Companies are overhauling their entire product and marketing strategies to foster innovation and motivate their employees to embrace “digitalization”, as if it were some benevolent, corporate deity. The volume of magazines, newspapers, and experts churning out statistics about how businesses can only win when they digitize their day-to-day to make workflow more efficient. Robots can flip hamburgers and analyze legal documents. Software can now operate our daily operations and drive our cars.
Technology is revamping the work world, but why is it taking as long as it is? Don’t employees see the vision? People understand the big picture. It’s the hands-on implementation that is stumping employers.
It’s the adoption problem.
“How I do it is already working just fine”.
“How is it wrong what we are doing now?”
“Sure we have some issues, but what company doesn’t? We’ve figured out what works best for us”.
“I feel that you’re telling me how to do my job”.
Feedback is not necessarily from people who are skeptical about the in-coming technology. They may have tried the new tool and like it, but still have these same questions. If it’s not lack of vision, a well-running tool, or an employee that can see the value, then what keeps them from embracing the change?
In an article in Harvard Business Review, businesses leaders remained baffled why digital solutions were not being embraced. “Even among digital natives, adoption of things like enterprise digital tools often doesn’t live up to lofty expectations…the result is often widely deployed internal applications that no one actually uses effectively.” Resistance can be intentional, but it also can be passive. Both types of resistance when change is not led. The CEO Pernod Ricard has found that is needs to be a “digital movement”, rather expecting it to be a quick change. The adoption of tools must be led. Change management experts would begin with the starting point of company culture. It’s the one thing that matters the most when adopting a new piece of tech.
It’s not uncommon to be apprehensive of digital implementations . Some have not received proper trained or feel they’ve just barely one mastered one digital tool and now have to learn another. For plenty of employees, asking them to learn and integrate more tech into their everyday lives means causing no small amount of anxiety.
Address the culture first.
Before diving into handing out manuals or encouraging employees with emails of “This will make our lives better!”, nail down the atmosphere first. Send out an anonymous survey to employees. Ask them questions about how they are feeling. Take the time to thoughtfully listen and engage with what employees are afraid of.
Here a few examples of what you should be asking:
–How does the current state of things make you feel on a daily basis?
–How much do you want to enact change in this particular area?
–What will your level of pain be with when the new solution arrives? Do you think this will change after 4 weeks? 8 weeks?
Take one step at a time
Like the CEO stated, it’s a digital movement–not a digital sprint. Strangely, boards and managers forget it takes time for a deep change to occur. To facilitate an easier process for employees, one where they have to spend less emotional energy, do incremental changes. Break apart the overall strategy of digitalization. Give each step a time limit and with a clear outcome, like 100% of employees possessing digital keys within 3 weeks.
If the world of work is revolving door, then tech is the doorman. At absence.io, we’re making sure absence management runs smoothly. To make their digital movement seamless, companies like MyTheresa trust our tool with their employees. No push needed.