When customers walk into a hotel lobby, they see the smiling faces of the people at the front desk. Of course, those staffers represent just a small percentage of all employees. The backroom operations of even a small hotel can be complex, with people working in marketing and sales, IT, maintenance and housekeeping, food preparations, etc. That diversity of roles and responsibilities makes introducing any new technology, whether it's a new shift scheduling tool, an employee communications solution, or a guest services monitoring platform not just an IT challenge, but also a people challenge. Even tech-savvy millennials can struggle to use new technologies. Those struggles lead to frustration, and users reverting back to whatever system the new technology was brought in to replace. This article will delve into how your business can ensure success and rapid adoption of new software by your employees.
Overcoming the initial challenges begins at the top. Having the buy-in of the executive leadership team is essential, and not just for securing budget approval. Managers must promote and use the application themselves. Leading by example is key to developing a beehive mentality. When just a few staffers start following their manager's lead and demonstrate how they're using the technology to accomplish individual tasks more efficiently, their colleagues will follow suit.
Even the most charismatic team leader can benefit from the ability to incentivize team members. So, try implementing a program that measures employees' engagement with new technologies, and rewards those who demonstrate they do so consistently and correctly.
Consider the example of a guest requesting the delivery of more towels to his room. If staffers can close an issue or ticket quickly, chances are the guest will be happy. Bringing a guest some new towels may seem simple enough, but the request sets off a chain reaction that requires multiple staffers across different teams to interact with one another.
Managers need full visibility over how quickly (or not) that guest's request was met. Was a new ticket opened as soon as the request arrived? Were the appropriate staff members in housekeeping alerted, and how long did it take them to deliver the towels? After the delivery was made, was the front-desk alerted so someone in guest services could place a follow-up phone call to the room to ensure the guest is satisfied? When did that call occur, and what was the result?
Whatever technology those employees all use for measuring their response times and results, be it entering data into a simple spreadsheet, or logging those activities into a centralized guest service management platform, the manager should be able to track individual staff members' efforts.
If managers can track who is consistent in using the technology to update a workflow, and even take the additional steps of alerting their colleagues to do the same, they can build a reward into whatever employee incentive or bonus program may be in place.
Conversely, the executive team can also identify employees who do not engage with technology and why. It may not be as simple as the employees forgetting to do so. Perhaps the technology is too difficult to use, or the employees are not realizing the productivity and efficiency gains that were promised by the vendor.
There's really no such thing as a "set it and forget it" solution. It's rare that every single employee needs to know how to use every single feature of a technology platform. As new employees come on board, their managers will need to introduce them to the technology. Or when a current employee earns a promotion, he or she may require training on how to use a specific feature, like payroll management, that was not appropriate for them to access beforehand.
Consider creating a "Train the Champions" program that identifies those employees who demonstrate proficiency with the technology, and can serve as both an advocate for its use and to help colleagues overcome challenges. If you are able to address user issues quickly without relying on the vendor’s customer support offering (which you should also consider carefully when evaluating multiple vendors), you will introduce even more efficiency and cost savings throughout the organization.