For all the progress that unified communications adoption has seen in the past few years, there are still thousands upon thousands of businesses around the world that have yet to enthusiastically embrace the technology. But this group is shrinking. Business leaders who have so far hesitated to embrace unified messaging systems are increasingly coming to realize that the lack of UC is quickly becoming a competitive disadvantage, and they need to act fast to keep pace with others in their industry.
Not too fast, though. Rushing into UC is a surefire way to see disappointing results. Decision-makers need to take the time to research their UC needs before moving forward with the selection process. And a key part of this evaluation should be employee insight. While many business leaders overlook this step, employee insight can dramatically improve UC results, and the company's bottom line.
Here are three major reasons for business decision-makers to speak to employees before choosing a UC platform.
"Getting employee insight will allow business leaders to choose the best-fitting UC option."
1. A better fit
The most important reason is also the most obvious: Getting employee insight will allow business leaders to choose the best-fitting UC option. In many cases, firms' decision-makers select their UC platforms and then make the technology available to workers, assuming that these employees will find use in the new resource. And they will – but it won't be a perfect fit. This can lead to frustration and resentment.
Instead, business leaders should begin with employee engagement. Ask workers how they use communication tools on a daily basis and what upgrades or new capabilities would prove genuinely useful. Is video conferencing a priority? What about instant messaging? Managers will have an idea, but this can't compare to direct insight from the workers themselves. By using this engagement as a starting point, the firm is much more likely to select a UC suite that has a direct, positive impact on workers' day-to-day responsibilities, and which can therefore deliver maximum ROI.
2. Greater enthusiasm and usage
People tend to be creatures of habit. If they feel like their current routines are adequate, they won't want to switch to a different system. As a result, employees' actual use of UC tools is frequently sluggish. The assets are available, but workers often simply ignore them, not realizing what a boon these resources can prove to be.
The best way to overcome this resistance is to get employees excited about the new resource, and bringing workers into the process early can achieve just that. If workers guide the UC selection, identifying most-wanted features, they'll be far more eager to get their hands on the technology. This positive attitude will significantly simplify and improve the roll out and boost usage rates. This will lead to greater productivity, efficiency and worker satisfaction across the board – and it's only possible when employees contribute to the UC selection process from the very beginning.
3. Smarter usage
Another major obstacle that businesses deal with when rolling out a new UC solution is that employees are frequently unaware of, and uninterested in, the full scope of the platform's capabilities. Workers with access to a video conferencing solution, for example, may only use the tool to see each other's faces during virtual meetings, ignoring the ability to screen share – one of the most useful benefits of the technology. It can take quite a while before business leaders recognize and correct this oversight.
If employees provide insight at the beginning of the UC search, though, they will inevitably learn more about the UC platforms under consideration. As a result, they'll become more familiar with the true extent of a tool's abilities. With this knowledge in hand, employees can start using a UC tool to the fullest from the initial roll out.