Ted-Schadler by Ted Schadler

Go to a baseball game and look around. Do the fans all look like you? Do they want what you want or think how you think or feel the way you feel about stuff? Nope. Baseball fans are diverse, unique, different, special. They have only one thing in common: They like baseball.

It's the same at work. Your workforce is just as diverse, unique, different, special. They have only one thing in common: They work for the same organization.

It's a simple but profound observation: Most people aren't like you. You can't apply your own thinking or feeling to them. For example, they don't necessarily like technology. They might avoid technology because it scares or mystifies them. They could stick with what they know until someone forces them to switch.

Need proof? Half of all information workers are pessimistic about technology. Only 1 in 4 uses instant messaging. 62% aren't fully satisfied with their word processor.

On the other hand, the other half of information workers are optimistic about technology. And some employees are wildly enthusiastic about technology. They bring their own smartphones to work — and use them to work from every location. They use social network sites for work. They spends hours each day in love with their work devices and tools.

But which employees are enthusiastic and which are reluctant users of technology? After all, they aren't all in one job function or business group. The list of questions goes on:

  • How can you be sure your software licenses aren't money wasted?

  • How can you make sure your training dollars will be well spent?

  • How can you identify barriers to adoption — before that new Office upgrade, employee portal, unified communications, collaboration, desktop virtualization, team site, social networking, video conferencing, mobile, whatever initiative stalls out?
  • How can you improve satisfaction with workforce technology — and with your IT services?

  • How can you be sure that a new workforce technology will be successful?

You can improve your chances by getting a handle on who your employees are and what they expect and need from technology. But how? Use the same sophisticated market research techniques that Apple, P&G, and Barack Obama do. Just ask them.

We are announcing Workforce TechnographicsTM, a new research methodology for analyzing what information workers need from technology. Our first Workforce TechnographicsTM study is a survey of 2,000 information workers at US companies and organizations with more than 100 employees. We asked about technology adoption, use, and satisfaction. We analyzed the attitudes and behaviors of information workers. We identified barriers to success and found and sized laggard and enthusiast segments.

This study will give you a benchmark for information technology use and satisfaction among US workers. We will be publishing reports from this study over the next few weeks and months and also feature regular blog posts with a veritable how-to guide for using market research techniques, including online surveys, focus groups, segmentation, and persona development to analyze your own workforce.

Have experiences to share? Questions you'd like to see us answer? Topics of interest? Things that are plaguing current efforts? Just comment and ask. We may have answers already.