Think about the last big change you experienced. Maybe it was moving to a new city, or changing jobs. Perhaps a major purchase, like a house. How did all of that uncertainty make you feel, and why?
Change. It’s all around us, and we do not like it. It introduces negative emotions like fear and anxiety, and it heightens our perceived risk. Change forces us to abandon routines and go against established neural pathways that have become automatic to us.
Why do people have such a hard time with change?
From the beginning, we are creatures of habit, and our brains are hardwired for what is predictable, familiar, and makes us feel good.
For most of us, change is a process, and it takes time to adjust ingrained perceptions that have become comforting to us. This is where a lot of companies can go wrong when it comes to introducing new technology. They fail to empower employees as partners in change, instead imposing new technology and setting an unrealistic expectation for everybody to “get on board.” As a result, employees are left blindsided, feeling a loss of control and excess uncertainty, which all contribute to resistance.
All that angst in a work environment? It’s no wonder that implementing new technology in the workplace is challenging. That resistance you are noticing among your employees – it’s completely normal – and the good news is, there’s a way to solve it.
A strong technology adoption program empowers employees and helps them cope with change
Technology adoption acknowledges what we know to be true about human behavior and incorporates it into every aspect of user uptake. Empowering employees is all about communication, trust, and flexibility. The technology adoption approach lets your employees know they are valued and gives them a voice amidst all the uncertainty. Here’s how.
It communicates the vision
Part of our resistance to change comes from a place of fear. We are scared of the unknown, and we are scared of things we don’t understand. The best way to address that fear is by sharing information: early, often, and generously. Build awareness about new technology with employees ahead of time. Help people understand the reasons for the change and how it’s going to make their everyday work tasks easier. Communicating the vision early gives employees more time to adjust, and it reduces their fear by making the outcome more predictable.
It demonstrates your trust
Want to know how technology can help your employees work smarter, easier and more efficiently? Ask them. Technology adoption engages all levels of the organization from the very beginning and works with you and your employees to identify needs and goals. Talk to your employees, and listen to them. It shows that you care about their opinions and what matters to them. Above all, it shows your willingness to involve them in decision making and sends the message that they have your trust.
It creates flexibility
Everyone learns in different ways at a different pace, especially when it comes to technology. We all know this instinctively, yet so many education programs continue to focus on cookie-cutter training manuals and boring PowerPoint presentations. Technology adoption recognizes that change happens in stages, and learning is not a discrete or single event. It gives employees options and flexibility so that their training experience matches their learning style and needs. Then, it collects users’ feedback, and incorporates their suggestions into a continuous, iterative learning process. By giving employees a choice about how new technology is delivered to them, they feel more in control and less uneasy about the future.
What would have made your last big change easier for you? Perhaps if you had more information or more time to adjust. Maybe it would have helped if you had more input into the decision. Or, maybe you would have felt a little less anxious if there were options to choose from.
Change. It’s all around us, and we don’t like it, but there’s a lot we can do to make it easier.