4 ways to secure a commitment to digital adoption

4 persons working on digital devices at table

Written by Victor G. Snyder, Founder and Consultant at BossMakers

Going digital is no longer optional for businesses. In the 21st century, customers demand to be able to interact with your business through their smartphones and tablets. They’re not willing to wait the extra few seconds for human processing, and they’re not willing to use offline methods of communication.

Whereas digital transformation is what happens when digital systems are procured and set up, that’s just the beginning of what today’s corporate leaders need to do. The real game-changer is digital adoption, which refers to that sweet moment when your entire business is actually using digital tools to their fullest extent.

Digital adoption has been shown to increase productivity and improve customer satisfaction throughout the business, but it’s easier to aim for than it is to actually achieve.

According to a report by Bain and Company, only 5% of companies aiming for digital transformation actually meet or exceed their goals. Fully 75% of companies settle for mediocre results.

So how can you achieve real digital adoption? Much of it depends on how far you succeed in enlisting your employees in the process. Digital adoption requires more than just management buy-in; you need to overcome your employees’ fear of change and lack of commitment to master an entirely different way of working.

Here are four tips for securing a commitment to digital adoption from your entire staff, so that you can join the top 5% of organisations that achieve their digital adoption goals.

1. Give your employees a say

Although you and your executive team are ultimately those who choose which digital tools to introduce to the business, it’s wise to involve your employees in decision-making.

Most of your workers are already tech-savvy or even digital natives who might know more than you do on the topic. They could already have preferences for specific solutions for feature sets they want to see.

By involving them in the sourcing process, you’ll be able to get their buy-in early on. Share demo accounts and virtual workspaces with your employees, so that they can make their recommendations. It’s natural that they’ll be more willing to implement tools they approve themselves than ones that are forced upon them.

2. Connect training with your existing workflows

One of the most important steps to securing your employees’ commitment to digital adoption is to use the right type of training. Confused and poorly-trained workers are liable to avoid using the tools entirely, in order to avoid the frustration of getting it wrong – which then leads to a parallel drop in productivity and employee satisfaction.

Even worse, they could continue to use your new tools, but use them in the wrong ways, which causes more errors than if they ignored them entirely.

The best way to make sure that your training sticks is to integrate the new tools into your existing context and workflows. Digital adoption platforms do this by taking training a step further than simply illustrating the features and functionalities of the new tool. They connect with the user interface for your new digital solution to guide your employees through every step of the process, focusing training on your desired outcome to unlock efficiency and productivity.

3. Focus on tools that help your staff

For business owners and managers, the primary aim of digital adoption is to improve your revenue and increase your bottom line. This could lead you to digital tools that have the biggest effect on customer experience or sales, but that’s not always the best approach for employee buy-in.

Instead, consider beginning your digital adoption journey with tools that bring the most value to your employees. For example, you might do well to start with digital inventory management that saves your workers tedious hours in the stockroom, or digital accounting software that automates invoicing.

When your employees can see that digital adoption is for their own benefit, they’ll increase their support and be more willing to learn how to use additional tools as well.

4. Track progress

With consistent, ongoing monitoring, you’ll be able to see if your employees are actually using your new tools, which tools are seeing the highest implementation, and where your workers are encountering obstacles and perhaps abandoning the effort. This way, you can step in quickly if you see that anyone needs extra guidance, and prevent frustration and resentment from building up.

It’s also good to create a business dashboard that displays the impact of your new tools. You could track how much time has been saved on invoicing so far, for example, and showcase that to employees.

This way they’ll see the value of each new tool, and feel energised to adopt the next one.

Your digital adoption success depends on your employees

Just like all the rest of your business, your digital adoption journey can only succeed with the support of your employees. If they feel that your digital tools are not relevant to their daily work experience, struggle to see how to implement them in practice, and/or feel that they have been imposed upon them without giving them the chance to make suggestions, they are far less likely to put in the effort to use them.

But when you enlist employee opinion early in the process, make it clear how to use digital tools as part of your current workflow, show the value that they bring to your employees, and track progress clearly and openly, you can garner their commitment and make significant progress towards true digital adoption.

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