Your Tech Is Great - Now, Get Your Employees To Use It

Whether you lead a company, a function or a team, here's a problem you've probably faced: Your company just invested a lot of money in a new technology, which can do 99 things better and faster than the old way, but no one is using it, or they're using just one or two of its capabilities, not all 99.

This example corroborates the findings in a report published by IDC (via CIO), which stated that "70% of siloed digital transformation initiatives will ultimately fail because of insufficient collaboration, integration, sourcing or project management."

In marketing, I see it all the time. From my experience, customer-centric modern marketers should be using the latest marketing technology. AI-driven marketing analytics, for example, can help marketers tailor and pace communications for each targeted individual, measure results in real time and alter campaigns on the fly while giving professionals and partners the right data at the right time for strategic decisions.

But most employees don't have a tech background. Many view the essential eight technologies (including AI and blockchain) as mystifying, not exciting. Plus, they already have jobs to do. They're not thrilled with spending hours at training sessions. Many will drag their feet and do as little as they can with the new tech for as long as they can unless you roll it out just right.

Give insiders the outsider treatment.

I like to think of my team the way I think of my company's clients, which is as valued individuals whose professional lives I want to make better and more productive. So when we roll out new technologies in-house, we use some of the same strategies that we do with clients:

Earn attention. You don't expect clients to be a captive audience. Don't demand it from your employees, either. Instead, make learning a game through engaging apps that turn lessons into friendly competitions. The best of these apps make the competition team-based to strengthen a collaborative mindset.

Offer bite-sized pieces. You wouldn't ask clients to sit through hour-long lectures. With your employees, offer apps that provide lessons in bite-sized pieces so they can "nibble" in their spare time. And if those apps are games, these "snacks" will feel like breaks, not extra work.

Make it active. Some of the most effective marketing gets people doing something, not just watching. Similarly, the best upskilling apps enable employees to quickly accomplish something with the new tech. People retain 5% of what they hear in a lecture but 75% of what they practice.

Be transparent — and humble. You wouldn't keep your clients in the dark or ignore their feedback. Similarly, tell your team exactly what your expectations are, and provide channels for them to say if anything isn't working. And when they talk to you, listen!

Win the influencers. In companies, the key influencers aren't social media stars but middle managers. Get those internal leaders on board by demonstrating the new tech's benefits for their teams, giving them some authority over the rollout and listening to their needs.

Keep track, and stay agile. Just as modern marketers follow the progress of campaigns in real time and adjust as needed, do the same with your tech rollout. Monitor employee engagement with usage analytics, and be ready to course-correct.

Give more power to your people. Make it easy for those who are accountable for business goals to see adoption progress and steer that behavior.

Everyone is trying it.

Most large companies, by their nature, resist change. But every large company has to change, rolling out newer and better digital technologies and getting its workforce to use them. Even Amazon and Microsoft have recently launched major upskilling initiatives.

But even if everyone is trying to get its workforce even more digital, many are failing. That's why if you want your company to be a winner of the Fourth Industrial Revolution instead of a casualty, you'll have to do more than offer your employees new opportunities. You need to get your teams excited to learn and use them.