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By a show of hands — who likes implementing new technology in the workplace? (I hear crickets.)
But without taking on that project, it’s almost impossible for companies to increase employee engagement and boost productivity. That's why we're sharing how to implement new technology in the workplace with less hassle and better results.
For companies of all sizes, IT projects will remain a top priority throughout next year. Between modernizing IT infrastructure, supporting distributed workers, and enabling changes to business operations, all eyes are on technology investments as businesses gear up for new ways of working in 2022.
According to The 2022 State of IT report from SWZD, 53% of the businesses they surveyed plan to increase tech spending over the next 12 months and 35% intend to keep their tech budgets the same year-over-year.
Those organizations who say their 2022 tech spending will rise also expect their IT budgets to grow by 26% on average. But in order to get everyone on board with new technology, IT leaders will have to be ready to justify their purchases.
Sectors and solutions leader for EY Americas Advisory Markets Herb Schul shared this tip in The CIO's Coronavirus Playbook: "Necessity and immediate need eliminate the typical barriers."
When it comes to your organization's IT priorities, do you know how they compare to the priorities of other companies? We surveyed 300 IT and workplace leaders to find out what was driving their tech investments in the new era of work.
Here are some of the key findings from our research:
Depending on your organization's return-to-office plans, you may need to support a wide range of workers — in-office, fully remote, hybrid and flex, and contractors.
There's never been a more urgent need for realigning your IT strategy with the specific goals of your company and any new workplace policies in 2022. But before you can do that, you also need to anticipate how new technology will impact the people using it — your employees.
In 2022, employees will come into the office for different reasons than they did prior to the pandemic. They'll come in for face-to-face meetings, in-person conversations, and to enjoy the more social aspects of work.
Flexible and hybrid work models require supporting a high degree of variability when it comes to employees' schedules and working locations. On-the-go workers will travel between the office and home. They want to shape their workdays around their preferences, not the other way around.
In this type of work arrangement, your organization can benefit most from a mobile workplace solution that lets people book online and work from the office — providing employees with the ultimate convenience as they go about their day.
With the three trends detailed above already in play, IT leaders are evaluating new solutions to bridge the gaps between the physical and digital work environment. But, there's a lot to consider before implementing new technology in the workplace.
First, you need to know when it's needed. But how?
If any of these signs seem familiar, it may be time for implementing new technology in the workplace:
So what can you do to ensure tools are happily accepted and used by your employees? The difference between a successful rollout and an expensive learning curve is how quickly and thoroughly employees adopt the new toolset.
Here are five tried-and-true strategies for implementing new technology in the workplace:
You also have to consider how to implement new workplace technology and boost end-user adoption.
What happens when employees aren't included in the decision-making process? Implementing new technology in the workplace is a mess — if not a complete and total failure.
Why? The solution you chose may not actually match up with their needs, it may make other processes more complicated or time-consuming, or it might be difficult to learn and use. The bottom line is that expecting employees to use a new workplace solution without getting their input is a little like playing the lottery. Your investment might win big, but it's far more likely you won't win any prizes.
When organizations don't seek an employee consultation, the tools they roll out tend to be "over-engineered," and IT ends up spending more money on features than necessary, says Erika Van Noort, director of consulting at IT service provider Softchoice.
Get feedback early on. This step should actually take place before implementing new technology in an organization — before even choosing a solution, in fact. Feedback and good communication could save you money and make adoption easier when it does come time to roll out the new solution.
Talk to your employees, either through one-on-one interviews or by sending out surveys, to get feedback on your existing workplace technologies and find out what additional resources they suggest. Find out what’s working, what’s not, and what tools could help them be better at their jobs.
According to a study by MIT Sloan Management Review and Capgemini Consulting, 63% of managers said the pace of technological change in their workplaces is too slow, primarily due to a “lack of urgency” and poor communication about the strategic benefits of new tools.
Just like your customers, your employees need to know what day-to-day pain points can be solved by the solution you're providing for them. Take the time to explain why new tools are needed, and show specific examples of how employees can use them to be more efficient and effective at their jobs.
Think about the ways work has changed over the past two years. How have these changes impacted the workday for your employees? How can you improve employee wellbeing at work?
Consider how the workplace is expected to change in 2022. How will those future changes influence the experience of employees while working both in and out of the office?
For instance, if your office is switching from assigned to shared seating to accommodate a hybrid workforce, employees will need a simple and convenient way to book desks. To manage fluctuations in attendance, your company may need to have employees schedule which days they plan to work from the office in advance. In that case, a desk booking software that allows people to see which desks are available from a map of the office makes picking and reserving the right seat a piece of cake.
During times as disruptive and uncertain as these, it's important to minimize the amount of disruption implementing new technology in the workplace causes for employees. We suggest planning ahead and introducing new technology gradually.
Employees need to know how to use new technology, but training should be done in a way that works for everyone. Planning ahead and breaking your workforce into groups is one way to make sure implementing new technology in the workplace goes smoothly.
You might consider rolling out your new software to employees in waves — starting with "allies", or the tech-savvy employees who are eager to learn new technology. Anyone who has a lot to gain from implementing new technology in the workplace also makes a great ally. When you start by training these allies on the new software, they can help get the more hesitant employees on board and can even help assist your team train others.
Helpful training sessions go a long way toward successful end-user adoption.
Very few employees will start off liking a new solution if they're forced to switch tools without any time to get up to speed. So plan to give them training – in whatever form makes the most sense for them, whether it's email instructions or a video tutorial – and enough time to learn to use the new technology.
Although your IT team will have tested and implemented any new technology, and therefore are in a good position to train end-users, don't put all the burden of training on them. Get managers to help train their teams. Not only can they lead by example, but they can also make sure that the new tools become part of their department's day-to-day activities and processes.
Once employees do start using the technology, point out the positive impact it’s having on your organization. The reinforcement will encourage further adoption.
To effectively boost engagement and productivity, take the right steps to implement technology. That includes thinking about the tech rollout from the perspective of the people who are actually using the tools.
Any IT investment you make today will need to be well-aligned with your company's goals for 2022, within budgetary and operational restrictions and without sacrificing the needs of the workforce.
Research shows that job satisfaction improves when employees have the right workplace technology, i.e. the tools that enable them to be more efficient at their jobs. But it's not just a matter of purchasing the right tech — although that's a great starting point.
You need to know your company's key IT priorities for 2022 and keep them in mind throughout every step of the process.
IT teams will also need to make sure the workplace tech they implement is adopted successfully. To set everyone up for success, look for features that can help boost end-user adoption. Before implementing a new system in the workplace, make sure you find one that:
Consider what employees value most about being in the workplace. Anticipate what their biggest pain points will be and explore solutions that address them. Determine what people will need to be successful while working in the office.
Where will people spend their time when working in the office?
How will employees explore meeting room options, see desk availability, locate colleagues, and navigate the office? What role will the corporate office play in their overall experience? Will on-site employees have different tech requirements than your remote, hybrid, and flexible employees?
Once your company identifies its goals and scopes out the tools that match up with all your 2022 needs, you will be well prepared when it's time for implementing new technology in the workplace.
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