Technology Adaptation in the Workplace
Software is always changing, and those changes can increase stress among employees and management. While the changes often promise to increase efficiency, security, and productivity, new software often comes with training sessions, mistakes, incompatibility with current systems and equipment, and other issues. So how can the IT department, Human Resources, Management, and supervisors work together to reduce the stress element when adapting new technologies in the workplace? Following are a few steps that can help increase user adaption and limit the anxiety when introducing new technologies:
- Communication with stakeholders: Communicate frequently and with transparency, and request feedback from managers and team leaders, and eventually to all employees who will use or be affected by the new technology and software. By developing an understanding of the changes and how it will benefit each individual and their team, you are more likely to get the all-important buy-in from employees. Explain in detail the training and adaptation schedule. By letting your employees know what’s in it for them, they will start to accept the changes mentally and emotionally.
- Delegate training and adaptation to team leads, supervisors, and managers who are technologically competent and can communicate effectively. Have these workers try out the new software in real-world situations to make sure any hurdles and challenges with implementation are overcome before introducing the new software and technology to a larger segment of employees. This will reduce aggravation, downtime, and retraining once the bugs are worked out.
- Effective Training Scheduling and Teamwork: Don’t try to have your employees learn the software all in one session. Break it up into several 2 – 4 hour segments to reduce boredom, increase feedback, and allow workers to do what they feel is most important; being productive. Ensure all trainees have a well referenced and written operation manual and all the resources they’ll need for using the new technology and software when they are using it in real-world situations. Creating ‘how-to’ videos and learning modules that can be accessed at anytime is vital to the success of adaption.
- Overcome the ‘Why?” Question: Often employees will be resistant to change because they see nothing wrong with the current system. During training, ensure to showcase how the new technology and software will benefit them, their team, and the overall companies productivity and/or interaction with clients. Create fun challenges where one team uses old tech, and another uses the new tech to showcase how the new technology is better.
- Ask for Feedback and Be Ready to Offer Support: The best adaption of new technology comes with honest reviews of how the systems are working after certain milestones have been reached. Don’t overwhelm with surveys or emails, but send them out as needed and based on the answers. If a large majority of workers are having an issue with a certain aspect of adaption or workflow, this is something that can be addressed in a new learning module or training session. Be proactive and look for signs of challenges and successes. Celebrate the successes and work together to overcome the challenges.