“People don’t resist change. They resist being changed.”
― Peter Senge
This quote probably sums up the average person’s view on change. We love new products that come into our lives and make things easier, better or even just more enjoyable. People stand in line for hours to get the latest and greatest tech all the time. From conventions to car shows, the latest designs and future trends are revealed to eager crowds. In fact, if you look at consumer’s adoption of new inventions over the last century you’ll find that we embrace new technology rather quickly. When a new product makes our life easier and more streamlined the only obstacles are accessibility and affordability. Consumer products like the car, washing machine, microwave, home telephone, television, and mobile device brought excitement not dread to the public.
So why is it that businesses have such a difficult time adopting new technology?
Inherently, new technology changes the way we do things. And that’s the point. When a business introduces a new app, CRM, software platform or even a new coding language, the employees have to adapt and learn a new way to do things. So many times, the rollout of new tech comes with a subtle message that the way you were doing things before was wrong. What businesses have yet to learn from advertising and American consumerism is that no one wants to be told what they are doing is wrong. Consumers are hardly ever pitched a product in that way. The pitch usually comes with the messaging that here is this product that will make your life easier and better than you ever imagined – don’t you want and need it? And it works – who can resist that?
However, corporations mandate the adoption of new strategies and technologies in order to achieve compliance. This is natural and only makes sense, especially in large organizations. But what if there was a better way to start? If the internal strategy started from a messaging point that stressed “this is going to make your job easier” and not “you have to do this” would the adoption and more importantly the utilization of new technology be more successful and less painful?
We know, you’ve tried this. There’s always that one person in the department who have done it their way forever and is resisting using the new system at all cost. And you may never have a perfect rollout but there are strategies to making tech adoption less painful.
1. Get the team excited before the rollout.
This can be done through emails, word of mouth, teaser videos, showing little bits of the tech or sharing some convincing testimonials from other users or competitors. No one wants to be the last one on the boat. Getting everyone talking about it beforehand will build enthusiasm. But be careful to keep expectations realistic. Don’t over-promise.
2. Start the rollout with a beta team
Instead of mass distribution to the whole company, start small. This will enable you to refine how the rollout happens, detect any bugs or areas that need to be addressed and get valuable feedback from the beta team. How long the beta phase lasts can depend on how easily the team adopts the new tech.
3. Make sure you have the training and support you need.
We all know technology support is important. Go beyond just making sure you have a support phone number or attending that first training workshop. Ask for a FAQs sheet and know where to access the information you need for your team. More importantly, have someone on your team within your company that can serve as a go-to person for questions. Consider having an internal workshop where more tech-savvy employees can show how they are using the new system.
4. Monitor the utilization
This is all about follow up. If you are introducing something new to your team, you have to keep tabs on how efficiently everyone is using it. Make sure there is some easy to use way to track your team’s progress. This will allow you to see who is having success and who may still be struggling. Managers can then jump in and make adjustments and offer help and support to those who need it. If there is a real utilization problem, it could be time for a different approach to training.
5. Ask for feedback.
Yes, we know sometimes we just don’t want to hear the complaints from that one person again. However, if you ask the right questions you can build confidence and trust. Surveys and feedback forms that ask both positive and negative questions have a better chance of getting thoughtful answers and leading to a more clear picture of your adoption. For example,
“What do you like most about the new system or product?” or “What feature has made your job easier?” should be followed by “What are you still having trouble with?” or “What can we do better?” Not only do you get a more complete picture from the employee but the employee has been given a chance to think about the positive things the new technology has brought. Honest, unadulterated feedback is really the cornerstone of a successful solution. Remember that with every ounce of feedback only makes your solution better and to not take it to heart.
Change and user adoption doesn’t have to be a pain even in the corporate world. We should be approaching new technology with the same excitement at work as we have in our personal life. Modifying the framework at the beginning can help your employees embrace new technology and discover how it can make their lives easier, better and yes more enjoyable.
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