Five Common Mistakes in Technology User Adoption

Some organizations readily adopt new technologies and others deploy technology only to have it collect dust. What is the difference between these deployments?

There are five common mistakes that organizations make when they introduce new technology into their workforce and being aware of them will help you avoid making these mistakes yourself.

1. Organizations fail to take the end user needs into account105771716

Organizations invest in the latest and greatest technology in hopes that it will fulfill an identified gap or create a competitive advantage. What organizations do not take into consideration is who their Users are. They have to ask themselves:

“Do my people and my processes support this new technology?”

Often the answer is no.  Why?  Because a technology decision was made without assessing their Users requirements.

Today’s IT & AV technologies are a key component of a collaborative ecosystem but do the people who are supposed to be using the technology really know why or how they support the collaborative ecosystem?

If the answer is no, this is where the mismatch occurs. The needs that the technology fulfills have not been matched to the user’s needs and I have seen this happen time and time again.

An easy solution is a User based “Needs Analysis”. This approach helps organizations focus on the needs of employees which will provide valuable information to determine a purpose-based solution.

2. Leaders do not have a clear understanding of the technology’s capability

Organizational leaders must have first hand knowledge of what the technology is capable of doing and most importantly, be comfortable in using the technology. By attending training sessions, leaders demonstrate that they have a clear understanding of how to use the technology.

I have conducted some training sessions where not one manager or executive attended. Not only do they miss out on learning the benefits of the technology, but they also continue to do what they always have and often fail to adopt new practices. This sends the wrong message to their team.

Change is driven top down so management must be the role models for change. If employees see management using the technology, user adoption of the technology will increase.

3. The Myth: “Once the technology has been installed, everyone will want to use it.”

“If we build it, they will come.”  Unfortunately, it’s not the case. After installation early adopters tend to be the only ones that will give it a try and the rest will stay anchored to the status quo.

Ignoring the technology all together is a symptom of what I call the “What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) Syndrome”. If there is no perceived value to the employee, why should they learn or adopt using it? Companies spend a lot of time and money marketing their products to their customers. Likewise, organizations should take the time and effort to market, sell and promote to their employees the new technology they’ve invested in to address the WIIFM syndrome.

4. Organizations do not provide adequate support

Executives believe that once employees are trained they will automatically start using the technology. Most executives fail to consider their employees’ learning curve. One training session does not mean people are experts; they need to be supported and guided until they are comfortable and confident using the technology.

I see this time and time again when training employees on SMART Boards. After completing the training, employees are energized to use the boards but that tends to be short lived. Some will try to use the board and forget how to use it. This is common because the average person only retains 30% from one training session. Some will try to perform a certain function and the board doesn’t perform the way it did in training so they get discouraged. Employees may become frustrated and refuse to use the board. Others will become too busy and next thing you know, the initial enthusiasm will be lost and forgotten.

This is how SMART Boards become under utilized and it’s such a shame because SMART boards are one of the most powerful collaborative tools available today.

It takes focused usage and support to transfer knowledge into a skill set and this can be done in numerous ways.

Some examples of internal training support:

  1. A company website where employees can go to ask questions or review material that was covered in training
  2. Follow up training that reviews what was learned and helps take their skill set to the mastery level
  3. On site experts to support and encourage users as they start to use the technology

Whatever form this support takes, it is important to have a plan and to communicate it with your employees. It also sends a signal that adoption is important to the organization and should be important to them as well.

5. Organizations are not creating user-friendly policies or procedures

It’s a shame when I see organizations investing in new technology, only to find out that their current system can’t fully support it. With the continual emergence of new user technology, there is an assumption that the organization’s IT infrastructure has also evolved.  Quite often this is not the case. When new technology and organization’s IT infrastructure are not compatible, “work arounds” are developed to tape the solution together.  These work arounds can become cumbersome which leads to:

  1. Procedures that make it difficult to use the new equipment.
  2. Policies that make employees less inclined to use the technology.

This can all be avoided if IT is part of creating the technology roadmap when new technologies are adopted by an organization. Their knowledge can be a valuable resource.

Processes must be put in place to support the users of the new technologies.  Without them users will quickly abandon the new technologies and go back to the way things were before.

Build a technology roadmap.  Support your employees learning and new technology adoption rates will follow.

User adoption is a key component in fully attaining the ROI of collaboration technology.

These are only a few suggestions on avoiding the five most common mistakes in technology user adoption. Contact us for more info on how to increase your odds for a successful technology rollout.

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