Business owners understand that they need to constantly evolve and adopt new and advanced business strategies if they hope to retain their competitive edge. They need to introduce new technological tools and programs that increase productivity, allow for better decision making, and boost sales.
The employees are, however, not always on board with some of these institutional changes especially when it comes to technology. While some consider them a threat to their job security, others are blatantly opposed to change. But you need them all on board if you are to move forward as a company.
How then do you bring them all on board fast and in the most humane way possible? Here are a few practical strategies on how to go ensure fast adaptation of technology within any business environment:
1. Choose new technology carefully
The employer, to a certain extent, has the ability to control and manage employee resistance to technological changes. And it all starts with the selection of the technological tool, program or software that you hope to introduce to the workplace.
You have to be careful when deciding on a technological advancement. Does it improve the employee’s productivity, what are their pain points that it seeks to address, and does the employee consider them a priority? Addressing these issues brings you a step further to a smooth technological transition.
When making the choice of a technological tool to introduce to your company, you also need to take such factors as the user experience and functionality into consideration. Note that even the most promising software or tool quickly disinterests most employees if they don’t consider it user-friendly.
2. Create ample time for training and make it fun
After deciding on the most effective and user-friendly technological tool, start planning for its rollout. Lay particular emphasis on the training aspect of the program roll out. Ensure that the time allocated allows for adequate training of all employees.
Most importantly, make the training as fun and engaging as possible by providing for a different learning environment. For instance, instead of the usual afternoon PowerPoint boardroom sessions, consider treating the employees to lunch that doubles up as the training ground. You can also consider a retreat, especially when dealing with just a handful of employees in just one department or within a small organization.
Choose your trainers carefully. They shouldn’t just be masters of the technological tool, software, or program but eloquent individuals able to create a fun and engaging learning environment. The trainer should also be in a position to inspire and sell the advantages of being on board with the technology to your employees.
3. Bring influencers on board as soon as possible
Bringing workplace influencers and loyalists onboard during the early stages of technological change also goes a long way in easing the adoption process. Educate them on the need for the changes and how they and other employees stand to benefit from the rollout of the technology. The employee net promoter score can come in handy in sorting employees and identifying this group.
Work towards their satisfaction with the program. Listen and address their concerns before tapping on to their influence and using it to market the importance of having the new program within the institution to the rest of the employees.
4. Publicize quick wins and introduce incentives
Even with ample training and a welcoming staff, adapting to the new programs or getting a hang of new software takes time. To individuals who are used to smooth operations, taking time off to refer to a user manual or the supervisor for assistance on how to manipulate the system can prove quite frustrating. It can also breed an unhealthy resistance within the organization.
Avoid this by constantly motivating the employees. Help them celebrate small wins and if possible incentivize their effort. For instance, was an accounting department staff able to produce their first report with a new system or did the sales department land a client using the newly-introduced CRM? Congratulate them publicly, as this plays a key role in motivating the rest of the employees into putting in more effort.
5. Listen to employee feedback and provide assistance and help
Like training, the implementation stage of any technological tool or program goes a long way in determining the staff reaction to changes. Understand that training isn’t enough and allocate resources and manpower towards the implementation of a program.
Have program specialists on standby to address any employee feedback or queries that may pop up in the early stages of their interaction with a program. Most importantly, work towards encouraging them to ask even the most basic questions about the technology and provide genuine answers without belittling them.
6. Make it about the employees
Don’t make the changes and the advantages of adopting the new system all about you and the company. Loop in the employees and show them why they too need the program to work. For instance, illustrate how a system makes them more efficient, saves them time, and even contributes to higher commissions or pay.
Having the employees own the process and technology reduces the level of effort required by management to ensure smooth adjustments. Convincing them the need for the technology should, therefore, form the initial steps of a program roll out.
Traditionally, technological adjustments that involve digitization of given business operations have almost always faced its fair share of employee resistance. This doesn’t, however, have to replicate itself in your organization. You only need have to be creative with your approach. Start by educating your company staff about the need for the changes, carry out comprehensive training and incentivize positive progress.