How to Manage Resistance to New Technology at the Workplace

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Introduction

Every industry capitalizes on technological tools, systems, and resources to manage its day-to-day operations. Leveraging technology has become crucial in today’s ever-evolving world. Nowadays, employers continuously incorporate the latest technologies such as machines, software, and programs to raise the bar and increase efficiency.

In today’s fast-paced digital realm, integrating cutting-edge technologies is not only inevitable. All the more so, it’s critically important to ensure that organizations stay ahead of the curve in the competitive business landscape. But unfortunately, some employees aren’t fond of technological evolutions to the extent that they resist the idea of incorporating them.

Opposition to change is a natural human reaction since it is uncomfortable and requires new and innovative ways to look at things. Similarly, employers hesitate from accepting technological workplace changes given how it modifies their tasks and activities.

Before we dive into the strategies to overcome resistance, let’s understand why people resist using new technology.

Why Do People Resist Technology?

While technology undoubtedly streamlines business operations, some people are still unwilling to accept it. If you could use one term to describe their resistance, then it’s definitely “fear” – fear of the unknown and making errors.

Since we all are creatures of habits, it becomes challenging for employees to embrace change. Often, employees don’t have the required skillset to leverage new technology. And this poses a threat to the sense of purpose and security in the workplace. However, one cannot deny that change occurs whether people like it or not. Therefore, it’s better to brace for it when it does. Did you know that a KPMG study claims that digital operations will generate 80% of revenue by the year 2022? And that data centres will play a critical role in streamlining digital processes.

Previously, data centers used to be giant, stark buildings covered in secrecy and looming in a far distance. However, today, these buildings have evolved to support new advancements and manage complexities. And therefore, these centers might undergo more digital transformation and continuous innovations to help organizations generate massive revenues.

This significant change in the IT culture gives businesses more reasons to embrace new technological advancements and become more agile.

Five Effective Ways to Ensure the Smooth Integration of Technology at the Workplace

That said, here are some effective ways that can help ensure the smooth integration of technology:

1. Inform in advance

It’s not wise to barge in one day at the workplace and announce the implementation of the latest software and programs. Instead, you must keep the human element in the loop during the planning process.

Before incorporating new technology, sit down with your employees and let them know about it. Communicate to them about the changes, what they can expect in the future, and how they need to roll with these changes.

For instance, you can either send emails, schedule a meeting, or leverage the organization’s communication tools. Also, an internal press release is one of the viable options to outline the goals and how you think the system should be integrated throughout the organization.

2. Listen empathetically and ask for feedback

There isn’t any employee that remains untouched by changes. What may seem a minor system integration for one employee may impact another employee significantly. As a result, the diverse range of emotions you may witness is unpredictable.

As your organization moves along with incorporating new technology, encourage your employees to voice their thoughts. They may feel hesitant to do so since they weren’t optimistic about it initially. However, you need to know what’s working efficiently and what’s not.

Tweaking and constant improvements are essential components of organizational change. Therefore, it’s imperative to have an open line of communication so that honest feedback reaches the ears of those in charge. Not to mention how it will help create a non-judgmental environment where workers can freely speak up. However, ensure to take their input into account, too.

3. Provide training

Most employees resist new technology at the workplace because they are unsure how to use it. Since many employees are not tech-savvy, they can easily get intimidated by new technology.

Therefore, ensure you provide thorough training to make the change successful. However, keep in mind; every individual has a different learning style. So, instead of giving a standard training session, try multiple learning methods.

For instance, the organization must provide resources with images and video for visual learners, whereas, for verbal learners, the employer can offer written instructions.

4. Implement pilot program

Leverage pilot program for a hassle-free and smooth transition to new technology. A pilot program refers to a temporary experiment through which you can determine if the large-scale project will work in your favor. This program may include just a single person or an entire team.

When initiating the pilot program, ensure to appoint champions beforehand – ones who already have some experience with the new technology. These champions will act as the leading evangelist for technological change and share the benefits.

Champions are the advocates of technology who coax employees to let go of the old habits and utilize the new technology to its fullest. These people rally the troops, become a go-to source for the employees, and iron out the issues.

5. Optimize timings

When adopting advanced technology at the workplace, ensure to ask yourself, “is it the right time?” If you have any ambiguities, take a step back and ponder a bit more. Implement modern technology only when you are cent percent sure about it.

If you think the time is right, take it slow and introduce changes gradually. You may feel tempted to introduce technological changes all at once, but you might face strong resistance that way.

Not to forget how employees also need some time to understand the use of technology. Since everyone learns at a different pace, ensure support during these times. Your employees may feel less intimidated and get acclimatized quickly with small doses.

Final Words

Business executives often make changes and pass them down with almost little to no consideration for those most influenced by it. While technological change is often natural, if not carefully monitored, this change can leave detrimental impacts on employees’ performance and morale.

Therefore, even in the most positive and conducive environment, it’s indispensable to understand and address the vast array of human emotions that may evoke during intense transformation periods. More than half of the battle to reduce opposition to technology lies in anticipating resistance and preparing to contend with it.

With the strategies defined above, organizations can lead from an empathetic position where all employees’ concerns get heard. By figuring out the potential issues and coming up with a proper plan to cope with them, you can assist employees in reducing the opposition they initially had.

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