How To Overcome Staff Resistance to New Technologies?

New technologies in management and organization enable business to develop. They help to improve productivity and manageability, to respond faster to the changing situation in the market, to increase sales. Among these technologies is the introduction of digital solutions: CRM, document management systems, project management, Analytics, time tracking software, etc. According to the MIT Sloan Management Review survey, 78% of managers agree that the introduction of new digital technologies is critically important to their organizations.
63% of managers believe that the process of introducing new systems in their organizations is delayed due to staff resistance. Employees don’t always understand how the system will help their work, but the difficulties and additional work on training and getting used to new processes are clearly visible.
Expert in management Michael Mankins gives the following recommendations to overcome staff resistance:

  • Choose technology wisely
  • Choosing a system, determine how suitable it is for your team. In addition to functionality, user-friendliness is important. If the program requires long-term training and education, it is better to reconsider.
    Explain the goals and objectives of the new technology to employees
    The introduction of new technology has a practical purpose. You should demonstrate to your employees what you expect from the new service – managing customer relations, performance evaluation, etc. Also help employees understand how they’ll benefit from the new technology – for example, with the CRM, the sales quota will be achieved faster.

  • Use a personal approach to learning
  • People perceive new technologies differently – some can understand themselves, others need a detailed story and live examples. The training process should reflect those differences. The best practice is to divide staff into groups based on familiarity with the new technology and conduct separate training. The Manager should lead by example and take part in the learning process – this will not only give him the knowledge, but also bring him closer to the team.

  • Get influencers to your side
  • If the team has influential employees, their help will greatly simplify the implementation process. If they use something new their “followers” will be more loyal to innovations as well.

  • Incorporate the new technology into daily use as soon as possible
  • Once staff have been trained and the information system is set up and accepted, its use should not be delayed. For example, if you create an enterprise portal (like Sharepoint), and employees send daily reports, then they should place them on it.

  • Track your first results
  • Draw attention to the results achieved. For example, Sales Department implemented a time tracking software, and now it takes only a minute to submit a request for time off. Prior to that, employees had to submit it personally to the boss, and then to the Personnel Department – which took a lot of time.

  • Gamify learning
  • Gamification makes complex processes easier, turns on the desire to continue. Employees might collect “points” for success in training, active use, interesting suggestions. Scoreboards may also do the trick – employees will compare themselves and compete. Points can be then “converted” to cash or other pleasant benefits to the employee.

Penalties for non-use of the system should be a last resort. It makes sense to apply them only if none of the tools proposed above worked, and ignoring the technology harms the organization. Penalties might be effective, but they also increase discontent from the new: the decision will be perceived as imposed from the outside.