Keys to Internal Adoption of Digital Tools

by Susan Yeazel, Donna Hazen and Michelle Auchter

Success happens from the inside out. There’s often an assumption in business that employees will naturally adopt new tools and technology simply because “they’re better.” But it takes more than the promise of a new and improved tool to get people on board. Businesses need to take steps to improve digital adoption in ways that boost administrative efficiency, reduce costs, retain valuable talent, and improve the customer experience.

Think, Plan and Invest in the Employee Experience

Think about the level of effort your organization puts into ensuring that externally facing digital tools or web features are a success with your customers. How do you think, plan and invest to ensure that success?

While customer experience (CX) typically steals the spotlight, employee experience (EX) is nearly always the unsung hero to ensuring that companies succeed in engaging customers and driving growth. Companies that plan and invest in digital advances with this inside-out mindset are at a competitive advantage. We find they have a few key success factors in common:

Inspired and organized leadership: This is the No. 1 predictor of a successful digital adoption. Leaders need to be out in front — seen, heard and enthusiastically championing the value of the digital transformation.

Thoughtful preparation: Successful companies spend time upfront to really think through how they’d like to see this change unfold. What will success look like?

Active engagement: Inspiration and open, two-way communication are essential to engage heads, hearts and hands. Leadership can do much to support teams with the tools, capabilities and campaigns to make the digital journey as fun and rewarding as possible.

Make it clear — strategy, alignment and leadership: Before employees will invest in the “how” of digital adoption, they need to understand the “why.” Leadership must share a clear vision, articulate the drivers for change, explain the rationale for timing, and illustrate the alignment to corporate strategy.

Leadership needs support, too. Too often, there’s an assumption that leaders will “just know” how new ways of working will be done, even though they’ve never been done before.

Link wins to work, personal success and strategy. People succeed in meeting strategic goals when they see the connection between their work and the organization’s objectives. Making this connection takes a holistic approach to digital strategy and communications — getting the right message to the right employees at the right time and context. What messages need to be customized, even personalized, so they “stick”? By engaging people early in the digital journey and understanding their attitudes toward change, you’ll find some early adopters and enthusiasts emerge who become effective advocates along the way. This top-down/bottom-up approach is critical to improving digital adoption.

Digitalization is a journey, not a one-off. The investment you make now in your people sets up your company for long-term success by equipping your employees to navigate your organization through all the future transformations it will take to stay competitive in a fast-changing marketplace.

Susan Yeazel, Donna Hazen and Michelle Auchter are with pointb.

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