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Introducing new technology into the workplace doesn’t have to be scary. Follow these strategic steps to increase your odds of successful implementation.
Your tech stack is the recipe that defines how your workplace functions.
When you bake a cake, you can’t replace the flour with sugar and hope for the best. Introducing new technology to your workplace is similar—you can’t swap out a tool in the moment and hope it works. You need a process.
New technology means changing habits and processes. Even if your team seems open to change, the impact of new technology will be felt widely. Do it poorly and you’ll be adding additional stress to your team’s plate. You may even fail to get the new technology adopted, meaning you’ll miss out on the ROI you were hoping for.
Approaching the rollout of new technology with a standardized process helps ensure you won’t be:
There’s a better way to introduce new technology to your team and workplace.
You’ll need to tailor this for your organization, but we believe there are six steps that every leader can take to effectively introduce new technology into your workplace:
Following this process won’t guarantee success, but it will dramatically improve the odds of successful implementation and adoption of your new technology.
There are two scenarios that often lead to leaders introducing the wrong technology into their organizations:
Technology should solve problems and empower your team to do their best work. That means a leader should aim to solve issues at their root, not with band-aid solutions that will only work for the short-term.
To make sure you’re making the best decision possible, spend time upfront thoroughly defining the problem you’re trying to solve and researching possible solutions. It’s like the old “measure twice, cut once” expression. You might think you have a good handle on the issue, but spending a little extra time upfront can reduce waste, friction, and stress for your team.
Six Sigma—the popular process improvement methodology—has a good technique for defining problems. Start by working with your team to answer these questions:
Answering these questions should enable you to effectively describe the problem you’re trying to solve, including the impact and frequency. Once you’ve got this, you’re prepared to connect with companies offering potential solutions.
When researching technology to solve your problem, always consider multiple solutions. Reach out to these companies for video demos and case studies. Ask all the questions you can think of. Compare and contrast the solutions you’re considering.
There’s no such thing as too much information during this stage!
When you feel you have a firm grasp on the options, narrow it down to your preferred choice. Try to find a way to test out the technology before making a long-term commitment. Many companies offer free trials, and even if your chosen vendor doesn’t advertise one, it can’t hurt to ask.
The key to an effective trial is to get the right people using the technology. Whether that means one team or multiple teams, this is the time to let your people get their hands dirty. Get them into the tool and have them put it through its paces.
As your testing period rolls along, make sure you have clear channels for testers to provide feedback. Ask questions like:
If you’d like, you can even do a survey to capture this feedback from everyone who is involved. As feedback comes in, pay attention to trends or patterns that surface. These trends can be the key to identifying potential red flag issues.
One last thing: remember that no technology is perfect. Your goal should be to find a workable solution to your problem that will serve you well into the future without introducing additional complications.
If testing goes well, it’s time to plan your rollout process. Notice I didn’t say it’s time to do your rollout! A well-structured plan is essential to making the integration of your new tech happen smoothly. Plan first, then act.
One common (and useful) way to do this well can be to start with a pilot program. Choose one team or department to implement the product first, and let the learnings from their experience inform your broader rollout strategy. In addition to helping work out the kinks, your pilot team can also serve as advocates for the new technology in the rest of your workplace. When the time comes to scale up, these initial “experts” can help onboard everyone else.
For example, remote teams that want to build healthy work cultures often roll out Kona this way.
Typically, companies that are new to Kona start by having one team get familiar with it. As that team sees the benefits—like improved employee morale and a reduction in team burnout—they recommend it to everyone else. When others start getting on board, those initial users have the experience needed to help newer users reap the benefits even faster.
Once your plan is in place, let the rollout begin!
The early stages of the rollout can be the most painful part of the entire process. Despite your planning and best intentions, hiccups happen and pain points become obvious.
You can reduce the friction by having training sessions with your pilot team (and eventually, other teams). Many companies offer implementation or onboarding services, so check with your new technology provider to see what resources are available.
Training doesn’t have to be formal or flashy to be effective. Sometimes, the best way to train someone is to let them get inside the new tool and walk them through it in a hands-on manner.
The rollout phase is critical for long-term success. At no other point will your team have such a fresh perspective on how this new technology works and what you can do with it.
The best way to capitalize on all of this is to make documentation a priority throughout your rollout (and beyond). You’ll want to keep track of things like:
This might sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Tools like Loom make it easy to quickly record your screen and create short training videos. Scribe makes it a breeze to create how-to guides in seconds.
You’ve launched your new technology, but your work still isn’t done. You gathered feedback during the trial and pilot phases, and you should keep up that routine moving forward.
In fact, shortly after implementing your new product is a great time to survey your team about the entire implementation process. This won’t be the last time you go through the process of introducing new technology in your workplace, so you want to make sure you capture ideas on how to do it even better next time.
As time moves forward, you should also find ways to gather ongoing feedback from your team about their experience with the new tech. How is it helping? Where are there still pain points? Input like this will help you understand if you need to change up your subscription or eventually switch providers down the road.
Change management isn’t always a fun process. You’re sure to encounter challenges and unexpected surprises when introducing new technology into your company. By using a standardized process, you’ll make the entire process smoother and easier for your whole team.