Introducing new tech to your business—and your employees—can be difficult. There’s a wide range of potential problems that can arise, especially if you’re not adequately prepared for what might go wrong. However, for every potential problem, there are solutions, and there’s a lot you can do to pave the way for new technology, and make the transition smoother for everyone.
1. Involve Employees in Decision-Making
Many companies make the mistake of introducing new tech without considering whether it’s actually fit for the purpose they plan to put it to. One reason why this happens is that managers fail to consult with the employees who will actually use whatever tech they introduce. The worst-case scenario is that you end up forcing staff to make do with software or tools that aren’t quite right for the purpose—potentially wasting money, and perhaps even making staff less productive instead of more.
Instead, when you plan to introduce new tech or make process changes, make sure to involve employees in the decision-making whenever it’s possible to do so. When you plan to upgrade software, hardware or other equipment, or make process changes, determine which employees will be affected and make a point of asking for their feedback. In short, consult the people whose work will be directly affected.
2. Keep Everyone in the Loop
Introducing new tech is always more manageable when employees are kept in the loop about what’s going on – especially in situations where some employees are resistant to change. Keeping them informed goes a long way towards easing any discomfort they might have.
One reason for this is that if your staff doesn’t have access to accurate information, rumours are likely to creep in and fill in the gaps with half-truths and inaccuracies. When employees don’t know what’s going on, they’re more likely to feel anxious about any upcoming changes. And, any fears they might have will only serve as more grist for the rumour mill. In the end, keeping your staff in the dark can create an atmosphere of distrust, and make it harder for them to adapt to any new technology you introduce.
The solution is simple: be transparent about what changes you’re making, and why you’re making them. Use the opportunity to get people excited about the changes you’re introducing. Make sure everyone knows how the new tech will benefit them, as well as the company.
3. Choose Some Champions
When you’re making big changes in the workplace, it can be helpful to appoint one or more “champions”—people who are selected for their enthusiasm about the new tech or the changes you’re making. Choose people who are genuinely enthusiastic about the new tech, and give them a briefing session so that they’re fully apprised of all the benefits of the new tech, and the process by which it will be implemented. Then, give them the task of helping their workmates get excited about it too.
4. Provide Adequate Training
New tech isn’t necessarily user-friendly, but even when it is, a smooth introduction isn’t guaranteed. Whatever new tech you plan to adopt, be sure to provide training or education sessions. This is vital for ensuring that employees are both well-informed and willing to adapt to whatever changes you make. Without adequate training, at least some new users will end up frustrated and sceptical about the benefits of any new tech you introduce.
By providing training, you’ll help get people engaged with the new tech, and motivated to use it. Make sure training focuses not just on how to use the new tech, but on why it’s being introduced, and how it will benefit users.
Make sure to also provide documentation that people can refer to as needed. A training manual and an FAQ can help prevent false information being circulated, and avoid future misunderstandings.
5. Listen to User Feedback
Information and training definitely help you introduce new tech successfully, but can’t 100% guarantee that everything will go according to plan. In the first days and weeks of introduction, make sure to solicit feedback from users, and listen closely to what they have to say. Typically problems fall into one of two categories: problems with the tech itself, and how it works; and user problems, meaning some people may have issues with learning how to use it.
Consider holding post-introduction evaluation sessions, so that everyone gets the opportunity to talk about their experience with the new tech. Or, provide users with evaluation forms so they can go into detail about any problems they’re having.
Above all, keep the lines of communication open. Even if the implementation isn’t as smooth as you planned, open and honest communication between managers and staff will help ensure that everyone is willing and able to adapt.
Tired of the tech you’re using? Get in touch with ACUTEC today to discuss the best options for you.