Leaders need to be using technology and talking about how they are using the technology and benefiting from the technology.
This past week I was chatting with Paddu Govindaraj, the founder of Carevium, a Senior Housing Forum partner, about the process of implementation of new technologies in senior living communities. He recommended a recent article at Harvard Business Review titled Convincing Employees to Use New Technology that addressed this issue. This is a particularly critical issue to address for technology companies like Carevium because most users will be smaller mom and pop assisted living communities that will be moving from a paper-based system to a cloud-based system in one fell swoop. In many cases, at best, these new users will not have ever used anything more complex than a tablet device or a smart phone.
Creating a Smooth Transition
Here are some suggestions that came out of my conversation with Paddu and the Harvard Business Review article:
- Technology is Here to Stay – Like it or not there is no turning back. Even tiny (less than 10 resident communities) will find themselves “forced” to use more technology. Realistically it is already here and has been for years, starting with the fax machine and more sophisticated television watching systems.
- A Great Investment – Making smart technology investments will provide huge benefits for the users. It makes life easier, it makes data more accessible, and it improves relationships with families, referral sources and regulators.
- Think Like A User – Too often technology is implemented by individuals who have already embraced the world of technology. They love it; they get it; and they want more. The problem is that what is obvious to the implementer is not at all obvious to the new user.
It may be obvious to the trainer what terms like “save”, “enter”, “url” and other terms mean. That does not mean it is obvious to the new user. The key is going slowly and deliberately putting yourself in the shoes of the new user.
- Keep Focused on the Big Picture – It is easy to focus on how cool it is to have all your records electronic and in the cloud (and it is cool). But at the end of the day, the focus needs to be on the big picture. In the case of Carevium software that means getting rid of paper, higher accuracy, better communication tools, and better compliance with the regulations.
- Be Realistic – It is important to be realistic about how much time it takes to get a system implanted and a part of the daily routine. Talk about the time it takes to get going. Set realistic and long expectations. It is much better to tell people it will take two months to get fully implemented and have it only take one month than it is to project two weeks and have it drag out to three weeks.
- Think About the Bigger Workflow – Implementation of technology forces significant changes in how everything is done. Vendors and in-house trainers need to be conscious of the workflow ecosystem and work with the senior living community to fit the new technology into the existing workflow. They need to address what will remain the same and what will change.
- Stage the Implementation – For complex systems implement modules in stages. Start with the things that are foundational or of most value, then over time implement additional features.
Lead by Example
It becomes critical that leadership be seen as supportive . . . actually more than supportive . . . as enthusiastic about the technology. Leaders need to be using the technology and talking about how they are using the technology and benefiting from the technology. How have you successfully implemented technology in your organization?