Securing buy in: how to get employees to actually use and enjoy the communications tools you implement

When introducing new technology into the business, do you struggle to get buy in from users? Whether it be questions around how to use certain devices, disgruntled employees who would rather have the latest iPhone, or complaints that they can’t do their job effectively without an iPad, does this create concern around whether productivity levels are suffering?

Productivity isn’t necessarily about which devices employees have to fulfil their roles, but how they use them. So how do you go about ensuring that IT users are fully bought into the technology you roll out?

A case for employee involvement

Recent research has revealed that increasingly, employees want more say on technology they use in the workplace and over half believe using devices of their own choosing positively impacts the way they work with their colleagues.

Flexibility, greater productivity and greater happiness are the biggest benefits of employees using technologies of their own choosing.

> See also: User experience: the mobile multiplier effect

However, in reality less than a third of IT teams ask users for feedback before making a purchasing decision on new telephone systems or software products. The majority of IT Managers consult senior management, whilst half decide internally within the IT team, meaning there is a risk that the needs of users are being overlooked.

Contrast this with the fact that 72% of employees believe they should have more influence over the IT solutions they generally use for their job. It therefore certainly seems that although users want more involvement, this is not current practice.

It’s apparent that getting users more involved in designing IT strategies is vital in getting their buy in. Significant financial and business performance benefits can occur if users are involved in strategy, although it’s apparent that this just doesn’t happen enough in the business world.

A case for increased support and training

In addition to increased inclusion in the decision making process, employees’ want greater training and support as well as better alignment between the IT function and employees. Furthermore, employees feel that clearer guidelines are required on device use.

Of course from an IT management perspective, this requires greater levels of IT support, resulting in further time and cost. However, training is fundamental to increasing productivity.

Many users would be satisfied simply to be included more in decision making, so that tools and systems can be better aligned to their roles and so they understand the full extent of what the tools at their disposal can achieve.

Here are some recommendations on how to increase user buy in:

If technology is not used correctly, opportunities for enhanced personal productivity are wasted.

Research has highlighted that users want more training, so ensure any new training introduced is designed with the objective of educating employees to use new technology and product features in a manner that will lead to greater levels of personal productivity within their job roles.

> See also: 3 steps to futureproofing a business with digital transformation

There should be a few ‘IT champions’ in each department who try out a new system in the early stages, before company-wide roll-out.

Have a spokesperson for the IT department on board, whose role is to gain buy-in from the business before a full roll-out.

User requirements must be taken into consideration in regards to new systems at the initial stage for smoother implementation and more return on investment. IT managers should therefore involve employees via user groups to drive efficiencies and ensure a better user experience.

Greater support and better alignment between users and IT teams is needed if businesses are to capitalise on the benefits that new working trends have to offer. Clearly, better levels of communication and education are required in the future, so that employees and IT managers can fully appreciate their respective positions.

Sourced from Maria Grant, product director, Intercity Technology

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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