Ensuring engagement is the key to maximizing technological ROI
Technology is evolving at its fastest ever rate. Developments such as the internet, email, and instant messaging revolutionized the way in which companies communicate and do business. Such advances have also changed the customer environment. Today, people can do all their shopping from the comfort of their armchair.
Now, artificial intelligence (AI) promises to completely change the way in which organizations operate. A massive shakeup of commerce is on its way, and business leaders will need to understand how to overcome resistance to change in an organization in which technology is the new heartbeat.
Why organizations deploy new technologies
New technology can improve productivity while simultaneously reducing costs. But new software and technological hardware almost always requires the workforce to adopt new procedures. If your people don’t adopt the required working practices, the benefits of your new technology will not transpire. And technological change is one of the most contentious changes an organization can make: resistance is almost always high.
Why are employees so resistant to technological change?
There are several reasons why employees are resistant to technological change, including:
- Low perceptions of the usefulness of the new technology
- Attitude to new practices that replace the ‘tried and trusted’
- Disagreement with the change, with the belief that the IT department doesn’t understand the needs of the business
- Low perceptions of the ease of use of the new technology
- Lack of understanding of the value of the new technology
- Poor timing of the change project
Strategies to overcome resistance to change
When planning technological change, it is imperative that you strategize to overcome resistance that may emerge. You will need to understand the emotional response of your employees toward planned change, and how to overcome resistance by educating, motivating, and coaching.
By taking an approach that involves and engages employees in the adoption of new technology, your organization should break down barriers and crush the misperceptions that are often sewn by poor change leadership and cultivated at the water cooler. Here are four strategies to change leadership strategy when introducing new technology.
Communication is key at all stages of technological change – before, during, and after. Identify your objectives, the technology needed, and the new processes that will be required to use the new technology. Provide as much information as possible and formulate a plan for lines of communication.
To increase awareness of the benefits of the new technology and the change project:
I. First, establish a culture of change
II. Ensure that senior executives and managers lead change by influencing change
III. Make certain that people understand the change, why it is being made, and its consequences
IV. Let people know what isn’t changing as well as what is
2. Engage employees in the change
Encourage your employees to become involved in the change project as early as possible. Ask for their opinions and input, and take notice of what they say; after all, they are on the front line, and will be the ones expected to use the new technology.
Incorporating some of their ideas in the solution will reinforce that their concerns are being listened to, and that their knowledge and experience is considered as important to the success of the new technology.
3. Project timing
Minimize operational impact by implementing technological change at a time which will cause the least disruption. You may need to consider implementation by stages, and dual running. This will help to underline the benefits of the new technology, while ironing out issues that may be encountered – using the feedback and input of employees, of course.
Such a roll-out strategy also paves the way for employees to onboard the new technology with milestone training programs.
4. Training and coaching
Effective training and coaching must be provided, along with sufficient support and resources. Changing processes that may have been in place for years is not an easy task – it requires patience, and time must be provided to allow employees to recap on new functions.
The method of training given, the resources provided, leadership attitudes toward coaching, and the time released to employees to onboard the new technology will have positive impacts on the resistance to change, and help to ensure that the new technology reaches it full potential as your organization realizes maximum return on investment.
To discover how a Change Agent Bootcamp and coaching in consulting and facilitating will help your organization and leaders produce lasting change and embrace generational diversity, contact Forward Focus today.