Faster Delivery = Happy Users
Automated Process = Fewer Errors
Standards = Cost Reduction
Order Visibility = Confidence
Linking Systems = Efficiency
Employees today have more ways to communicate and collaborate than ever before, from desk phones and email to productivity apps in the cloud, instant messaging, video conferencing and smartphones. Many IT managers, however, are hesitant to invest in new collaboration technology, most claiming the tools they’ve already implemented to help employees work faster, smarter and happier are not being used to their potential.
As we’ve seen before, what end users want is rarely in perfect alignment with what IT departments provide. When selecting and introducing new office communication tools – which employees rely on regularly – even small discrepancies in priorities can result in major gaps in user adoption and even job satisfaction.
In our recent study, Working Hard or Hardly Networked we surveyed employees and IT managers to explore IT departments’ processes around unified communication (UC) and collaboration tool rollouts, and their impact on employee user habits and overall happiness.
We started by comparing what tools are at employees disposal and what tools they use every day. We found a stark drop off in usage for more modern collaboration tools like instant messaging and video conferencing. According to most IT managers, UC tools take up very little of their time to support (indicating the technology itself works as it’s supposed to, at least most of the time).
So who (or what) is to blame for the low adoption rates?
The problem is rooted primarily in IT managers’ tendency to leave front-office employees out of the loop when choosing and implementing new tools, which is the case for 77% of end users. It doesn’t stop there. After implementing new communication tools, 58% of employees say their companies fail to follow up with them to gauge the tools’ usefulness. Ironically enough, it’s a communication breakdown that dooms the adoption of communications tools from the start.
Our research shows that employees whose companies do consult with them on new communication tools are more productive (81% ) and satisfied at work (82%) than their counterparts who are kept out of the equation (62% and 59%, respectively). By letting employees weigh in prior to choosing specific tools, aligning those tools to fit culture and employee needs, and better communicating the value and training employees post implementation not only boosts user adoption – it gives organizations an edge in employee job satisfaction and retention.
Communication tool initiatives are about people, not technology
If a business is investing money and time into a new communications or collaboration initiative, IT managers must focus on these five tenets of employee engagement:
To see an improvement in communication tool adoption and use, IT managers need to break out of their project management silo. Organizations that get it right focus on unleashing their people’s potential through technology, not just technology alone.