Business process management tools are growing in popularity among organizations that seek to increase productivity, lift revenue, and improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of processes. Unfortunately, the implementation of new technology is often met by a common barrier as a certain percentage of employees will always struggle to adapt.
What are your options when you need every employee on board with new business process management tools? How can you work with team leaders and department heads to incentivize and reward employees who are able to easily make the switch?
More importantly, what’s the right approach when you’re faced with employees struggling to change?
Sell the Value of Business Process Management Tools
It’s important to remember that the role of management in any organization is that of leadership and motivation. It’s your duty to help employees cross bridges. Some of them will freeze part of the way across as their eyes stare down into the unknown.
Leadership needs to help them get used to using new technology; helping them understand how it’s used as well as the value in it. With business process management tools, virtually every employee will benefit, so selling them on that is the best approach.
This is a lesson often taught to marketers as well as salespeople: customers don’t care about your products or your company; they care about the benefits and how it will impact them. When you want to sell something, you sell the benefits, not the product.
The number of companies out there trying to sell products on technical statistics and is staggering, and it’s one of the reasons e-commerce stores have a cart abandonment rate over 68%. You can see from the image below what kind of an impact that has on business.
If you tried to force new process management tools on your employees without explaining the “why” or the benefits, you’d likely experience a lot more pushback and abandonment of your initiative.
Employees need to understand why the new technology is an improvement, the benefits of using it, and how it will impact the work they specifically do in the company.
Not All Employees are Tech Savvy
Virtually every company has employees who are slow to adopt but still bring value. These are the hard working employees that do their job despite their skill set (and understanding of technology) being limited specifically to their job. They aren’t naturally tech-savvy so they tend to oppose new technology when it’s proposed.
Some employees just prefer their routines and don’t like change. While it is a personality trait of the individual, it’s something that can be addressed and changed through conditioning.
Otherwise, that attitude will continue as long as you permit it to. You don’t necessarily need to 86 those employees (especially if they’re great employees), you just have to find a way to encourage them to adopt the new tech.
Here are 6 ways you can improve the adoption of new business process management tools in your organization, and get everyone on board with the technology that will help you scale your organization.
Be Mindful of the Technology You Select
In the front of your mind, you’re likely focusing on finding a solution that fits the needs of your business, and that makes sense. When looking for new technology though, be it an integrated e-commerce platform, CRM tool, or business process management tool, it’s a good idea to take stock of your team and how the new technology will be deployed.
You likely need the tools to perform specific functions, but the user experience (UX) is just as important. A tool could perform exactly what you need it to, but you won’t see efficiency or effective process deployment if the bulk of your team hates working with it.
To achieve a higher rate of adoption, weigh multiple systems and consider how intuitive the systems are. Is it something that is easy to utilize?
How much time will it take to onboard the average employee?
If you’re comparing multiple tools, the ones with multi-day training programs and a lot of digital resources & tutorials are probably going to create a larger headache for employees. You can expect a lot of pushback.
If you have the option to do so, encourage your team to help you demo process management tools, collect their feedback, and let them know they’ll be a part of the selection process.
That can go a long way toward adoption.
Adapt the Training to the Team
Even the most intuitive business process management tools will require some measure of onboarding and training, especially for employees who are less tech-savvy. Rather than putting everyone through the same training and orientation, try to adapt it to individual employees.
For your employees who pick up on technology quickly, this can reduce the amount of time your team needs to spend on instruction. Those employees may be able to self-teach and handle onboarding without leadership.
For the employees who need a little more hand-holding and support, designate a coach or someone to handle the training and provide the appropriate guidance.
You’re bound to have people who struggle with the adoption, so be sure to lead by example. Emphasize the importance of the investment and go through the same training program alongside your employees. This shows humility and that you empathize with how difficult it can be to onboard new technology.
The best way to find out which training approach fits an employee is to be straightforward about it. Ask your teams what kind of training they prefer, or what they’re most comfortable with. It will go faster for everyone with a segmented roll out.
Find and Leverage Your Champions
You’re likely familiar with this approach if you’ve used it for implementing changes in the past. Essentially, you find the influencer(s) among your teams and work with them to get others on board. Once you have them fully invested and passionate about the new business process management tools, you can use them to get other employees excited and motivated.
Even your stubbornest of employees are more likely to adapt if a coworker they trust is supporting the decision.
It’s critical not to lean on the tech-savvy people for generating evangelists. Find the employees who have the greatest influence across a wide swath of departments. You want people who have networked well with their peers, have great communication skills and have a strong influence on their coworkers.
Don’t go for the early adopters first. Go for the influencers first.
Celebrate the Early Victories
If you want to build a fire under the adoption process, then draw attention to the quick wins that come through from early adopters. Once you start implementing business process management tools, you’ll likely see results come quickly.
Where efficiency and effective process deployment create team and department wins, use them to make a case for change.
“Mike’s team is all on board with updated processes, and they’ve reduced their caseload by 20% already.”
This is easier to do with smaller companies and SMBs. If you’re working on rolling out major process changes across a larger organization or multi-site operation, get your marketing team on board to do internal announcements and communicate the message in a fun and engaging way.
Reward the Early Adopters
Multiple studies have shown that positive reinforcement is far more effective when it comes to onboarding new processes over penalties and disciplinary action. In fact, organizations with recognition programs that engage employees saw a 31% decrease in voluntary turnover vs companies that had no employee recognition program.
If that’s not motivation enough, 41% of companies who use peer recognition and rewards saw marked increase in customer satisfaction.
Not only are your employees likely to adopt new tools more readily with rewards in place, but they’ll be more satisfied overall. That continues down the pipelines and clearly impacts customer delight.
By simply rewarding early adopters of your new business process management tool, you’re effectively reducing employee and customer churn.
Penalties Still Have Their Place
While it’s important to reward those who push for adopting new technology, you still may have to consider penalties and disciplinary actions. It’s best to hold off and try other supportive measures, but at some point, you’ll need to consider instituting penalties for those who aren’t making the effort.
Ultimately, this depends on how damaging their actions are to your operations. If a lack of adoption is impacting the processes of other departments then it becomes an issue of productivity that directly impacts the bottom line.
For example; if your sales team is resistant to the adoption of more streamline processes using a new business process management tool, then you may have to tell them that only leads entered using the new process will count toward their quota.
Just to reiterate – negative reinforcement should be an absolute last resort when trying to bring on new technology. It may be effective in the end, but it reinforces the perspective that new technology is a struggle or hassle, and it could create adoption issues down the road with other new tech additions.
Like the expansive toolkit used to run your business, you’ll need multiple approaches to work with the various employees during the onboarding process of your new business process management tool. Follow the recommendations above and meet with team leaders to ensure they do the same, and you’ll be able to plan and execute a much smoother technology implementation.