One of the most difficult parts of bringing new technology into a company is simply getting the team to “buy in” and adopt. Even when the advantages are obvious, staff can be reluctant to change or lack the skills to make the best use of their organization's investment. But while it can be tempting to give up on innovation and fall back on antiquated practices, there are proven ways to encourage tech adoption.
In a recent SuiteSpot webinar, Meeting The Demands of Today's Residents: Integrating Technology for Property & Facilities Management, we discussed the common barriers to tech adoption and what leaders can do to break through the barriers. SuiteSpot’s CEO, Elik Jaeger, was joined by Kim Senn-Cross President at The KSC Group; Justin Marshall, Chief Operating Officer at Fogelman Properties; Kortney Balas, Vice President of Information Management at JVM Realty Corporation; and Marshall Friday, Director of Sales – Multifamily IoT & Smart Home.
Bringing so many experienced multifamily housing execs together yielded a lively discussion about tech adoption. Here are some of the highlights:
- Training gaps: As user-friendly as a new digital platform or mobile technology may be, there will always be a need for onboarding training. It helps to understand that each employee may learn in different ways. This means requiring initial training led by the organization’s project owner to ensure that all questions related to new technology, together with any changes in the organization’s business process, are addressed. It is a good practice to record these training sessions and to repeat this training after a couple of months of usage.
- Honing the hiring process: New employees don't need all the right technical skills from day one, but it helps if they're open to learning. The challenge is that attitudes towards new technologies and innovation can go unaddressed in hiring conversations. When expanding your team, keep an eye out for candidates that show a willingness to learn and – more importantly – keep up with new tools and processes.
- Underselling the incentives: Your talent is more likely to buy into new tech if they recognize how it will improve their day-to-day work. So, while you may be touting the benefits of a mobile facilities management app or property management platform to the company, make sure you're also selling the quality-of-life (and work) advantages to your team.
Forgetting user-friendliness: Simple dashboards and intuitive interfaces go a long way towards keeping staff engaged with new technologies. If you aren't keeping user-friendliness in mind for tech investments, you may risk introducing a fantastic solution in theory that no one wants to practice.
Underestimating the value: Any piece of technology or digital innovation that benefits a property management team will certainly add benefits to their residents – which, at the end of the day, is the ultimate goal. Whether it's enabling real-time interactions or greater visibility into maintenance operations, keep these resident-centered advantages in the conversation when making a case for tech adoption. In general, residents tend to be more tech-savvy and consequently, quicker to adopt systems. However, as Marshall mentioned during the webinar, he’s found that even residents who are more reluctant to adopt tend to try it and make the switch enthusiastically within a month or so.
Ignoring your champions: Odds are there are individuals in your company who are willing and eager to use new technology, and yet companies don't always take advantage of their support. Look for individuals who can “champion” your new investment among their peers and serve as mentors on the job.
Forgetting the goal: It's one thing to promote the advantages of a new piece of technology, but another to prove them. For example, SuiteSpot makes it easy to access operational metrics and benchmarks quantifying savings in time, money, and headaches. These can then be used to demonstrate that the advantages of "going digital" are real and worth your team's efforts.
Letting the momentum die: You did the training, you had the launch, and you talked up the new technology at the next team meeting. So now what? Instead of letting the momentum fade away, try keeping engagement levels up through consistent communication, incentives, and by providing results backed by up-to-the-moment KPIs backed by data.
A single point of contact: It’s important to ensure that one person is overseeing a project for many different reasons, including consistency and cohesion. It’s important for users to have a single point of contact (usually a project manager) so they can submit feedback easily. This representative, in turn, can triage this feedback and communicate any necessary changes to the service provider, while balancing those needs with the company’s best interests and goals. Too many times, competing and contradictory requests are left to the provider to decide without taking the company’s goals into consideration.
Walking the walk: If leaders don't believe in their newly acquired tech, their team won't likely either. Leaders must show they're just as invested and engaged in unlocking full value from their purchase. Lead by example!
The pandemic has fast-tracked the need for digital operations in property management, but it's not always easy to make the case to property teams. By applying some tech-adoption insights from our webinar, companies stand a stronger chance of getting full value for their tech investments.
To check out the full webinar, click here!