Blog Post

Talking Through New Productivity Tools With Your Team

When you add a new tool to the set you expect your team to work with every day, it takes more than just a little bit of training to get the ball rolling. You have to sit down and talk about the tool if you want your team to make full use of it.

Communicating the Value

In most organizations, adding new tools isn’t something that’s up for discussion with the people who actually do the lion’s share of the work. That’s for reasons of practicality. The IT pros make sure that everything works together, and management should get a good idea of whether it meets the organization’s needs and fits the budget. It’s only when the tool is being incorporated into the processes your team typically uses is it really discussed with the organization as a whole.

But once the decision to use a particular tool is made, it’s worthwhile to have a sit down. By telling your team members the reasoning behind the decision and giving them context for the new tools they’ll be using (beyond simple training) you can reduce resistance. It’s not uncommon for an organization to find that employees drag their feet about adopting new tools. More often than not, that’s down to the fact that the employees in question view the transition as more work for them. Without clear communication as to how a new software package can help your team do their work, they’ll see it as something of a hindrance.

Offering the Discussion

Learning new tools, especially those that may seem at first to add to your team’s workload, is not an exciting prospect. As a general rule, your team probably wants to find ways to reduce its overall work load, rather than add to it. That makes it necessary to sell changes — to convince your team that there’s value in making the change. In many cases, productivity or collaboration software should be an easy sell, since these tools generally make your team’s lives easier. But if they don’t (maybe you’re bringing in a tool that makes tracking projects company-wide easier, but requires your team to do more work), you’ve got to hold a discussion to demonstrate its value. You have to show that this change is going to have a big impact for the company overall and why it’s worthwhile for your team members to go with it.

Having this discussion may mean a few one-to-one conversations for difficult change-overs, or if you work with a virtual team. No matter what, though, the conversation has to take place.

Photo courtesy Flickr user Chelmsford Public Library

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3 Responses to “Talking Through New Productivity Tools With Your Team”

  1. Another way to do it is set up an initial group for a trial period, maybe of a couple weeks to a month. Then by the time you’re ready for a formal change, will already have a people other than yourself to help out everyone else getting started.

  2. Great points on how to start the discussion with your team. It can also be helpful to get them involved in part of the decision making process to use the tool. It’s not always possible, but when it is, it helps with wide adoption and buy-in.