Haven’t we seen it all the time: Organization spending millions of dollars and time implementing new technology, only to find it gather dust shortly after it goes live? Nowadays, this trend has grown into a critical challenge for many organizations because today when it comes to technology and its impact on corporate transformation investment is not an issue, but how to get employees adopt that technology.
As it is obvious that with any new technology, productivity goes up then why does the same smart, competent, usually motivated people are so reluctant to adopt new technology? As Eckhart Tolle said “The greatest achievement of humanity is not its works of art, science, or technology, but the recognition of its own dysfunction.”
To fix this dysfunction, we present you with few barriers or risks that hinder the adoption of new technology in an organization.
Why Leadership Support for innovation matter?
There are several movies and books based on the life of Steve Jobs, although different in presentation but one thing they all had in common was that Jobs was a master at getting people excited about new technology. Similarly, when influential people start to set out a vision for their organization, they make that vision seem attainable. Naturally change is difficult for people and even more so if there is no support. However, when a leader approves new technology, models new behaviors and gives acceptance for training and supports the change, the opposite happens and people begin to buy-in.
Resistance to learn new technology
People get accustomed to habits and it is their second nature to adapt to platforms they have grown thriving. And if we contemplate the speed at which technology is transforming, it can be hard every now and then, to keep a broad mind about change—and even harder to put in efforts to adapt such habits into everyday life. There can be various reasons for resistance to a new technology such as ambiguity—when people are not aware of the reason for this profound change, it can trigger negative emotions; when the proposed workers are not consulted about the change in advance, and it is offered to them as an accomplished statistic. People like to know what's happening, especially if their jobs are going to be affected. They also resist change when it threatens to modify established patterns of working relationships between people. Bring your own device (BYOD) is gaining prominence at workplaces around the globe but it faced with stiff resistance because users are not clear about its application and how it is going to enrich their experience.
In such situations, a manager can jeopardize the situation by considering the resistance of his employees an unreasonable clinging to comfort-zone rather than understanding the gravity of the issue. They need to understand that resistance does not disappear with time but ferments and grows into disruption at far ahead stages when resources get depleted.
When people don’t want to move away from their comfort zone
Isn’t it natural to confront fear of losing productivity due to getting engaged in doing something else out of your comfort zone? This fear of going sideways is a major disruption causing loss in productivity and missed opportunities. It is normal for people to get anxious when they are trying their hands at something new, and during the course they may try to evade the situation altogether. This in turn leads to reluctance in avoiding compatibility with legacy systems. Countless organizations strive to achieve compatibility when implementing new technologies; however, very few find success in executing this in practice. Why? Because employees are bound to support legacy systems and adapt to new technology simultaneously, which causes disruption. This intensifies the load on staff and sometimes the path of least resistance is to stay the course.
Time to make changes and adjust
It is generally observed that people at higher position believe that once workers are trained, they will automatically start using the technology. Most of the managers fail to consider the learning curve of their employees. One training session does not guarantee usage or trials; they need to be supported and guided until they are relaxed and confident of using the technology. But this transformation is not just limited to older employees; even the young ones who join the organization with advanced skills and talent find themselves lagging due to time constraint.
Ability to implement
What will your employees do if the IT is not trained enough to implement the new technology? There is this famous implementation failure of ERP for Waste Management which led them to $100 million-dollar legal fight with SAP. To avoid such failure, you need to make sure that your IT staff is familiar or properly trained on how the new technology works, how to implement it, what the advantages. Unless they are clear with the above points, it is highly unlikely that they will be able to effectively communicate to the end users.
Many people don’t get interested in new technology because it demands enormous effort especially when so many other things already going on in their work lives. All these expectations drive people to lose interest from their work. If the demand of a task is beyond the limited attention capacity of the employee, they get stressed and it results in:
- Conflicts among project members and others outside the project
- Low accountability
- Low quality etc.
So, in such circumstances, how would you expect them to get comfortable with the new technology?
If you consider the entire time you spent on this planet, you must have observed plenty of technology change like arrival of new app, new mobile etc. If you are not a gadget junkie, it must have been an exhausting experience adapting to the new technology. Employees go through the same and unless you provide them with persuasive reason for this profound change, it will be easy for them to discontinue the course. Without adequate resources for proper awareness, users are more likely to ignore or reject new technology.