News & Views

How to Deal with Employee Resistance to Technological Change

by John Lane - Jun 13, 2018

Human beings, by and large, are resistant to change. In a lot of ways, we can't help it —  science has revealed that it's literally a part of our evolution. Generally speaking, the brain doesn't like uncertainty because anything uncertain is instinctively perceived as a potential threat. This is certainly true in our personal lives, where even something as seemingly simple as buying a new car can become an overly long and involved process. But it is especially true in our professional lives when you're talking about the technological foundation that is at the heart of any modern day business.

 

But in that particular context, change is often a very good thing, indeed. Technology has changed immeasurably even during the last decade and for the most part, it's brought with it a huge number of gains that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. The cloud has made it possible for businesses to embrace mobility. It's empowered communication. It's created a drive that almost guarantees innovation, allowing employees to work smarter, not harder every day.

 

But getting those employees to actually believe that is often, sadly, another matter altogether.

 

Many company leaders are battling with a major resistance to change from their employees, which is sadly one of the major things holding many organisations back.

 

If you really want to deal with a resistance to change and embrace the genuine IT strategy you were meant to have, you'll want to keep a few key things in mind.

 

 

Use Culture to Inspire Change

 

Many people don't realise that successful change management has less to do with the technology itself and more to do with the culture you've built around it. If your environment is one where open-mindedness is encouraged and agility and adaptability have always been priorities, you'll absolutely find that this bleeds through into your larger technology strategy.

 

If those things have never been high on your list of principles while building your business on, you've arrived at the number one reason why your employees are so resistant to technological change in the first place.

 

Simply put, you need to promote the fact that disruption doesn't have to be a dirty word and change is often a very, very good thing. Be open to failure during this time. Accept that it's going to happen but also realise that it's also the best kind of learning opportunity, too. 

 

 

Manage Change from the Top Down

 

Equally important when it comes to dealing with change management is your ability to get executive buy-in as early in the process as possible. The type of adjustment to your tech strategy that you're talking about is probably a significant one, which is why you need to not only have support from all top executives but also have them lead by example.

 

If they're willing to make this leap and they make these feelings known publicly, everyone working beneath them will be far more likely to do the same. 

 

 

Help Employees Understand the Need for Change

 

Along the same lines, you need to realise that technological change —  no matter how small — affects your employees more than it will anyone else. Because of that, you need to involve them in all parts of the process if you want them to get onboard.

 

Communicate all of your plans and your larger vision to your workforce as clearly and as concisely as possible. Encourage participation. Welcome their opinions; they should feel like they can share them without fear of retribution.

 

Remember that technological change depends on collaboration and if you really want to get the ball rolling, you have to involve those who are affected the most.

 

 

Get Ready for Change Through Training & Education

 

Likewise, remember that part of the reason why your employees are resistant to change ultimately comes down to the perceived learning curve that will come with it. They're going to have to spend a lot of time figuring things out, learning how to adapt, learning new systems, and making mistakes.

 

The key here is to lean into this fact and support them however you can.

 

If you want to guarantee that your workforce is equipped with the knowledge to operate with new technology, you need to do what you can to give it to them. That means investing in training and education, effective immediately. 

 

 

Effective Change Is All About Timing

 

Finally, you need to remember the old saying that "Rome wasn't built in a day”. Progress, especially when it comes to technology, is often slow. Trying to rush things along is only going to take what is a small problem today and make it a much larger one tomorrow. 

 

Do not rush the process of technological change. Let it operate at the exact speed that it needs to. Let people take the time they need to get comfortable with what you're trying to do and, rest assured, they will. 

 

 

Powernet: Your IT Change Management Partner

 

At Powernet, we believe that technology is just a tool — the tool itself matters less than the willingness of your employees to actually use it. This is why, in terms of superior and more organic change management, many companies choose to partner with a managed services provider in the first place. It helps to guarantee that your employees have access to everything they need to accomplish the most important goal of all: helping you accomplish yours.

 

If you'd like to find out more information about how to deal with a resistance to technological change, or if you'd just like to speak to someone about your own needs in a little more detail, please don't delay - contact Powernet today. 

TAGS: it strategy, Change management, employee engagement, IT systems, culture, employee satisfaction, employees