ADAPTING TO NEW TECHNOLOGY IS NECESSARY TO MEET DEMAND, IMPROVE EFFICIENCY, AND DRIVE GROWTH—BUT WITH IMPLEMENTATION COMES CHALLENGES.
If your organization is like most, you put an enormous amount of energy and money into major software updates and technology changeovers. Typically though, not nearly enough attention is put toward planning and allowing room for adaptation to change. This can lead to problems that run deeper than a technology glitch.
Imagine the following scenario. After a technology rollout, management unrealistically expects to see improvement immediately. When there are more snags than progress, leaders become impatient and shift blame. New tech was brought in, promising improvement—but the people were left out of the equation. Everyone feels disheartened and disappointed. In this case, the problem wasn’t the technology or the people; it was the implementation process.
Fortunately, this is avoidable. Smart leaders put people first and protect the positive culture they’ve worked so hard to cultivate. Any productivity or efficiency leaps that you were hoping for won’t be fully realized if you’re left with a workforce that’s frustrated and frazzled. Since technological infrastructure profoundly affects company culture, the strategy driving this big change (as with any change) should include a plan for employee adaptation and provide ample opportunity for feedback and collaboration.
THE NATURE OF A NEW TECHNOLOGY TRANSITION
Organizations implement new IT systems, custom software, and comprehensive SaaS platforms to help operations run smoother, improve efficiency, increase production, boost sales, and keep up with the competition.
While this change may be good for the company and necessary for growth, it can be hard for employees. People become accustomed to a way of doing things. Change can create anxiety and lead to resistance—especially when the change directly affects how they do their job.
Willingness and ability to adapt to technology varies from person to person and from department to department—this fact should not be brushed aside or underestimated.
Employees know that change is inevitable in the ever-evolving business world, but when management fails to ask for their input, opinions, or concerns—they feel disrespected. It sends the signal that their skills and experience don’t matter to those instigating the change.
Unless it’s clearly communicated, employees may not fully understand the vision driving the change or how the transition will play out. If you want your business to move forward, you have to help your team move forward, too.
HOW TO HELP EMPLOYEES ADAPT TO NEW TECHNOLOGY
Here are three ways that you can help smooth the transition for your company.
1. Showcase the Benefits
An effective way to deal with change is to demonstrate how the new technology will improve job efficiency and make everyone’s job better—not just for management, but employees as well.
This is where early adopters can help. Invest the time to get a few employees fully trained so they can demonstrate how the new technology makes things better in a real situation. Rather than a generic expert demo, this is more likely to lead to greater adoption and enthusiasm—even for those who may have been somewhat skeptical.
For tips on helping employees adapt, read 5 Ways to Help Your Team Adapt to New Technology by INVID, a leading software development provider, and The Shock of the New: Helping Employees Adapt to New Technologies by eFront e-Learning, a leading technology vendor.
2. Give Employees Ownership and Ask for Feedback
Your organization is a team with a common aim, which is why feedback and collaboration are key. Hand some of the ownership to your employees—let them try out the technology, offer feedback, and work out ways to maximize it for their benefit.
Encourage self-directed exploration. At a reasonable pace and in their own way, allow them time to explore the technology and find features that might help them in their specific roles. It’s important that no one is left behind—especially longer-serving employees who are strongly committed to the existing systems. Work with them to discover helpful ways to adapt to the change.
Keep in mind that working together means staying open to ideas. Management needs to be prepared for both positive and negative feedback—and willing to make adjustments.
3. Make Training Enjoyable
If you plan carefully and deliver your training in an engaging way, you’ll find that adoption and adaptation will go more smoothly.
Here are some ways to make training more effective and enjoyable:
Keep it relevant. Show people specifically how this can improve their work.
Accommodate different learning styles. Include both demos and hands-on opportunities.
Offer a change of scenery. Allow people to get away from their usual workspace. Make it special.
Incorporate fun and food. Make it interactive, leave room for socialization—and food never hurts.
RECOGNIZE WHEN ASSISTANCE IS NECESSARY
Making a major technology change isn’t easy. You may have spent valuable time and energy laboring over which technology to pursue and outlining the deployment. Just don’t forget about bringing employees along on the journey.
As we’ve seen with the considerations mentioned, planning for implementation may require more time in the initial stages—but you’ll be likely to experience smooth sailing more quickly. And better still, your culture won’t take a negative hit in the process.
If guiding your company single-handedly through a significant technological changeover sounds overwhelming, consider enlisting a team of experts to help facilitate the adjustment. To find out more about what we do and how ORG partners with organizations to ease through transitions, tell us about your needs by completing this form.
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When the way you’re working isn’t working, ORG can help. By fostering collaboration, boosting engagement, aligning goals, and implementing sustainable change, we can increase performance by two to three times your current goal—or more. Ready to work together?