Introducing and utilising the latest technology is essential for businesses hoping to create a future-proof workplace. Some employees, however, may be resistant to change and object to new tech completely. Managing resistance to change is one of the biggest challenges that businesses face – especially now as our reliance on tech grows to enable remote working in a Covid-19 world – and must be addressed head-on. Here are 7 ways you can overcome resistance to change, particularly tech change, in the workplace:
1. Anticipate resistance
Before you introduce new technology to your staff, there is to be at least some form of expected resistance. Some employees may resist because they thrive in routine, others may lack confidence in learning new things. Be prepared to allocate some time to ease employee concerns and help them adapt to change. Identifying those that you suspect will struggle beforehand can help you focus on offering extra support, alleviating any major resistance.
2. Identify the root of the resistance
Understanding why some employees are resistant to tech change will help you to soothe any potential issues. More often than not, at the root of resistance is fear of the unknown. An employee may be resistant to using a new system if they fear it will make their role obsolete. Similarly, employees may fear new technology if they’re not sure how to use it.
To avoid such fears, ensure you explain to your employees why you are introducing new technology. Focus on the positives, such as how your new tech will save time that can be spent on more creative work, and reassure staff that full training will be given for how to use the new system.
3. Utilise your middle managers
Ensure you give your middle managers full training on the new tech you are introducing, so that they can support their staff with any minor queries or questions. Encourage your line management team to advocate your new systems too, to help generate positive buzz and reduce resistance to change.
4. Celebrate the small successes
Focus on celebrating the small successes of your team. Gamification elements, such as awarding staff with intranet badges when they complete training on the new system, will help staff take pride in their achievements. Use social tools to share kudos to staff who have embraced change, and @mention individuals who have gone above and beyond. By showing you value and recognise your staff, you can help inspire others to adapt too.
5. Encourage personalisation
To ensure new tech doesn’t feel like a harmful outsider, give your employees the autonomy to personalise their own areas of the system. By empowering staff to build their own custom dashboard, for example, this gives them a sense of ownership, whilst also providing hands-on experience of using the new system. Small changes like this can help ease a transition to a digital workplace and help employees to see tech change as an essential part of a business, not a threat.
6. Connect with other businesses
If possible, ask your tech vendor to connect you with other businesses who have recently – and successfully – managed resistance to change. A first-person account of how a business has benefitted may help the sceptics to see the positives.
7. Communicate openly with employees
One of the most effective ways to manage and prevent resistance to change is to communicate with your employees clearly and regularly. A lack of communication will cause misinformation and confusion to spread, which will only fuel the fear of change. Taking the time to speak to your employees in person will make them feel valued and heard.