COVID-19 disrupted the business sector on a massive scale, forcing owners and managers to cut costs and operate lean. Working efficiently while optimizing employee performance has become the new competitive edge, so many have turned to innovation, automation, and technology to remain profitable.
Not all employees are on board with using technology to complete their day-to-day tasks, however. Routines and habits give them a sense of security in their role, and modifications to those routines can create stress and resistance.
As leaders, it’s imperative to be empathetic to those who fear the shift to digital technology. Properly communicating expectations, timelines, and the impact on employees will help your team welcome and embrace technological advances.
1. Discuss the Impact of Technology on the Business
From estimating, to operations, to accounting, technology helps businesses improve performance. Creating streamlined workflows will inevitably reduce business expenses, adding more revenue to your bottom line. It is essential to relay these business efficiencies to your employees to clarify why the improvements are needed. Key areas of discussion include:
Businesses that leverage apps or cloud-based technologies reduce their organization’s costs associated with hardware maintenance. Virtual technologies offer greater accessibility to products and services when employee work-from-home orders are issued. In both cases, technology utilization creates greater efficiency among employees while reducing the organization’s expenses.
Technological advances reduce the use of paper-based processes. Not only is a digital workflow environmentally friendly and sustainable, it also offers the speed, convenience, and efficiency that many organizations require to stay competitive.
Technology improves the performance and productivity of employees. By automating or simplifying time-consuming operations, employees can focus on more productive activities that directly impact business growth.
2. Offer On-Going Education and Training
Encourage everyone to work as a team to navigate on-going learning. That cohesiveness will promote more acceptance of technology-based tools while guaranteeing no one feels left behind during the initial learning phase. Even past the initial adoption phase, offer your employees opportunities to brush up on skills or learn new ones related to your new processes. This may include peer-to-peer workshops, and sharing guides and tips and tricks on a regular basis.
Peer-to-peer learning opportunities
There will always be employees who embrace new technology. Lean on those individuals to engage with and help promote learning with hesitant or slow-to-learn employees. Having a dedicated peer “champion” to funnel questions through is the fastest and most efficient way to navigate ongoing training. Furthermore, developing guides that address common technology-based issues will provide yet another layer of support for your team.
PRO TIP: Allow flexibility as to how and when employees can choose to learn. That doesn’t mean clear expectations relating to technical competencies should fall by the wayside, however. Introduce a timeline of when proficiencies are needed for specific workflows utilizing the new technology component. This gives employees the freedom to learn at their own pace, while still being held accountable to meet performance benchmarks.
3. Encourage Communication
Taking a steadfast approach to addressing employees’ most pressing concerns will reduce the time it takes for them to embrace technology. Communication should not stop once all teammates are on board with utilizing technology, however. Incorporating technology-based discussions into weekly staff meetings and individual performance reviews offer multiple ways for managers and direct reports to be on the same page regarding technology proficiencies.
Furthermore, encouraging daily communication will:
- Boost participation and acceptance of future operational changes
- Motivate the team to keep learning
- Improve engagement and teamwork among coworkers
- Make team members feel heard, valued, and respected
When it comes to employees’ long-term success embracing technology, communication becomes a crucial piece of the process.
PRO TIP: Don’t forget to celebrate victories related to organizational improvements due to technology.
Organizations are reinventing their processes to bring in digital solutions. Technological advances allow employers to satisfy employee expectations while operating at maximum efficiency and effectiveness. However, these advancements come with a learning curve and employers should be prepared to guide their teams through it.
Creating an office culture led by open communication is the key to success with implementing technology-based business solutions. Addressing timelines, learning opportunities, and an overall vision for how technology can enhance employee productivity will create buy-in from team members.
Undoubtedly, the real power lies in giving your team the patience, framework, and support they need to feel included and empowered to embrace change.
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