The right technology – successfully implemented – will help you realize your operational potential. How can you make sure your investment will pay off? How will you know if mid-course corrections are needed? Keep an eye out for the following signs:
- Unexpected headcount increases after new technology is introduced.
If you must hire post-implementation, make sure it’s for the right reasons. For example, if the new technology allows you to provide services that you’ve never offered before, the investment in additional headcount could be justified by higher customer satisfaction or better data. However, if the increase in headcount is not justified, your staff might not be using new technology properly. This problem is easily solved by modifying processes and improving training. You can ensure your technology improvements enable team members to accomplish more with less time and effort.
- Confusion surrounds what work should be done in, and out, of the system.
The best intentions often over-complicate a technology solution. When user wish lists contain every function that might be needed someday, technology implementations run amok. If you failed to prioritize requirements during development, and automated too many infrequently used tasks, it is not too late to fix it. Engage subject matter experts now. Have them agree on what functions will be used and set the others aside. Then document standardized, consistent, and repeatable ways to handle the priorities.
- Team members keep drifting back to the way they used to do things.
When people refuse to let go of old tools and processes, they end up doing redundant work. The fix? People must understand what they should STOP doing and START doing in the new environment to make new systems work for them. Ideally, this information should be part of standard training. Analyze discrepancies between the skills and knowledge required to perform key roles and determine what additional training resources are needed. Providing something as simple as a quick reference guide may be all it takes to build and reinforce best practices.
- Discontent is growing and no one understands why you did this TO them.
If people feel like victims, it indicates they never clearly understood the reasons for the change. “Because I said so” doesn’t work for toddlers, and it’s not a reason for adults to embrace new ways of doing their job. To get the benefits you’re seeking, treat your employees with respect by sharing the fact-based reasons for change. Let them know that you are in the boat WITH them and look for ways you can support them through post-implementation changes
- There doesn’t seem to be a plan for maintaining documentation or training new hires.
When people aren’t involved in creating new solutions, it’s a challenge to get them to take ownership. It’s never too late to involve resources who may have been left out of your strategic efforts. One way to make change more inclusive is to have users create clear guidelines for who, when and why documentation will be updated. Once guidelines are in place an organization can evolve, ensure the effective use of new technology, and garner a return on investment. Training materials should always be in a ‘ready state.’ Don’t replicate the problems of the old environment with new technology.
If you encounter any of these technology adoption problems, address them head-on. Acting quickly to turn troubling situations around achieves your goal of helping your team get more done in less time. You can accelerate your operational effectiveness and your company’s profitable growth.
New technology should help your team work smarter, not harder.