Digital adoption isn’t always easy. Jürn-Christian Hocke offers his view of the effects new technologies have on employees and productivity
Often, companies and businesses introduce technology and software into the workplace with the intention of (economically) optimising processes. The assumption is that digitalisation will miraculously catapult the company ahead of the competition.
However, simply introducing new ways of working doesn’t always translate to a better or more productive environment for the workforce. If the software is a central part of the daily work, a rushed introduction can go so far as even causing a collapse in the morale and thus performance of the employees. Software frustration will become job frustration. Frustration is poison – it eventually leads to an attitude of questioning or refusal to use the software.
There are many risks that can be generated by insufficient planning prior to the adoption of new workplace software.
Poorly adopted software means unused potential. Under certain circumstances, the goal of process optimisation can turn into the opposite and processes will become slow, prone to faults and inefficient. Therefore, it is immensely important to plan the software ecosystem well in advance and to include the knowledge and experience of those whose processes you want to digitise.
Instead of being a lubricant for the machine, the software becomes the grind in the gears
Ask questions. How reasonable is digitisation of this process and is the planned software solution suitable? Interfaces to other departments are also essential – if this does not work smoothly, it becomes a huge problem and can lead to the total failure of projects. Instead of being a lubricant for the machine, the software becomes the grind in the gears.
Ultimately, the responsibility for ensuring the successful and integrated adoption of software within the business lies in the corporate culture. The ideal culture is one that is open to suggestions and critical discussions, where employees work independently, and managers see themselves as enablers of their teams. The responsibility for ensuring that digitisation is successful lies with each employee, which should be aware of the company culture to begin with.
A common mistake many companies make is to think that tried and tested training methods can be applied to the use of new software. However, if a particular approach worked well in the past, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved. A manager’s task is to ensure that the conditions for the employees are optimal and to obtain feedback from them and, if necessary, initiate appropriate action – be it training or possibly even adjustments to the ecosystem.
Hybrid interactive mentorship-based training would provide a more inclusive coaching model. For a deeper understanding of the software and the corresponding processes and interfaces, it is important to have personal multi-faceted discussions. This is something that videos or learning software cannot (yet) do. This also brings us to the next point: ‘hybrid’ – that means you are trained both on-site and through video tutorials in self-study. It is important that the software is used in parallel in both cases, to train the visual memory as well. Only through the optimal interaction of these components is successful and frustration-free learning possible.
For these reasons, this healthy mix of close supervision and hybrid, asynchronous learning is a success with elementary and often intangible knowledge being delivered by mentors on site. While this can be further deepened and practically applied afterwards through asynchronous self-study. In this way, there is a high-quality transfer of knowledge while maintaining a high level of motivation and involvement.
Jürn-Christian Hocke is Interim Head of Faculty of Arts at Berlin School of Business and Innovation (BSBI)