Employees’ ability to fully adopt new digital tools – which, in turn, depends on technology acceptance – directly impacts engagement and productivity.
To maximize employee performance, managers and business leaders must develop a strategy for improving technology acceptance and digital adoption.
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Below, we’ll explore what these two terms mean and what steps can be taken to improve the acceptance, adoption, and performance of new digital tools.
What Exactly Does “Technology Acceptance” Mean?
Technology acceptance refers to how willing and ready employees are to use new tools.
That willingness has been described in a formal model known as the technology acceptance model (TAM).
This model defines several variables that impact users’ readiness to embrace new tools:
- The perceived ease of use (U)
- The perceived usefulness (E)
- The users’ attitude towards using the product (A)
- The behavioral intention (BI)
All of these variables combine and ultimately determine how accepting users will be of a new technology.
That acceptance then affects their usage of the tool.
Technology acceptance, however, is only the first step towards maximizing user productivity and performance. Managers must also ensure that employees have the right training and a positive user experience – and this is the value of developing a digital adoption strategy.
Digital Adoption vs. Technology Acceptance
Digital adoption refers to the state where users have fully integrated a new tool into their digital environment and are using it for its intended purpose and to its fullest extent.
In the context of the enterprise, acceptance is an early step in the adoption process.
Employees, that is, must be willing to accept a tool before they will actually use it.
Productivity, however, depends on a full adoption program that includes:
- Onboarding new users through product tours, walkthroughs, and basic training
- Streamlining the user experience through self-support features, technical support, and customer support
- Providing seamless, efficient training that minimizes cognitive load and increases engagement
In the enterprise, managers and business leaders must proactively design an adoption strategy that begins with technology acceptance, then continues with onboarding, training, and development.
Steps to Maximizing Technology Acceptance in the Enterprise
Next, we’ll look at a few tips and steps to take when introducing new digital tools into the digital workplace.
1. Use technology acceptance questionnaires to assess readiness
A technology acceptance questionnaire should have sections that address all of the variables mentioned in the TAM (see above).
An understanding of these variables will help managers understand several important things:
- Employees’ current skill levels and digital literacy levels
- Their attitudes towards potential technologies
- Which solution will be best suited to the workplace
When assessing potential solutions, managers naturally must balance employees’ needs and abilities against those of the organization.
In some cases, this involves a compromise on the part of both organization and employees.
However, with an appropriate adoption plan, it is possible to improve employees’ acceptance and their usage of new tools.
2. Choose the best technology solution and design an adoption plan
New tools – especially enterprise-grade SaaS platforms – come with learning curves.
Learning to use those tools can be time-consuming and, in some cases, frustrating for employees.
Yet an effective digital adoption program can minimize such problems.
Here are a few components to include in a digital adoption program:
- Effective communication. Managers should stay tuned to employees’ needs and concerns. This information can help adoption specialists assuage those concerns, improve their onboarding, and add more value to the training efforts.
- Metrics and KPIs. Metrics, as discussed below, are a necessary part of any business endeavor. They will offer insight into what parts of the adoption effort are working and what parts need fixing.
- Product onboarding. Product onboarding refers to users’ initial introduction to a digital product. In the case of digital tools, onboarding can include communication with users, product tours, software walkthroughs, and initial training efforts.
- Ongoing training. Enterprise-grade software platforms are feature-rich, complex tools that often require a great deal of training. The best training efforts are those that emphasize practical skills rather than comprehensive information about a product. Digital adoption platforms (DAPs), for instance, offer in-app workflow training, which keeps employees engaged and productive.
With the right adoption strategy, managers can drastically reduce resistance to new technology, maximize engagement, and, ultimately, improve software ROI.
3. Implement the plan, monitor, and adjust
KPIs and performance metrics, as mentioned, will provide managers with the insight they need to assess an adoption strategy’s performance.
To be useful and relevant, these metrics should be tied to business performance goals.
A few metrics to focus on include:
- Users’ overall proficiency level
- Employee engagement, productivity, and satisfaction
- Software ROI and time-to-ROI
Once those metrics have been assigned, managers should regularly review them and make program adjustments as needed.
Over time, improvements to the adoption program can help managers boost employee performance, software ROI, and, ultimately, business performance.