The Keys to Employee Adoption and Engagement

by | Jan 30, 2019 | Office 365 news, PACE approach

Christian Buckley from CollabTalk hosted a Tweetjam earlier today on The Keys to Employee Adoption and Engagement. There were seven questions asked of the panelists, and you can review their comments, discussion, fun and jibes on Twitter, at the hashtag #collabtalk.

I didn’t make the Tweetjam, although I was up (6am in New Zealand). So instead of being there live, here’s my answers to a couple of the seven questions that Christian asked.

1. How does your organisation (or client org) define adoption and engagement?

Adoption is the usage of a new product or service by people, teams and groups. “Adoption” is a good start, but we see the real game as being around “effective use” of the features and capabilities to deliver a better result / outcome than would be possible without its usage. There’s a difference between adoption and effective use. Adoption can be tracked using event signal (“they’ve sent an email, so they’ve adopted Exchange Online”) but effective use has to be interpreted against a moving baseline of what good usage within the product looks like, and in comparison to other products and services that should be de-adopted. 

I don’t often put adoption and engagement together in the same sentence, as least not like “adoption and engagement.” For me, engagement is a human process of co-learning and building shared understanding between people and teams on what is possible if new technology is made available, and adoption and effective use are achieved. So I could put the two words together in the sense of “the business engagement process comes before the user adoption process,” but I don’t use the terms interchangeably in the adoption process. My book a decade ago – SharePoint Roadmap for Collaboration – used this differentiation.

We don’t define adoption as availability (the technology is available to be used – a measure that’s often used by IT). We don’t think of adoption as the organisational buying process, even though the term is often misapplied for this purpose.

4. What is the connection between productivity and adoption within the workplace, if any?

There should be a connection, but it’s indirect. Adoption refers to taking on something new – a new technology or process – and therefore the fundamental responsibility for delivering a productivity gain depends on how the something new has been imagined, designed and created. Often a new tool merely replaces a current process or tool with a new one – and if it’s a direct replacement, the productivity gain is likely to be marginal at best. Other times new tools create something entirely new or deliver something that couldn’t be done within the previous constraints – for example, real-time meetings that don’t require travel, tapping into a global workforce rather than only hiring locally, and/or automating various steps of a previously manual process. Each of those, if designed right and are compared to a particular baseline, should show a positive delta in productivity, assuming they are adopted as expected / anticipated.

But then again, productivity isn’t the be all and end all here. Productivity refers to the changing dynamics between inputs and outputs, and for precision machinery that can be tailored and controlled and made to work non-stop for 24 hours a day, increasing productivity can be reduced to a science (and a check book). People are different. Information workers, creatives, professionals … people who have to think and compare and interact with others and come up with solutions to problems – can struggle with “productivity” as the primary metric. There’s a less analytically easy set of ideas that swirl around such people – like resilience, creativity, collaboration capability and more.  

More later. Still five questions to go …

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