Three Tips to Engage Employees When it Comes to Technology


Three Tips to Engage Employees When it Comes to Technology

I noticed that Colleen over at the Marlyn Group quoted one of my off the wall comments. I told Colleen that doing that raises the risk that I may quote her. As usual, she is very quotable. JVH

John Van Horn from Parking Today asked me to present at last month’s 2018 PIE Conference on how to engage employees when it comes to implementing technology-based solutions. As he put it, “To be blunt, it’s still pretty common in our world to work with front-line managers who couldn’t build an Excel spreadsheet if their lives depended on it.” 

As I prepared for the presentation, I found some super interesting stats:

75 percent of corporate leaders had low confidence in their own IT project success; citing a lack of alignment and key stakeholder involvement along with “fuzzy” business objectives.

73 percent of respondents to one survey admitted they believed their technology project was doomed from the start.

In another study, it was determined that 17 percent of IT projects failed so badly they threatened the future of the respective organization.

It dawned on me that in my own professional career, I bore witness to more than a few projects that amounted to a couple million dollars that resulted in failure. Woof.

One of the key drivers to this painful landing spot is the lack of employee engagement from the project kick off and through adoption. To increase the chances that the bright, shiny, new toy your organization may be preparing to launch is greeted with cheers, give any of the following tips a shot:


One of the key drivers to this painful landing spot is the lack of employee engagement from the project kick off and through adoption.


Who’s on my team? Understandably so, project teams focus on understanding what the board, the c-suite and/or customers expect from any given solution. Ironically, those who actually have to use the new tool to meet those expectations aren’t at the table when the development begins. Consider…

Who has to routinely use it?

Who stands to gain (or to lose) from it?

Who has influence over her/his peers?

Who can solve problems? Who can find them?

…while being mindful of not selecting the “go-to” guy/gal everyone leans on for any given project. You know, that one employee everyone immediately thinks of, regardless of the situation, who just gets plugged in because she/he is so good at everything. The team really wants to overlay the specifics of the tool in terms of functionality and output on top of the potential employees to identify the ideal fit.

Did We Pay for That? When developing either internally or with a third-party partner, too often the training support and programs are an afterthought and the bright light for this need gets flipped on during the days leading up to implementation. This is not the point in time you want to skim the vendor contract to see if training was included as part of the fee schedule. 

In my experience, T2 Systems has set the bar when it comes to customer training and support. Check out the “National Connect” and “Regional Connect” forums they have established for their user community. They also recently launched their “T2 Online Community” with over 4,000 customers virtually chatting with each other and T2 professionals about functional questions, knowledge sharing and general support. Brilliant.

Make Your Solution Cohesive. I was once asked to join an AP team whose internal slogan at launch was, “We’re Going to Make AP Exciting Again!” Eventually, the utilities invoices stopped getting paid and the organization asked us to change the slogan to “Please Make Paying Bills Boring Again.” 

The ultimate success of a technology-based solution is that it becomes so embedded within any given operational model that employees refer to it in the same tones as they would say, sending an email, attending a meeting, etc. 

Aneffective way to make your solution cohesive is managing the change from concept through adoption by communicating it’s progress and ultimate value and ensuring a c-suite executive is an energized champion for the team. You need an executive who is relentless in sharing why the solution is needed through the lens of organizational sustained success. That may sound like it’s asking a lot from the executive, but the messaging should be inherently clear within the solution itself.

If you’d like to read some more on how to best leverage parking technology, check out other Marlyn Group Blogs

Colleen Niese, SPHR, CPP is Principal at the Marlyn Group. She can be reached at

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Colleen Niese
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