You have spent months, maybe even years, researching, determining and introducing a new technology or software into your business. New technology and tools can increase productivity, boost sales, and help you make better, faster decisions for your organisation. While you are probably aware of the many benefits bringing a new technology into the company, you may not be aware of the challenge that often lies ahead: getting your employees on board.
It’s no secret that people like routine. It’s comfortable, gives people direction and requires minimal thought. This can make it challenging to get employees to embrace new technology, but it doesn’t have to be.
As well, there is currently a huge focus on user experience and intuitive interfaces. While this may be common among every day apps and simple software, enterprise software is often complex because of the complex functions it is required to perform. It is not uncommon for staff to expect enterprise software to be as easy to learn as the app they downloaded earlier that day. Unfortunately, the more complex the functions the more there is to learn.
With all this in mind, we have put together a list of actions you can take to enable a smooth transition and inspire your staff to embrace the new change.
- Start with people
In some companies, roles can often be quite segregated from one another which can leave staff unaware to how each role impacts another. If the new software doesn’t necessarily improve one person’s role, it can be hard for them to understand the benefits of introducing and learning this new technology. By illustrating the bigger picture and how the software will impact each role and in turn, the company, employees are more likely to embrace it.
- Get staff involved from day 1
Since it is your staff that will be using the new software, it makes a lot of sense to get them involved in the journey early on. Perhaps start with a list of wants and must-haves to help you in your selection. Once you have narrowed the choice down to a couple, have your staff trial the software and give you feedback on the pros and cons. Staff will appreciate being listened to and having input into the new software they will be using on a daily basis.
- State your case
It might sound simple, but informing your staff of the reasons why you are looking to introduce new technology and how it is going to improve their jobs is often overlooked. The word “because” is surprisingly very powerful.
- Create a culture of change
By creating a culture of change well before you intent to implement any major changes is a great way for staff to develop comfort and familiarity with change. Businesses that have tended more toward routine than innovation start to shift towards a more digitally transformative approach, often find they must fight hard to frame change in a positive light.
- Don’t permit negative attitudes
Some people are inclined to express negativity towards any change, usually out of fear and stubbornness. But tolerating any negativity will only permit the negativity to continue and risk it influencing other employees. Nip it in the bud and firmly communicate that only positive attitudes are acceptable.
- Training to suit every level
As well as employees most likely using the software differently to each other according to their role, they are also likely to have different levels of confidence and experience with technology. Some people will be very comfortable with technology and be able to pick up new software easily. Others may need a little extra attention and require a different style of learning. Therefore it is a really good idea to offer training in a range of formats, whether it is one on one, group class room, or via webinar for example. Follow up with staff to find out if they would like some additional training to help them with learning the new technology.
- Adopt ambassadors
Identify the staff in your office who pick up technology easily, as well as those employees who are seen as influencers in the office. Assign this group of people as your technology ambassadors. Their role is to speak positively about the new technology and assist colleagues who made need some extra help. This means they should be well trained and confident in using the new technology, so you may want to train them before anyone else. Having ‘go-to’ people in the office to answer any questions will make other staff feel more comfortable, and less fearful of the company’s new software.
- Encourage regular use early on
Once the new technology has been introduced and staff have been trained on how to use it, continue the momentum by giving employees regular tasks that require use of the new software. For example, ask for weekly or even daily reports using the new software; or rather than having all your data automatically migrated into the system, keep some aside for staff to enter in manually so they’re familiar with the process for use in the future.
- Acknowledge all wins and make it fun
Positive reinforcement is much more effective than disciplinary action. Taking the time to recognise employees’ efforts and even small successes can go a very long way. That isn’t to say money needs to be involved, here are some ideas to get you thinking outside the box and make learning mundane software a little more fun. And never underestimate the happiness a simple verbal or written acknowledgement can bring.
- Consider penalties
Before penalising staff, contemplate making it harder for them to use their old methods, such as removing access to old software. If then you are still having challenges with staff adopting new processes, you may wish to consider some sort of penalty. Staff refusing to get on board with new technology and new processes can not only affect the work of other staff but hurt your bottom line. For example, you could refuse to acknowledge any work that was performed without the use of the new software. However it is important to keep in mind that punishment for lack of use will reinforce the idea that the new software is difficult and inconvenient.
Introducing new technology doesn’t have to be hard, but it does require effort, as do most changes. In addition to the obvious benefits of successfully introducing a new software into the office, it is worth noting that companies who are supportive of such innovation and change, find it easier to introduce additional changes in the future and encourage an innovative and creative environment.