We’ve all been there, excitement tinged with fear, when we’re introducing new technology into the workplace. On the one hand, it’s about all the future possibilities, and how it’ll make your employees and customers happy. On the other, it’s the dark feelings that can haunt sleepless nights. So, how do you avoid delays, being over cautious or it all going horribly wrong?
When you’re introducing any new technology into a workplace, there are some legitimate concerns. These vary depending on whether it’s a custom or off the shelf solution. Having introduced both, I can share that at times it’s kept me up at night. Will it perform? Will users be able to do what they need to do? How will they react to change? Is anything missing? If it doesn’t work, what will happen? What drives me forward is the belief that it will be transformative, it will make a difference.
Many struggle with getting the best of out of technology. Our guide, Business Technology: Essential Guide to Best Use, will help you create a robust process to ensure your new tech achieves your aims.
Understanding how people respond to change can help avoid some of the pitfalls. Major change will result in a mix of fear and excitement. Knowing the stages of denial, resistance, discovery, and acceptance can help when introducing new technology in the workplace. There are also some dynamics, where excitement or fear can drive group behaviour which can help or hinder.
Denial & Resistance
If you’ve a vested interest in the status quo, you’re not going to give that up easily. That could be the power of being the go-to person, or your investment in skills and knowledge. For some it can feel like going back to the start again. It could be fears of not being able to learn quickly enough and job security. Push back might be political, vocal, or passive aggressive.
As a leader you want to avoid getting into this situation. Chances are, you’re introducing new technology into the workplace to sustain the business future. It might be a response to changing needs or expectations, or for growth. The key is sharing this information and getting everyone involved as early as possible. Then instead of imposing technology, you’re all working together as a team to create a better future.
Listening to concerns is important so that people feel heard and understood. People’s concerns are also a chance to avoid overlooking anything. The worst thing is missing something avoidable if only you’d listened to concerns!
Discovery is when people start to get excited of what’s possible. This is also where things can get out of hand, and you can lose control of the technology. Rather than focusing on the desired outcome, it creatively goes in different directions. The thing to remember, not all ideas should be actioned, there needs to be a filter. When you introduce new technology into the workplace you need to guard against it becoming a playground!
You can create a small focus group to identify the best approach, document and have a controlled rollout. It’s not set in stone, you want the ideas, but you want to control priorities and make sure it will deliver the best outcome. It’s best to have a separate area for developing ideas, well away from production!
If you managed the change and worked through how people will transition to the new solution, then you can sleep well. If people have accepted a poor solution, then it’s harder work, because of the loss of trust and confidence.
At every stage of the process, always keep the outcome in mind. Before you reach the conclusion, make sure everyone can achieve their goals efficiently.