The benefits of new technology are often numerous, as it is usually more cost effective, more reliable, more durable, and more user friendly than its preceding counterpart.
The true benefits of some innovative technology can take a significant amount of time before they are realized, and often cause added stress, require additional training and new processes, and there can be true hardship for all those involved with the implementation. Once this initial hurdle is passed, however, the benefits can be realized from the change.
Sometimes, it can be exceptionally difficult to convince employees that the hurdle will be short-lived, or that the initial sacrifice is worth the benefits later on. In order to have employees on board from the beginning, there are numerous steps that management and owners can take to mitigate employee pushback from those that will be using the technology in their day-to-day activities.
6 ways to get your employees to accept new technology:
- Get employees involved in the decision-making process
- Have a champion (or several)
- Take bite-sized pieces
- Focus on the benefits
- Listen to feedback
- Provide ongoing training
Get Employees Involved in the Decision Making Process
There are so many benefits to involving and engaging employees to help make decisions. Organizations that practice this very well can see positive effects, such as increased job satisfaction and commitment, improved morale, and increased productivity. Involving employees in decision making has also been shown to create a cohesive environment of effective teamwork and can be a largely untapped human resource.
Getting employees involved in decision making is exceptionally important and is one of the first steps. In order to do so, there must be a collaborative culture of trust, where listening and sharing ideas are valued and commonplace.
Leaders who fail to see the value in listening to employees will quickly find it difficult to tap the benefits of involving personnel in the process of making decisions. A workplace that employs the right people with the right skills and experience that are not fearful of voicing their opinions, will reap the benefits of utilizing employee input.
Have a Champion (Or Several)
Having a champion or a group of champions that genuinely advocate for the change will have significant positive impact on the level (or lack thereof) or pushback and the rate at which employees embrace new technology. Distribution
In a way, the champions act as the early-adopters of the technology compared to the rest of the team that usually fall into the early and late majority group of adopters. The champions act as technology advocates and also can aid in the training and the support of other members. The more individuals that fall within this category of genuine champion, the easier the transition will be to company or department-wide acceptance.
Take Bite-Sized Pieces
The more planning, support, and time that are dedicated to implementing a change in technology, the better the chances are for success. Depending on the scope of the initiative, this step may require training a small group of motivated employees to test and use the product first, and then implementing across a department and the organization. Whatever the methodology, taking small steps to full implementation will ease the change onto employees, and reduce stress.
Focus on the Benefits for the Users
By focusing on the benefits that the user will experience once the change is fully implemented and utilized, they will find it easier to look beyond any potential inconvenience that the change may present. This will help employees look past the initial sacrifices, and look forward to the added benefit that they will experience, once they have adapted.
Listen to Feedback
Develop a system of collaborative communication targeting the employees’ perceptions, concerns, and experiences with the new technology. The environment must feel safe for employees to voice their opinions truthfully, so it may be worthwhile to set up an anonymous survey that users can complete, or appointing a group representative that employees trust to communicate the general sentiment about the new technology.
Provide Ongoing Training
Oftentimes management can treat training with new tools to be a “one and done” deal. It is believed that a change initiative is complete the first day that it is rolled out, but rather until the pre-established goals of the new technology have been realized, the finish line is not within sight.
Effective training should come in stages, with pre-training before the launch, with hands-on practice, ongoing support after the launch date, and available training resources for the duration of the new technology’s existence. From the manufacturer of the new technology, to the champions and those that have a strong grasp on the new technology, to classroom-like settings with hands-on training, there are several ways to ensure that employees understand how to use the technology effectively. The more avenues that exist for preliminary and ongoing training, the better equipped employees will be to fill the gaps in their knowledge.
So, How Do You Get Employees to Embrace New Technology?
It is important for managers and owners to understand that implementing new technology can be a challenge for the users who often feel as if their jobs depend on learning to use it, but who do not see the value in it to them. It is also important for employees to recognize that embracing new technology is becoming increasingly more important and expected from them in the workforce as well. By involving and engaging employees throughout the decision making process, having a champion or several, taking bite-sized pieces, focusing on the benefits to the users, listening to feedback, and providing ongoing training, organizations can greatly increase the rate of end-user adoption and acceptance of new technology.