From skeptics, to optimists: why a tailored approach to implementing new tech is critical to engagement

Megan Barbier, VP of Human Resources, Wrike, explains why HOW you choose to implement new tech could be the difference between employee engagement and employee resistance

In today’s digital landscape, its undeniable that technology is playing an ever-increasing role in ‘doing business’. Nowadays, every process and every interaction undertaken within an organisation – regardless of size or sector – is underpinned by technology.

With IT teams taking care of the initial installation process, the real challenge for HR departments has become ensuring that new technologies are accepted across a business. After all, who likes change?

 

Encouraging acceptance

‘Change’ presents a challenge that is rooted in the complexity of human nature, rather than the technical transition itself. At its core, resistance to change is a neurological phenomenon. In fact, as humans, our tendency to avoid change registers in our prefrontal cortex. Though this area of the brain operates nimbly to process multiple threads of logic, it can reach a breaking point when processing change. This is why any new practice, system, or tool can cause feelings of insecurity and unease for many people.

While modern technologies have the ability to relieve administrative pressures, improve working processes, and increase employee productivity, for many organisations – particularly growing ones – the inability to adjust to change can fuel an air of dread and uncertainty amongst staff.

Without proper management in place, new software or systems can actually sink a company’s productivity – resulting in reduced morale, internal backlash, and even the loss of talent.

As a business, employees are your most valuable asset and all of them are unique. As such, every employee will behave differently when faced with technological changes. With change being inevitable, businesses need to manage it at a personal level in order to ensure that each person is able to work with confidence.

 

Getting personal

Every employee will react better to different techniques and, by taking a personalised approach to change, businesses can ensure a smoother transition. Identifying different personality types across a business can help to inform any change management processes and ensure that employees not only accept technological change but are able to thrive in their new environments.

According to recent research, potential personality types include:

  • The Skeptic – The Skeptic is the one who pessimistically asks ‘why?’ Armed with outdated assumptions or irrelevant evidence, skeptics quickly shoot down new tools, ideas, or methods before they are explored. They tell you everything is fine the way it is, even when things aren’t working efficiently and make assumptions and form opinions about things before trying them. But you can win them over. Skeptics need some “skin in the game.” The more the Skeptic feels invested, the more they’ll reserve judgement. If you are able to achieve this, a funny thing starts to happen—the Skeptic becomes a fervent defender of whichever tool you’ve chosen.

 

  • The Eager Beaver – The Eager Beaver enthusiastically sees the value of any new tool right away. However, they also tend to make too many changes before fully understanding how they work or how they’ll impact others, which can cause more harm than good. The key is to use their enthusiasm to get others pumped on the tool and what it makes possible. Businesses need to involve them at the start, like the Skeptic. Sit with them and map out the road to success so they’ll know exactly how an effective roll-out will work. Reviewing the overall strategy and goals will allow them to see how each piece fits into the whole.

 

  • The Free Spirit – The Free Spirit takes a more improvisational approach to life, preferring flexibility and taking things as they come. They chafe with too much process and feel more comfortable with a quick chat. To get Free Spirits on board, give them some autonomy in the tool so they feel a measure of freedom. This does not mean they need access to everything, but a little breathing room at first is ideal and then they can expand from there as they progress. It’s also important to showcase the pain points that come with not having structure. Many times, they may be completely unaware how their actions may be holding up work or making work more difficult for their team.

 

For businesses everywhere, embracing modern ways of working is essential and, although hard to accept, change is undoubtedly going to happen. This is especially true given the speed at which modern technologies are being developed.

By adopting a personalised approach to implementing new technologies, businesses can ensure that they are taking care of their most valuable asset; their employees. Change doesn’t have to be negative, with the right support and guidance, it can be an exciting time for the whole business.

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