where the tool can be used to enable your your business. Find out what impact the tool will have and on whom and what will it enhance and what it will address. Also, ask yourself what other value it has other than monetary value. Like for instance, does it boost employee engagement? When you are able to come up with satisfactory answers to these questions, you will be in a better position to implement your strategies and will also have an insight into the best way to propose the tool to your employees.
– What challenges does the tool address?
An index of the tool’s feature will not go a long way in convincing the employees as to why they should adopt the tool. For that you should be able to convey to them the challenges that can be addressed with the help of the tool. So, look at the reviews and case studies from other companies, and also get employee testimonials regarding the tool. Thus, before the tool is presented to the employees, you need to understand how the tool is of use not just to you, but to them as well
-Is the new technology a main priority for you?
Prioritize the problem that the tool can address. Check around within your business to see whether it is pain-point for them. Ask them their thoughts on the issue and whether they would prefer a technology aided solution. The tool should be pitched to them only after they admit that the problem is a priority for them too. During your interaction with your employees if you find that there are larger issues that your employees are facing, shift your attention to that.
– Have you checked out the tool’s competition?
Look at the other options. You should investigate similar tools having the same set of features. See whether they will be able to resolve your problem, if they will be able to solve a problem that you were not aware you had, but realized it after consulting with your employees. Your final decision regarding the tool should be guided by how much they are aligned to your business requirements, and their user-friendliness.
– How to implement the tool?
Check with the provider to understand the tool’s implementation process.What kind of training will be required for your employees? Would there be a drop in productivity when the tool is being installed? Do you need any other additional resources? If you find that it will require a complete revamping of the current systems, then you should probably test it out in one small area of the business before the full implementation.
After Selecting The Tool
- Make Training A Priority To Improve Buy-In
A crucial mistake that most companies make while implementing new tools, technologies, or procedures is asking employees who are overloaded with work to make time in their already taxing day for training. Predictably, in such cases employees will tend to procrastinate learning the new software in favor of doing their work. Thus, in order for learning to be well-received and comprehensive, you need to prioritize it by allocating time and resources.
Yet another way to achieve employee buy-in is by communicating to them the benefits of the new tool/software. They would be more receptive to embracing the new tool when they realize how it will make their life better, with little or no change.
- Choose SMEs or Industry Experts As Trainers
Selecting the right trainer is an important step. A critical factor that L&Ds needs to remember is that the trainer needs to be a subject matter expert. This is because during the training employees are sure to notice if the trainer is not familiar with the software or is not very enthusiastic about the training program. Trainer should thus be chosen wisely and enabled to provide employees with support during the implementation of the tool.
- Identify The Type Of Learner & Individualize Training
Training and learning does not happen the same for everyone. For instance, the learning styles of different employees can be different. A popular theory concerning this is offered by Howard Gardner, who outlined the seven different types of learners. By incorporating elements from each or providing different kinds of training, you can hook your different employees to training.
- Visual Learners grasps new things by what they see. With the help of images, pictures, and relationships between objects, they are able to learn. When you design training for them, make sure to include charts, diagrams and videos.
- Reading/Writing Learners are those who learn better by analyzing texts, case studies and books. A workplace training that makes use of quizzes, handouts, manuals, and presentations will appeal to them.
- Auditory Learners are fundamentally listeners. They learns by identifying patterns in spoken, and lecture kind of training. Make sure to include audio recordings, speeches and the like when you are designing workplace training for them.
- Kinesthetic Learners like hands-on activities. With the help of all their senses, they comprehend information. A workplace learning strategy that uses walk-throughs, simulations and sessions that involves physical objects will appeal to them.
- Logical Learners are those who grasp things by studying patterns, high-level concepts and whole systems. For instance, graphs, spreadsheets, and multi-step walk-throughs. Also referred as mathematical learners, logical learners learn better when many small concepts are combined into one big idea.
- Solitary Learners are people who make sense of the world around them through introspection. They would reap from training where they can work alone and at their own pace. A workplace training that gives them content that they can navigate alone and also provide them a balance of collaborative activities with other similar learners will do wonders for them.
- Interactive Learners are those who possess an intuitive feel of others motivation and emotions. A good workplace training for them would involve group discussions, role-playing and team-based activities.
Learning to identify your employees individual needs is a critical step. Start a dialogue with your employees to identify what kind of training is necessary. Always lead by example. Demonstrate that you are invested in the new tool and your employees will follow. Pay attention to your team members and their individual needs. Continue your dialogue with employees and find out what sort of training is necessary.
- Institutionalize The Tool
Once the training is complete, you should think about how to completely integrate the new tool in the organization. You should look at your timeline objectives for full implementation and then work towards that. In case any of the employees are struggling, give them extra training or ask any other staff proficient with the system to help out the one who is having difficulty with the system.
Continue to offer incentives and other rewards to the employees who adopt the tool fast. In this stage particularly, the two-way dialogue that you have cultivated is critical. Prepare to face some resistance from those who fail to see the usefulness of the tool or those who have tried to use the tool and failed. You should continue to encourage feedback and offer a platform where everyone can debate openly about the new technology, both advantages and disadvantages. Also, take care to resolve all the issues immediately and pay attention to each and every employee to ensure that there is no drop in productivity in their other work.
- Highlight Goals & Wins
When you had started the process of integrating the new tool or software, you would have set goals and strategy to reach it. Whenever you reach any of them or make significant strides in that direction, you should draw attention to it. Highlight the advantages of the new tool/software to your business. At the same time, also remember to emphasize your employees individual gains.
Based on the company size and roll-out, you can take the help of early-adopters to communicate your success. Take the help of your marketing team to spread the word within the organization.
Even after the tool has been fully integrated and works at its full capacity, carry on communicating about how it is enabling your company and the reasons your organization should continue to use it. When your employees remember how beneficial the implementation of the tool was, they are likely to be more receptive to adopt another new tool when you introduce a new tool.