Often the biggest factor in the success of new technology in the workplace is not the technology itself, but its adoption among team members.
Most companies have at least some divergence among employees when it comes to adopting technology. Some can't wait to get their hands on the latest applications, often viewing them not only as productive tools but also as extensions of themselves.
On the other side of the divide are those employees who aren't so eager. They may be less skilled in or comfortable with technology, and in some cases they may even be intimidated by it. As a result, they tend to resist new software and electronic tools that threaten to disrupt their comfort zone. They may also be more inclined to want to know only the parts of an application that help them do their jobs and less inclined to venture beyond their initial training.
As a business owner, however, it's in your best interest to try to bridge this technological divide so that all your associates become more efficient, thereby boosting your organization's profits and value.
There is hope. Despite the techno-cultural differences, most employees do recognize that technology can streamline their jobs. And in many cases, even for the most resistant, new applications eventually become second nature.
For example, sending and receiving data electronically, managing documents without paper and communicating by e-mail all were once cutting-edge technology. Now they are commonplace. As well, many employees on both sides of the technology divide have managed to adopt and adapt to cell phones and, in many cases, now multitask with smart phones.
To help you to bridge the technology gap and improve business success, we suggest following these four steps:
Take a Deep Breath
Be ready to handle technology averse people with a certain degree of patience. You already know who they are. They’re the ones who describe themselves as “technology dinosaurs” and who start to tremble slightly when you mention learning a new application.
So be ready with a dose of tolerance and a list of a few compelling ways the new technology is going to positively affect him or her. Also, know the plan for implementation ahead of time in order to give this person a chance to become comfortable with the process.
After all, not liking change doesn’t necessarily make a person a bad employee.
Communicate Buy-in From the Top Down
To help make embracing technology a company-wide attitude, you must start at the top. Managers and supervisors must communicate their support of the technology to their team members and be willing to allay fears held by those more resistant to change. Team leaders should learn the technology first in order to be able to credibly speak on behalf of the solution.
Make Training a Priority
Employees are much more likely to adopt new technology when they are supported and trained.
Technology training is a priority because it:
- Dramatically reduces the time it takes for employees to be productive on the new system;
- Empowers associates, and
- Leverages the money spent on new software and hardware to make it a success.
Create an environment where all employees, including the most resistant, can be armed with knowledge and eased into accepting new work methods.
Here are six tips to incorporate into your training that can help bring everyone on board when your company wants to make productive use of new technology:
- Make sure your administrative staff understands the technology and its importance to the bottom line and efficiency of the organization.
- Bring all employees together at least once to go over the plan. Explain the reasons for the change and the specific benefits of the technology. Outline your expectations and answer questions clearly and completely.
- Keep training sessions relatively short, 60 to 90 minutes. Focus on narrow topics each time. Give employees time to digest what they've learned and to see how it helps them do their jobs better.
- Try to compartmentalize training without breaking groups into obviously age-differentiated categories. If you are able, identify training needs by skill sets. The more technologically inclined employees can go to one series of sessions and quickly learn all the functions of the new applications. Other sessions can be set up for employees who are less comfortable with technology. Trainers can go more slowly with them, focusing first on just what they need to know to do their jobs. Once they learn that, they can move on to other functions of the applications. Let them learn at their own pace.
- Recognize that some employees may need individual training. For one thing, they may feel their questions are uninformed and balk at asking them in front of colleagues. Or, some may be so slow at grasping the technology they hold the others back. Consider letting some of the skilled employees coach the others. Carefully select and train those you want to be coaches and follow up throughout the process. This type of mentoring not only lets the resistant employees learn in a more comfortable environment, it also gives the coaches some practical experience.
- Encourage employees unfamiliar with using new technology to reach out to their more skilled colleagues to learn how to best integrate the new practices into their daily routines. And encourage the skilled employees to be receptive to requests for help.
Partner with a Technology Company that Provides Turn-Key Services
Some companies just sell software. Some only have the resources to install the solution, leaving you to tweak the system or select and integrate third-party solutions on your own.
Partner with a technology company that is willing to get to know your business first before ever delivering the sales pitch. This will help to ensure you end up with the right solution for your organization.
Also, make sure this company not only sells the software, but also has the expertise to implement, support, train on, and even customize the solution you select. This dramatically improves team member adoption and equates to technology success.
About LBMC Technology Solutions
LBMC Technology Solutions is a full-service technology consulting company that translates business needs into technology solutions that enable companies to improve productivity, reduce complexity, and save time and money. LBMC Technology Solutions employs a collaborative approach to support its clients’ business needs as well as provide the appropriate training and project management to make certain these benefits are rapidly realized.
Contact LBMC Technology Solutions to learn more about growing your company with successful technology.