Too often, companies introduce a new technology or software without helping employees adapt or teaching them how to use these new tools effectively for their jobs. But there are ways you can ensure a smoother transition and early adoption of these tools.
1. Understand Your Context First
If you need to introduce new technology or software to your team, it’s important to understand how well your team will adapt to these new tools and how much they might welcome or resist any changes before you implement them. You need to evaluate what is already being used and why, as well as what works about it and what doesn’t. What are employees’ current needs? Barriers? What might employees need to be able to do in 5 years time? 10 years time?
2. Consult With Employees
It’s helpful to have team leaders consult with employees to establish how their teams are using the various tools available to them, what they like and dislike about those tools and how resistant or enthusiastic they may be about a change. In this process, you may find that teams are using the old technology or software in a specific way and the new tool you were considering actually doesn’t provide this. An easy option is to send out a short survey via email. Showing employees that you’re considering their needs and opinions will put them on your side.
3. Clarify the Benefits
Too often, employees have new tools thrust on them without understanding what the benefits of those new tools are to their jobs. They may be given a rundown of the specs, but it’s often unclear how the new tool will help them or the organization moving forward. Ensure that rather than only focusing on the features of the tool (e.g., what it does), any training or introduction to the tool focuses on why it’s of benefit to employees (i.e., explain why they should care and how it helps make their lives and jobs easier). If you’ve examined your context carefully, the new tool should meet the needs of employees; it shouldn’t have to be a “hard sell,” as the tool will be a natural fit. Focusing on the benefits will help overcome any natural resistance to having to adjust to a new tool.
4. Engage Technology “Champions”
You may already know or have identified employees who get excited about new technology or software. These are likely to be your early adopters, and they can become your “champions.” If you can get these “champions” on board (and it’s important this group includes leadership), it will be easier to help other employees understand the benefits and help them to adjust. A slower roll out of the technology, too, starting with this core group of “champions” will likely lead to an easier switchover in the long run.
5. Ensure Support is in Place
To transition effectively, it’s vital to have sufficient support in place for employees – and that may include providing additional time for them to adjust. Is there a central support person they can turn to with questions? Sufficient, accessible training that fits their schedules? Do they know who the “champions” are who can help them if they get stuck? Is ongoing training and support supplied and encouraged? These are also important questions to think about before you purchase new software or technology.
6. Solicit Feedback
Finally, if it’s not working, you need to know, and know quickly. Check in with team leaders and employees early on to see how the transition is going. Hopefully, if you’ve done your homework, you should be seeing positive results, but if you’ve given it some time and the feedback is that it’s not working (and you know this is not just feedback from one or two change-resistant employees), then you need to go back to the drawing board and look for alternate solutions.
Following these steps can help your organization and your employees adopt and adapt to new technologies and software and more successfully navigate change.
Learn more about why being technology agnostic can also help in this related post.