Employee Adoption Doesn’t Just Happen; You Need to Spark the Change

By Criss Marshall • August 30, 2022

William McKeon-White, a Forrester analyst, recently presented at a webinar with Pat Calhoun, founder and CEO of Espressive, titled: “IT Service Desks Aren’t Meeting the Needs of the Hybrid Workforce.” While I found value in everything that was presented, Will had one slide that struck me as simple, yet profound. He was addressing the lack of employee adoption of new technology and shared his philosophy that humans are subject to “inertia of habit”. Will explained that employees will do what they know works to get support – even if it frustrates them and causes them to lose productivity.

So, even though recent Gatepoint Research revealed that 57% of employees say that it takes too long to get resolution from IT when using email, phone, and portals – 80% of remote and 74% of onsite employees still pick up the phone to get their IT problems solved. Will was right – inertia of habit causes employees to use the same traditional channels when reaching out to IT . . . even when presented with what might be a better alternative. As Will said, “you need a spark for the change.”

Technology + Organizational Change Management = Employee Adoption

We believe the way you spark employee adoption of a virtual agent is a combination of technology and organizational change management. One without the other makes no sense. The technology must meet employees where they are, solve their problems, give them one place to go, and converse in their native language. Then you must spark their interest through an organizational change management program.

How Espressive Barista Sparks Employee Adoption

  1. Omni-channel –
    While some of your employees grew up using digital apps, others did not. No matter what generation, every employee has their preferred channel for getting help – whether it is phone, email, Microsoft Teams, Slack, mobile app, browser, or even your portal. Barista meets employees where they are and delivers value there. Once they receive value, employees are more likely to go directly to Barista next time.
  2. Resolution vs. enhanced search –
    Why do employees call or email your help desk instead of going to your IT portal for help? Employees often don’t even know what issue they have – so they wouldn’t know where to start with a portal. They just want their problems solved. So, if you introduce a virtual agent that focuses on advanced search versus problem resolution, most employees won’t give it a second try. Barista uses conversational AI, integrations, and workflows to resolve issues so employees can get back to work.
  3. One place for all questions –
    There are many things that are important when it comes to employee adoption, but if I had to get it down to one phrase it would be – “Make it easy.” The hardest thing about using a new digital app is finding it. And every department has a different place for employees to go. There’s one phone number for IT, a different one for HR, a different one for Finance. With Barista, employees can go to one place in their channel of choice for all their questions and when Barista doesn’t know an answer, Barista will get the right expert from the right department involved. When there’s only one place to go for all answers, employees are more likely to return.
  4. Multi-lingual
    The worst thing you can do to employees is to require them to learn new language to be able to communicate with a virtual agent, which is why Barista uses conversational AI to understand what employees are saying. But it goes beyond that. Employees need to be able to use their native language if you want high adoption. Barista communicates in 23 languages today and growing.

The Key to Adoption Success: Our Employee Adoption Program

The Espressive Employee Adoption program includes a communications plan and deliverables customized to your organization’s brand and culture. The program includes a variety of digital deliverables that are informative and easy to consume. They spark early interest, engage employees with gamification, and let employees know “what’s brewing with Barista” over time. And your new hires come out of the gate with digital deliverables that are part of the new hire checklist.

Spark the Change

As Will said in the webinar, humans are subject to “inertia of habit.” You can’t just introduce digital technology and assume employees will use it. Most will not. Will explained that people will do what they know works to get support – even if it frustrates them and causes them to lose productivity. You need to provide a spark or a reason to change. If employees don’t find it easy and it doesn’t deliver value, they will not use it. At Espressive we have addressed both through our technology and through organizational change management.

If you want to see Will’s webinar on “IT Service Desks Aren’t Meeting the Needs of the Hybrid Workforce,” just click here.

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