Even though technology innovation has grown exponentially since the start of the century, worker productivity rates don’t seem to be rising in proportion. A lack of technology adoption and poor user engagement seems to be part of the problem. In fact, a Gallup study showed that 32 percent of employees in the US are engaged, while worldwide, only 13 percent are engaged. About 76 percent of employees recognize that technology impacts the way they work, yet less than half of them feel that IT decision makers have considered their opinions when selecting business technology. The disparity shows that employees do not feel connected to the tech they are using, thus leading to a failure of enterprise technology adoption. Allowing employees to discover and use new technologies will improve productivity.
As I’ve noted in a previous article on Futurum, consumerization of IT is one key to technology adoption. For those who don’t know, IT consumerization is the unique blending of personal and business use of technology devices and applications. Since IT consumerization is already happening, it makes sense to embrace it within the workplace. One way to do so is to empower employees to make their own technology decisions. This could mean allowing employees to opt for bringing their own devices to work (BYOD), or actively use platforms, apps and interfaces they are already familiar with. This boosts morale and encourages involvement and team spirit. It also instills a sense of pride within employees, which is turn boosts efficiency – after all, happier employees are more productive employees. Here are a few reasons why employees who are empowered to make their own technology decisions will drive technology adoption.
Usability and Simplicity are Integral
“As technology consumers, workers have come to expect shared office technology to offer an experience with comparable flexibility, customization, and convenience as that provided by their mobile devices,” says Hiro Imamura, senior vice president and general manager, Business Imaging Solutions Group at Canon U.S.A. Usability and simplicity are key to adoption. Applications that are easy to learn and don’t take much effort while offering benefits will always be more popular than those that are extremely complex to use. Determining simplicity is easy – just try an application out for yourself, and see how quickly you grasp it. Employees with the freedom to choose which apps to use are more likely to gravitate towards and appreciate intuitive ones. Another way to promote adoption in terms of usability is to slowly modify existing tech to streamline work processes. As opposed to introducing completely new technology that requires a large learning curve, improving current software to enhance user experience will be better appreciated by your employees.
Employees Usually Know What They Need
Most people are comfortable with the procedures they are used to and resist dramatic change. The same goes for adopting new technology, the lack of knowledge and time spent training employees to adapt to changes negates the perceived efficiency boost, and can often lead to employees being frustrated with constant changes. To facilitate change, it makes sense to offer technology as something employees can use personally too, creating value at their own level. This guarantees that they will stick with tech and easily integrate it into their daily lives.
For example, in my previous article, I mentioned that employees already know what apps they need. If they’re empowered to mix their personal and work lives, they’ll most likely turn to apps already in use for personal tasks. These applications can enhance efficiency and productivity, and if employees found them on their own, they’re already fully adopted.
Recommendations via Word of Mouth
Pushing adoption can sometimes be challenging, especially when employees are resistant to change. However, employees that discover apps that improve their productivity are likely to share their findings with other employees. Word of mouth is an extremely powerful tool for technology adoption. It’s important to keep software intuitive and pleasant as they are more likely to be shared amongst coworkers; without having to even invest any real effort into pushing adoption internally.
In today’s world of constant digital change, it’s important to keep the above factors in mind. Empowering employees to make their own tech decisions will drive adoption, increase efficiency and productivity, and most likely improve the bottom line.