As the old saying has it, “time and tide wait for nobody”, and nowhere is that truer than in the way that new technologies emerge. Of course, it can’t be ignored, especially in business: You need to adopt new technology in your organization or risk falling behind your competitors.
However, when you adopt it, then you also have to ensure that your workforce has no problems adapting to technological change. Some people, such as millennials, are quick with picking up new things, but some of your employees might not be as confident.
So, how can you help your staff go about adapting to new technology? What steps can you and your organization take to ensure that all your employees get the maximum leverage out of the changes you are introducing?
Here are a few tips to point the way:
Have an eye on the goal
When introducing new technology into the workplace, it is surprisingly easy to forget about why it’s being introduced in the first place. How does any technology actually help your organization achieve its targets and goals, or support its mission statement?
There’s nothing more confusing and irritating for an employee than change for change’s sake. If the purpose of a new app or piece of software is not apparent, then it already presents a cognitive issue to your team.
Bearing this in mind, the first rule for you and your IT team to consider is this: How will this technological change uphold the company’s goals? What degree of disruption will it cause to current systems and processes? And how fast can it be rolled out, implemented and fully adopted?
If you can’t come up with clear answers to these, then how will you be able to explain the changes to your employees?
Explain and Train
The key to helping employees deal with change in the workplace is clarity – that is, being able to explain what the changes are, why they are necessary, how they will be implemented, and how they are positive and will benefit everyone. That’s why it’s crucial that when you are in the process of introducing upgrades to the business, you have appropriate information and training systems in place.
That’s where your Learning and Talent Development Platform really comes into play. Ensuring that your employees have access to reliable information updates and training in a safe environment while they’re adapting to technology in the workplace is the best way to ensure that each employee can really engage with the changes you’re bringing in.
The other great thing about having a Learning and Talent Development Platform is that each employee will be able to engage at their own pace. This is really important, as some workers will be able to adapt to the changes faster than others, while others who may be more hesitant or uncertain about technology in the workplace will have the space and time to become more confident.
But what if the new technology you’re introducing is actually a Learning and Talent Development Platform? You’ve still got to explain, train and clarify. Show your team how it will support them in work. Explain how it’s accessible from any device, any time. Sell the fact that each person is in charge of their own learning, and that the training they receive is customizable to the goals and aims outlined in their performance reviews.
The more that we understand something and the more we feel ownership, especially in the area of novel technologies and approaches, the greater we engage with the process.
Feedback, Progression, and Innovation
One useful thing to do when managing change in the workplace, especially with those who aren’t too sure of the changes, is to ensure that you have robust feedback mechanisms in place. The simple fact of knowing that your ideas and suggestions will be listened to is often enough to boost engagement.
You’ll have to be prepared for both positive and negative feedback, however: Introducing fresh tech will almost inevitably come with some issues and teething problems or may conflict with established systems and practices.
It’s crucial to listen to critical views and appraise them accordingly. After all, your organization is all one team with a common aim, so it’s important that no one is left out, especially your older, longer-serving employees who may find all these developments a bit daunting.
Another way to deal with change is to demonstrate how it makes progression – that is, their work systems and workflows – become easier to handle. This is where your early adopters can help. If they can demonstrate, in real world situations, how the new technology makes things smoother and faster, it’s far more likely to lead to greater uptake and enthusiasm, even in those who may have been somewhat skeptical.
For example, the rise in cloud-based office applications has taken off stratospherically, because it makes collaboration on documents and presentations so much easier and smoother – there’s no more pinging documents back and forth via email, with multiple versions of the same thing here and there. Now, everyone can access the same thing and make changes in real time.
Finally, a great way to get your employees to engage with and adopt new technology is to encourage innovation, or in other words, get them to play with it! Quite often a new piece of technology is introduced and people start using it in novel or unexpected ways.
A good example (from quite a while ago) is the way in which everyone used their mobile phones to text rather than make phone calls, or how social media apps have made for novel networks of corporate backdoor communication. Let your employees work out how the technology works best for them and their teams – you may discover that they use it in a way that benefits your organization overall.
Innovation and change can make anyone apprehensive, especially for employees who have become accustomed to doing their work in a particular way and may resist new technology.
However, if you plan carefully and deliver your training in a fun and engaging way, you’ll find that adoption and adaptation are a much smoother process. Hand the ownership of the technology to your employees and let them put it through its paces, give feedback to you and work out how to maximize its usefulness: You’ll soon find that everyone gets on with The New!