Most office managers and company owners have been down the long, frustrating road of introducing a new business communication tool that promises to improve inter-departmental productivity and collaboration. Then, employees don’t use it. When you’ve invested the time and money to find the right communication software and collaboration tools for your business, this can be frustrating. While getting everyone in the company to buy-in and use your new communication tool seems like an impossible dream, you can take some steps to improve employee buy-in.
1 – Find Something Mobile Device Friendly
Most of your employees want to communicate using their phones and tablets, so any business communication tool you invest in should be mobile device friendly. You may be worried about security, employee productivity, and other concerns associated with having employees using mobile devices, but mobile device management services from IT ArchiTeks will put your mind at ease and keep your employees happy and productive.
2 – Do the Research First & Pick Something You Like Using
What do we mean when we talk about business communication tools? That may be referring to your traditional communication systems like phones, but today, business communication increasingly relies on the use of a variety of tools for instant messaging, video conferencing, sharing documents, collaborating on projects, and even giving presentations. Some examples include:
- Collaboration – communication products that allow employees to collaborate on projects in real time, share files and information securely, and stay on task more easily are extremely valuable in today’s increasingly virtual workspaces. ProofHub is one popular option, but Microsoft Azure and Google Drive can also offer great options for collaboration. ProofHub and similar products are built to make the process easier and they include training support.
- Chats – if you just have a quick question or need someone to help you with a task while you’re sitting at your computer, chat apps are invaluable. Rather than texting or using traditional email chats that might not offer enough data security, you can invest in products that allow your employees to discuss information quickly within a secure platform. Microsoft Teams, HipChat, and others give your employees easy and secure ways to chat throughout the day.
- Conferencing tools – with an increasing number of employees and businesses being run outside of traditional brick and mortar buildings, video and voice conferencing is becoming much more important. There are numerous paid and open source options out there, but for ease of use and security Zoom really can’t be rivaled. Microsoft’s Skype is a great conferencing tool, and it is often included in Microsoft business packages.
We could keep going, and for every type of business communication tool, you’ll find 1,000 specific options. At the end of the day, we recommend trying them out, and picking one that offers the functionality you’re looking for in a format that you actually like to use. As a company leader, if you like a product, you’ll be a good ambassador for it to your team.
3 – Plan First THEN Act
Once you find the right product, test it out. Ask a core team of employees to try it and give feedback. Then, work together to create an implementation plan for the product, list out all the office functions it will be used for, create guides for your employees, and be prepared for training and answering questions. Once your plan is in place, introduce the product to all of your employees. Too many businesses don’t do the planning on the front end before they implement a new product, and this is one of the leading causes of lack of buy-in from employees. When there’s no clear plan for the product, employees either don’t use it or misuse it.
4 – Ensure Privacy & Security
There are numerous open source business communication tools available, but one of the leading reasons businesses use paid products rather than free options is security. When you’re sharing business communications, documents, and resources, you don’t want the wrong people to have easy access. Before you invest in a product, review their privacy and security measures to ensure they meet or exceed the standards in your field.
5 – Communicate Clearly & Educate Employees
When you’re ready to share the new product with your employees, create a clear, concise way of educating people about how the product is used, what tasks you expect them to use it for, and when you want everyone to be using the new product. In addition to communicating this clearly, you should post this information electronically and/or physically, so employees can access information about the new product whenever they need it. Whatever timeline you set, make sure to check in with employees throughout the process to make sure they are transitioning to this new communication tool rather than leaning on their existing work arounds.
6 – Champion Your New Communication Tool
Don’t make using the new communication tool sound like a punishment. Instead, talk about why you picked it, what you like best about, and how much you hope it will make their jobs easier. Be positive about using the new option rather than negative about getting rid of the old processes. Change is never easy, but the more you talk about the benefits of a new product or system, the more likely people are to want to use it.
7 – Get Your Managers and a Core Group of Employees to Hype the Product
As a continuation of the 5th step, you should recruit that team of core employees from the planning stage of the process as your product ambassadors. Encourage them to have team meetings to discuss what aspects of the new product will be beneficial for their specific job functions rather than the business in general. Make sure one person in each department is the go-to for questions and concerns about the product, and make sure you really listen to your employees if they express issues with the new product or process.
8 – Ask for Reviews from Employees
Don’t wait for your employees to come to you with concerns. Ask them to write a review after the first week using the product. Send out a survey email or ask your team leads to meet with their departments to get this feedback. Even if the product worked great when you tried it and seemed to have all the functionality you needed, there can still be issues after your employees start using the tool regularly.
9 – Don’t Give up Too Soon
After hearing negative reviews from employees or getting frustrated when employees don’t adopt the product right away, many managers and business owners just give up on the product altogether. Instead of throwing in the towel, give the provider an opportunity to help you fix the problems. Most products offer support services and customization for businesses, so reach out to them with concerns and ask them to help you solve problems.
10 – Work with IT ArchiTeks for Installation, Support & Maintenance
At the end of the day, you want your business to run smoothly and you need employees to work efficiently, but if finding the right product, installing it, and maintaining the systems and applications all sounds like more work than you have time for, let IT ArchiTeks help. Our team can help you find the best business communication tools, implement them effectively across departments, and keep your products functioning and secure. Give our team a call to learn more or schedule a consultation.