Integrating new technology or processes into a team or the whole company is a nightmare for many but quintessential to staying competitive and lean. Undoubtedly, it increases overall efficiency regardless of the vertical your company works in.
However, getting your workforce to adopt new technology poses many hurdles that management and employees must overcome to achieve the desired results.
In this article, we will discuss the problems that your battalion might face and seamless ways to make your workforce adopt new technology, as well as case studies demonstrating these strategies' effectiveness.
Problems of adapting to new technology
Multiple sentiments, such as lowered job security or a lack of self-confidence, could back fear of change.
There may be a few employees that might need to fully comprehend the necessity for implementing new technology or the extent of the benefits it might provide for the firm.
Spending all those years acclimatizing to a particular way of doing things can overwhelm your force when introduced to something new.
Due to the lack of incentives or direct results on one's report card, many find it challenging to find the energy or will to learn something new.
The end user usually finds problems or bugs in the new technology. Generally, a delay in support or unresolved issues makes new technology a bad experience. (Especially BETA versions of tech)
Only some walk at the same pace. During mass training, a few might need to catch up.
Now that we have covered a wide range of problems that may arise when implementing new technology in the workspace, it would be much easier for us to pinpoint some easy methods to make the whole journey that much more efficient.
7 ways to help your employees adapt to new technology
Appointing the right people for the job
Your 'People/HR' team's core competence might lie in something other than adopting technology and teaching the same. Having a dedicated team to craft, monitor, and implement a tech transformation has always proven to be significantly effective.
$11.8 billion is not a measly sum for any company to spend in lieu of digital transformation. A significant part of this sum was spent on hiring the right minds for the roles of CTO, CDO and around 2000 techies at various levels to ensure that these efforts are capitalized to their potential.
Building a solid tech team for all aspects like support, training and mentoring has always played out in favour of the company. Also, when you hire the right people, the responsibilities and scope of the jobs are well-defined, which promotes accountability.
Involvement from the beginning
"Breaking News! We will change our MO and bring in new tech today!"
Involving your team from the beginning, creativity to implementation gives employees a sense of involvement and time to prepare themselves.
Psychology says if they know the 'whys', 'what's' and 'how's', any employee shows higher levels of involvement and feels a sense of ownership and responsibility for the technology, making them more likely to use it.
Case: Toyota Material Handling
Toyota Material Handling (TMH) is the distributor of Toyota lift trucks and tow tractors in the United States. TMH also is the sole United States distributor for Aichi aerial work platforms, which include scissor lifts, crawler and wheeled boom lifts.
TMH uses a third party communication application which provided information to all designations but was facing problems with interactivity, login and was not able to build engagement.
This is where HR Cloud stepped in and it focused on inclusion right from day 1. Along with an highly customizable and intuitive software, it provided peer-to-peer recognition (more on this later).
The best part?
Even the associates can comment, react and give their two cents on any decision through the platform from their desktops or smartphones.
The above changes were critical as it transformed the structure of TMH from hierarchical to holacratic.
Promoting the culture of courage
Feeling singled out when it comes to peer learning is a state of mind most of us have come across. Learning something new can be a daunting experience, especially if one is slightly older than the average workforce.
Lead by example and leverage the power of top-down communication. If they see you openly communicating about the changes and minor speed breakers, it makes everyone around you comfortable and conquers the fear of retaliation.
Providing constructive feedback and showing appreciation for the efforts one is putting in is a confidence booster.
ING (a financial services company) was long due to get a complete digital overhaul since they needed to be improved. But when it came time to implement the change, they realized that their teams were rather reluctant to change.
Then the top-level management decided to reward a risk-taking (experimental) culture, which helped the teams find caveats and boosted their confidence since mistakes weren't penalized but correcting yourself was rewarded.
Additionally, the newly found courage also allowed the employees to provide valuable feedback on how the technology could be improved to meet their lead generation targets. This put ING right on the map again.
Omni channel approach to training
Yet another key strategy is to provide multiple channels of comprehensive yet digestible training and support. This can be done through various methods, such as online tutorials, in-person training sessions, smart chatbots, community forums or even a dedicated support team.
By providing employees with the resources they need to use the technology effectively, they will be more likely to adopt it.
Also, offering ongoing support will ensure that any issues or questions can be quickly and effectively addressed.
The coffee-making giant had to implement a new sales software (a part of their CRM system) while ensuring their daily operations were maintained and their customer churn rates didn’t increase. This was a challenge given that Starbucks receives massive footprints daily.
To overcome this challenge, they implemented an omnichannel approach with online and offline tutorials, in-person training and an ever-evolving support system.
The training covered the technical aspects but also trained on how it could enrich a customers experience within the store.
Stop! Collect data, evaluate, adapt and progress
We usually start with a comprehensive strategy before implementing changes in technology, but we often need to account for contingencies. Hence, every master plan should have a timeline stamp to do so.
We first start with collecting data through SMS surveys, focus groups and interviews. Consider diversifying your sample space and not sticking to a team where you might need more help.
The data should be evaluated to identify patterns, trends, and areas for improvement. This can be done by analyzing the data and identifying key findings.
HR Cloud provides features like Polls, Pulse surveys and even gives you the option to build your own survey from scratch. You do not need to be worried about analyzing and reporting either because it does it all for you.
Based on the findings from the evaluation (which has been done for by the advanced analytics of HR Cloud) you could implement changes and improvements to the process succoring the technology adoption lifecycle.. This can include changes to policies, procedures, systems or methodology.
Rewarding employees who achieve said goals or float through different stages of the training has shown tremendous results. This can be done through various means, such as bonuses, promotions, or public recognition.
Companies that implemented a reward system saw a 31% reduction in voluntary turnovers and the management could control their internal churn rates.
Rewarding employees for their efforts will make them more likely to continue using the technology and promoting it to others. They will be the ambassadors of this change in technology within your organization.
Being the company known for constant innovation, it was in their best interest to encourage their employees to ideate, develop and adapt to new technology. Hence, they started the reward program called 'Trailblazer'.
True to their word, employees who successfully adopted new tech were recognized and rewarded with monetary bonuses, public recognition, and promotions. They also held competitions that aided in experimenting with new technologies.
HR Cloud’s Workmates was built for this exact reason. You do not have to spend $$$ to develop a proprietary platform for rewarding and recognizing employees.
With Workmates, an employee (no matter what the hierarchy) can give a digital ‘Kudos’ to recognize any colleague which can be collected and redeemed for gift cards or other corporate items of ones liking.
Other benefits of using a recognition platform are…
All of the above help boost the morale, inspire teamwork and all-importantly align everyone to work towards common goals and OKRs.
Increase involvement with mentorships
As mentioned before, only some in a team or a firm have the same knowledge and grasping abilities. A mentor can do wonders for those who take a little more than the average time to adapt to new technology.
One-on-one learning or peer-to-peer learning increases your retention rate of new things learnt. Here is a stat for you… "People are 40% more likely to achieve their goals if they write them down. This increases to 70% if the goals are shared with someone to keep them accountable, such as a mentor."
Case: Test Prep Insight
This is a business whose objective is to help people choose the right education. They had started with a one-way mentorship program which could have been a success. But all hope wasn't lost.
They realized that the older generations had a wide range of wisdom to offer whilst the younger ones had advanced skill sets in the technology niche.
Hence, they set up a two-way mentorship program where the young taught the old about technology that they adopted within the organization, and the older ones helped them make the right career decisions.
Darshan Somashekar, who runs products at Cribbage-online.net, similarly involved his team when changing project management systems and this is what he has to say…
“The elders were disciplined but weren’t breaking things when it came to innovation whereas the millennials innovated but weren't sturdy w/t to their goals. Combining both the workforces to mentor each other has resulted in immense wholistic growth”
The successful adoption of new technology in the workplace is essential for businesses to stay competitive and improve their overall efficiency.
By involving employees in the process, providing comprehensive training and support, communicating the benefits, leading by example, and recognizing and rewarding employees who adopt the technology, businesses can ensure that their workforce fully utilizes the technology and reaps its benefits.
HR Cloud aids you with all of the above. Using technology to aid employee wide transformation is its core-competence.
Lastly, always have contingency plans when implementing new technology in a workspace. The question to ask is, 'what if…?'
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Himaan Chatterji (Founder: Perpetualmedia) is a common man by day and a superhuman by night. His true superpower is his ability to orchestrate sweet poetic SaaS justice . He is a firm believer in “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy”