Considering our infatuation with technology, you’d think that we’d get excited when our organizations introduce new tools into our workflows. In many cases, however, that couldn’t be further from reality.
In a previous life, I worked at a medium-sized technology company in Southern California. Every team at the company had its own preferred project management app, which often led to cross-department misalignment and confusion. In response, executives migrated every team onto a new project management app for the entire organization, mandating that employees adopt the new app.
Several months later, every team slowly crawled back to their previous apps. Why? Because those teams felt that the new solution didn’t meet their needs and had a convoluted user interface. The result was hundreds of collective hours and valuable budget dollars wasted migrating between apps.
Control vs flexibility
Organizations deploy new technologies in response to business needs. However, deployment is only half the battle. Employees often resist technological change, which fragments teamwork as a result. Whether employees are too busy to learn new processes or too stubborn to abandon old habits, their resistance can nullify any new technologies organizations decide to introduce.
Migrating employees to new technologies isn’t as straightforward as it seems, though. Many companies demand that employees use certain tools and prohibit them from using alternatives. That creates a major problem if those tools are ineffective. A survey by ZenBusiness shows that 57% of employees feel working with inadequate and obsolete technology negatively affects workplace productivity and morale. Tasks take longer to complete, employees work longer hours, and the quality of work suffers.
At the same time, giving employees too much freedom poses a challenge as well. Ineffective company-provided solutions often push employees to find and deploy their own solutions without approvals from security teams. A Forbes Insight survey found that one in five organizations experienced a cyber event due to shadow IT, or technologies that fall under the radar. This presents huge security risks for organizations.
When it comes to enterprise control versus business unit flexibility, who wins? The answer is somewhere in the middle. Deployment strategies include several key steps to ensure successful widespread adoption. Here are four essential steps to help organizations get started:
1. Choose a communications solution with a seamless user experience
The most important factor in user adoption is the user experience. Millennials and Gen Zers grew up surrounded by communications technology (AOL, Skype, FaceTime) and expect the same level of simplicity in their professional tools. Without a seamless user experience, employees will wander in search of better options.
Many organizations choose the multi-app approach, deploying a communications app for every need (messaging, video calling, phone, fax). The deluge of apps, however, often overwhelms employees. Studies show that 68% of employees toggle between apps 10 times a single hour, with some toggling up to 15 times. Toggling between apps destroys concentration, especially when switching apps requires you to enter meeting credentials and wait for long load times.
Communications technology should combine essential tools into a single platform. Unified communications solutions like the RingCentral app combine team messaging, video conferencing, and cloud phone into a single app where employees can seamlessly switch between different modes of communication with a single click. When compared to multiple apps, the simplicity of a single app allows employees to work without being inundated by technology and makes for a much better user experience.
2. Emphasize its benefits with transparency
The right messaging can make all the difference in employee adoption. If employees feel obligated to adopt a new app to justify someone else’s decision, they’ll be much less inclined to make an effort. At the same time, choosing a new solution without consulting employees is a sure way to get mixed responses.
Organizations should start by assessing every team’s business needs. Employee surveys or leadership meetings help IT teams gauge how employees feel about the current ecosystem. With their concerns in mind, introduce the new communication solution and explain how it eases employee workloads and helps streamline workflows. Employees are much more receptive to technologies adopted with intent and will put more effort into making them work.
3. Conduct employee training sessions
Even tech-savvy employees won’t entirely understand a new solution’s capabilities at the start. Have you ever discovered a new feature on your phone after three years of using it? Without the full scope of what’s available, employees might find the new solution too lackluster and give up early.
Deployment plans should include training sessions before finalizing any contracts. IT leaders or service providers can offer training sessions using lesson plans customized to every individual department. Keep sessions small and hands-on so employees have a chance to test and ask questions. This keeps employees of all levels of technical expertise on the same page.
4. Engage with early adopters and change leaders
Sometimes, employees resist new technologies because the benefits of switching their entire workflow aren’t clear. The same holds true for communications when migrating entire messaging histories. Important files can get lost, and employees don’t want to risk that.
Organizations should carefully choose their change leaders to educate employees. Leaders can host webinars and office-hour sessions, or simply answer questions from colleagues. By educating employees, organizations won’t leave employees to their own devices. Instead, they’ll take a proactive approach toward ensuring widespread adoption of their new communications solution.
A unified strategy for adoption
Selling employees on new communications solutions can present challenges, but with the right approach, organizations can be successful. Today’s employees have high expectations for their workplace technology, and technical readiness is simply not enough to drive user adoption. IT leaders ultimately need to keep employees interested, invested, and educated in the deployment strategy. With employees fully on board, organizations can successfully deploy the new solution and start streamlining communication and collaboration.
An effective communications solution has to meet the needs of as many teams as possible to ensure company-wide adoption. Luckily, unified communications as a service (UCaaS) solutions, such as the RingCentral app, check all the boxes. RingCentral Office combines team messaging, video conferencing, and cloud phone into a single app, allowing employees to access any mode of communication with a single click.
As a cloud solution, RingCentral offers integrations with other business tools such as Salesforce, Microsoft Office365, and Okta to streamline workflows for all employees. Check out our App Gallery to learn more about RingCentral integrations.
Originally published May 14, 2020, updated Sep 11, 2020