Is your team resistant to change? If so, you're not alone.
New technology has led to a wide range of benefits — from saving money to saving time. But it's almost never introduced without either serious planning or some resistance.
Yet new technologies are often the best way for a company to gain a competitive edge or improve productivity.
Adopting the latest new devices, software, and processes before others in your field can improve profits and improve brand perception.
So how can you implement and take advantage of new technologies while minimizing resistance to change?
Know Your Audience: Who Will Need To Be Convinced?
In most cases, there are two different audiences that need to be persuaded before a new technology can be successfully implemented.
Decision Makers: The first group are those who control the company's resources.
New technologies typically require both time and money to implement — that means buy-in from key decision makers will be an essential part of successfully implementing any new technology or process. Influencers and champions of the new tech can often help sway decision-makers who are resistant to change.
Public endorsement of a new program by top level management can also help convince the next group: the end users.
End Users: This is the other group that will need to be persuaded. End users are those employees who will using and wil be directly affected by the new technology or process on a day-to-day basis.
New technology often requires learning new skills and coming to understand new processes. Since these users will be the ones actually expected to change, it's important that they are on board whenever a new technology is implemented. If the end users never get on board, or are forced on board, you could end up in a worse situation than where you started.
Understanding the Value: What's In It For Them?
The key to getting both of these groups on board is to understand what's in it for them (WITFT) and to make sure that information is shared.
All too often a new technology is implemented because it will benefit "the company"; but in the process, it may make the lives of the end users more difficult, even if for no other reason than that they have to learn something new.
Make sure if your team is going to have to learn something, they're also going to gain something — and that you communicate that gain clearly to everyone involved.
The more visible the costs (whether financial, just inconvenience, or the need to learn a new skill), the less incentive users will have to use your new technology or idea. So the more visible the costs, the more important that you make the benefits and rewards of this new "thing" clear to everyone involved.
Some benefits valued by end users include:
- Added influence over work (new decision making power, specifically)
- Increased value of work (keep this directly relevant to your audience)
- Greater recognition (feel free to offer incentives for early adoption!)
- Solves long-standing issues
- Eliminates redundant, boring, or excessive tasks
An Example: Making The Switch to Mobile Forms
For example, when one of our customers switched from paper forms to Device Magic mobile forms a few months ago, he saw an average savings of $5 per submitted form. Over about four months, that quickly added up to over $17,000 dollars! That's some major ROI in the eyes of decision makers.
But end users — in this case, safety inspectors — aren't directly impacted by that savings; they might not care that the change in their day-to-day lives allowed the company to save $17K.
The key benefit for those safety inspectors was how much time they saved by using mobile forms. They no longer had to fill out paperwork at the job site and snap pictures, then return to the office to re-input that data and upload images.
Instead, everything was handled directly from the field, all at once. That meant they could get more done in less time, and eliminate one of the most boring parts of their day: dealing with all that paperwork.
Have you dealt with resistance to new technology in your organization? Or, experienced a win for your organization or end users by implementing new technology? Leave a comment and share your story.