3 Ways To Gain Employee Engagement in Technology Adoption

Today, organizations of all sizes are experiencing a digital transformation. Irrespective of the industry or sector, the majority of businesses are implementing technology to better serve their customers and drive more revenue. During the transition, it is very common to hear these companies gripe –“We’ve spent an obscene amount of money on that tool, but people are still not using it.” According to an MIT Sloan study, most organizations consider adoption of new technologies to be at the top of their lists for future success. However, most of their employees find the process “complex and slow”. Why does this happen?

Employee engagement is paramount to drive tech adoption

When deploying a technology, businesses often forget employees are the ones who perform and deliver value; technology merely helps them do that better. When you implement technology without considering if it’s actually going to make the user’s job easier, they won’t have the incentive to use it. When you frame technology through the context of your employees, you can achieve the kind of engagement you need to drive high returns on your tech investments.

When employees aren’t fully involved with management’s tech initiatives, money and time get wasted. This is one of the main reasons why, despite having enterprise-issued technology at the workplace, employees turn to non-approved apps or tools. Staff are familiar with and comfortable using these platforms, and hence perform tasks more efficiently. That said, this also puts your organization’s security and privacy at risk. How do you find the perfect happy medium?

Choose technology with care

No matter what technology you’re planning to purchase for your organization, frame it through the interests of those who will use it daily. Don’t get swayed by functionality alone; consider the end user. Also, technology that requires a massive learning curve are almost always rejected by employees. Therefore, get your team to do multiple trials, listen to their feedback, and then spend your money on the best tech tool for their needs. This will ensure its adoption across all levels of your organization.

Spread awareness

According to 2013 US Mobile Enterprise Risk Survey, 38 percent of workers in U.S. companies are not aware of BYOD (“Bring You Own Device”) policies existing in their organization. The lack of knowledge about the potential dangers causes employees using their own devices or cloud-based applications to risk the security of the organization. To help combat this “Shadow IT” show your employees the positive sides of using your enterprise technology and explain how it can help them work productively without inviting any risks for the organization.            

Show, dont tell

While putting forth your argument for a new technology, you need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Prove that the technology actually works. According to experts, a better approach is to build a team of tech champions and loyal adopters by convincing a handful of employees to try the new technology for an initial period. Once they experience the benefits, they’ll not only promote the new tool among their co-workers but they’ll also help others acclimatize to it.

If we want our employees to buy into our tech initiatives, we need to be more steadfast in helping them understand why we are investing in them. Incentivizing your teams to embrace your tech adoption strategy is a great way to engage employees. Engagement is critical to achieve buy in from all levels of the organization.

This post was brought to you by IBM for MSPs and opinions are my own.

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Cloud Talent: Gaining Ground? #TChat Preview

(Editorial Note: Want to read the RECAP of this week’s events? See “Clouding: Can it Cross the Job Chasm? #TChat Recap”)

Over the past decade, the concept of Software as a Service (SaaS) has transformed the way we work, learn and live. Individuals and organizations, alike, have welcomed the convenience, flexibility and efficiency of on-demand applications – delivered from “the cloud” over digital networks.

Not surprisingly, business strategists now wonder how this “cloud” model can transform other aspects of business management. And in the World of Work community, we wonder — can this “on demand” model be extended effectively to human resources? How?

#TChat Focus Topic: Talent as a Service

First, let’s be sure we’re on the same page. What exactly do we mean by “Talent as a Service” (TaaS)? As I explained yesterday in a post, “Will Leaders Embrace Talent in a Cloud?” think of it essentially as recruiting on an as-needed basis from a cloud-based talent pool.

Of course, this already happens, as contingent workers are sourced for temporary assignments and projects via online freelance clearinghouses and similar services. But I can’t help wondering if this approach will scale effectively and efficiently for the global enterprise, as well as smaller companies and consultants? What does this mean for professional skills development and knowledge sharing? And what are the implications for  corporate cultures, everywhere?

#TChat Guests

Some of the most innovative minds in human capital management and cloud technology are now focused on these questions. And I’m thrilled to say that two of those experts are joining the TalentCulture Community this week!

As we revealed along with their “sneak peek” videos last weekend, we are welcoming two brilliant guests:

I expect a week filled with both future-thinking predictions, as well as actionable advice. And I’m sure that this is only the start of a conversation that will continue to resonate with our community for a long time to come! Join us for this week’s events, and let’s talk about the possibilities!

TChatRadio_logo_020813#TChat Radio

#TChat Radio — Tuesday, April 2 at 7:30pmET (4:30pmPT)

Both Jason and Richie will join Kevin Grossman and me to tackle key issues that come with “clouding” strategies.

#TChat Twitter

#TChat Twitter – Wednesday,  April 3 at 7pm ET / 4pm PT.

Join our weekly online forum, and share your thoughts with others about these key questions:

Q1: Do you think that “Human as a Service” models will really take hold? Why or why not?
Q2: How can the process of “clouding humans” create competitive advantage for business?
Q3: Could “clouding” humans be immoral? Unethical? Do you see HR compliance issues?
Q4: What processes should business leaders put in place to scale true on-demand talent, globally?
Q5: What kinds of HR technology requirements will facilitate on-demand talent now? In the future?

Want to see more about this week’s topic? Read Richie Etwaru’s blog post, “Go Beyond Everything as a Service.” Or see the “sneak peek” blog post from TalentCulture community manager, Tim McDonald, where both of our guests offer quick video definitions of “Humans as a Service” concept.

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our new LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image credit: Pixabay

Humans as a Service: Sneak Peek Videos

Software as a Service (SaaS). It’s no longer a new concept in the world of work. But have you heard of the new variation on that term — Humans as a Service? What is this really about? How and when will it gain traction? And what does it mean for professionals who focus on the “people” side of business?

This is what human capital innovation experts Jason Averbook, and Richie Etwaru will explore with the TalentCulture community throughout the coming week. Both of our guests bring a unique perspective to the discussion, as you can see in their “sneak peek” videos below.

Take a look. What do you think of this concept? We hope you’ll join us at #TChat forums throughout the week and voice your questions, concerns and ideas.

Economy Shifts From “Buying” to “Subscribing”

Jason Averbook, Chief Business Innovation Officer at Appirio, sees Humans as a Service as a logical next step in the shift from a “buy” to a “subscription” economy:

Looking at “Cloud” as Both a Noun and a Verb

Richie Etwaru, Group VP of Cloud and Digital Innovation at Cegedim Relationship Management, sees no boundaries as business moves toward “everything” as a service:

Join us at #TChat events this week, and let’s explore the potential of “Humans as a Service” together:

NOTE: If you don’t see the videos above in this post, you can watch them on YouTube:

What Lies Beneath: The Why of HR Tech in 2012

Does technology emerge to fill a business need – say, serving customers better – or is technical innovation driven largely by cost pressures? Does a completely external, unknowable force influence the development of disruptive technologies? Was it foreseeable Jeff Bezos would disrupt big-box stores and consumer brands with a web site, when most brands had a web site? Was it predictable Steve Jobs would turn the music industry on its head with a digital music player, when everyone already had a Sony Walkman?

I’ve been considering these questions because we are in a period of major disruption in HR technology. Of course, this makes me very happy but it also brings to mind so many unanswered questions. Conventional wisdom may say technologies emerge in response to a raw desire for innovation, but in fact business reality tells me that innovation is a byproduct of the need to reduce costs and streamline business processes – in other words, attempts to automate daily processes – whether social or otherwise. Perhaps nowhere is this easier to see than in the emergence of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and Cloud technologies aimed at solving HR and Workplace challenges.

For many Leaders and HR practitioners, just talking about innovation is not the way to advocate for technology change. It’s much easier to prove the business value of technology if you present it as a way to improve processes and deliver business value. We are challenged as an industry, particularly in the recruiting trenches–with a glut of candidates and, simultaneously, a scarcity of qualified candidates. Clients ask recruiters to source candidates against very specific job requirements; they want to speed recruiting and see key performance indicators (KPIs) and analytics to show HR processes are effective; they need to retain skilled workers, manage and a develop a compelling workplace culture, and create a credible, appealing and connected social media persona and workplace brand to be attractive to job seekers. These drivers require the application of appropriate technologies and the development of HR services to make the technologies easier to use and simpler to deploy. This is just one example that comes to mind.

So this week on TalentCulture #TChat we’re going to look at HR technology trends and leading edge thoughts to watch in 2012. We’ll examine which comes first – innovation or automation – and how knowing the answer to that question will influence how technologies are adopted, and which will thrive or fail. Join us Wednesday night on #TChat The World of Work January 25th from 7-8 pm ET (6-7 CT, 4-5 pm PT, or wherever you are), where HR and Recruiting technology topics are in the hot seat. The #TChat Twitter chat and the #TChat Radio Show are created by @MeghanMBiro and @KevinWGrossman; hosted by them and @MarenHogan; powered by@SocialMediaSean and @CatyKobe; and our partners include @HRmarketer@talentmgmttech@Focus and#hrtechchat as well as our media partner TLNT. Come join us at TLNT Transform February 27-28, 2012, in Austin, TX. Here’s a special $250 discount code for all our #TChatters — TF12TCH.

Join meKevin GrossmanMaren HoganSean Charles and Kyle Lagunas for a very special #TChat and #TChat Radio Show!

Questions we’ll be debating this week include:

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Leaders Dive Into The Workplace Cloud

I only sometimes talk about technology here. Yes, my inner nerd is still alive and well for those of you wondering what I’ve been up to lately. I’ve been hanging out in the clouds pondering this enormous topic. I assume, like 90% of us, it is there, meeting my needs, and don’t worry overmuch about marketing labels. Leaders have a way of offloading (ignoring?) many of the technical details as we hurry about our over-scheduled days.

The Cloud” is one of those technology marketing terms which represents a shift in the way technology is delivered; after all, you’d have to really be tuned out to not hear the word ‘cloud’ at least once every 15 minutes.

Oddly enough, though, cloud computing is the ultimate it’s-been there-a-long-time technology. And it is forcing leaders and HR practitioners to sit up and take notice. Why?

At its core, ‘cloud’ is really about optimizing the effectiveness of IT and systems in the workplace. Cloud computing is the successor of distributed computing, client-server and utility computing, a model where defined services depend on standardization and customer satisfaction depends upon optimization of those defined services.

Furthermore, as concepts go, it’s an abstract one, and as most tech stars will tell you, every problem in computer science can be solved by adding a layer of abstraction.  So, if you’re a techie, you know cloud is just a way to deliver computing resources.

If you’re an end user, you may think cloud is a way to get the computing resources you want without necessarily having to understand, or pay for, the ramifications of your decisions.

For those of us less technical Luddites, there are a couple of areas where the eventual impact of cloud seems greatly underestimated.  I’m speaking, of course, about  HR, especially recruiting and job search, as well as leadership, particularly as it relates to human capital management.

But when it comes to the cloud, what do leaders need to know?  Here are a couple critical cloud questions for organizational leaders & talent managers:

1) What does cloud mean for hiring and managing people?

2) What do leaders need to know about the cloud?  Are leaders struggling with any misconceptions?

Chances are most leaders will answer “no” for #1; for #2, most will likely not be sure of their answer.  But while the concept of cloud computing, like leadership, is a complex one, it underscores a far simpler truth:

The cloud is already in your workplace.

All that recruiting and HR software you use, delivered via the Software as a Service (SaaS) model? It’s cloud. Online networking and career sites like Facebook and Monster? Delivered via the cloud.

Do you use Gmail to connect with prospects? On some level this could be translated as Cloud. Store your resume online, or keep files in Cloud. And so on.

As you can see – It’s everywhere – including your organization.

For users, the changes may be subtle. Many leaders perceive these changes strictly as benefits, and there are many – no servers to buy, no on-site IT guy to worry about. But there are also – especially in HR – areas of concern, like security, multi-tenancy (shared services within the cloud) and reliability/availability (there have been some spectacular, recent cloud crashes).

Here are 3 common misconceptions about cloud computing and what leaders really need to know:

Security in the cloud is one of the challenge areas where misconceptions abound. At its most basic, security in the cloud is the same as security in an enterprise data center: policies and processes must be in place to ensure uptime, adequate resources must be provisioned, reliable and proven backup and disaster recovery procedures must be in place – and audited, and security must be in any contract you sign with a cloud provider.

In fact you must be able to define your requirements for data security. Part of the discussion should be which applications or data to put in the cloud, because not all data and applications should be in the cloud. Quiz – no, grill – your cloud provider about the security of its offering and the practices it employs to keep your data secure.

Multi-tenancy is a bit different. There are three general forms of clouds – public, private and hybrid – and three ways in which cloud services are provided: IaaS, or infrastructure as a service; PaaS, or platform as a service, and SaaS, software as a service.

If you choose multi-tenancy because it’s less expensive, you must also realize that your data and apps will be sharing space with someone else’s data and apps. You’ll be a tenant among tenants. One of your security safeguards will be gone. Just something to think about, and negotiate.

Reliability (also known as availability) is the stuff of Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Make sure to set requirements – SLAs – for uptime, reliability and availability, and negotiate penalties into your contract in the event they’re breached. Don’t accept a contract that lacks a financial penalty or for which the remedy is a service ‘credit’. This is your business, after all. It’s your data.

So leaders, go to the cloud by all means, but go with your eyes open. Ask hard questions. Cloud is an innovation that promises massive efficiencies. Make sure you’re on the right side of those promises. Protect you business, your data, your people.

In IT adding a layer of abstraction may help solve problems; chances are, in HR, an added layer of abstraction will just make it harder to know who’s doing what to whom, and if it’s really the desired outcome.

So go to the cloud, but remember: be careful out there.

Also posted by Meghan M. Biro on MonsterThinking Blog