When a company introduces new tech, the leadership group and IT team may be excited at the productivity boosts and cost savings they expect to see. However, other employees may fall into various groups, ranging from enthusiastic first-adopters to those who stubbornly resist. If new tech isn’t used consistently—or at all—it’s not only a waste of money but also a potential bone of contention.
It’s not enough for the CTO to understand and welcome new technologies—they have to ensure the whole team knows why changes will be or have been made, and explain to their fellow workers exactly “what’s in it for them.” Below, 14 tech leaders from Forbes Technology Council share smart strategies to encourage your team members to embrace and employ the new tech tools you bring on board.
1. Take A Multi-Pronged Approach
In my experience, it takes a few strategies working in parallel to lead a team into new tech. Start initiatives to show what the new tech can do for the stakeholders and the working teams. Actively assemble advocates to create a wide-ranging bubble effect. Work on establishing a culture of innovation and growth from the bottom up and from the top down, and pair up teams. – Ning Gao, Mayo Clinic
2. Set Clear Objectives
To get everyone on board, set clear objectives so that people understand why the change is happening. In our experience, treasury and finance teams tend to be small, and any tech change will impact their work, so involve them in the process from sending out RFPs through the final vendor selection. People will revert to old ways if they can’t remember how to carry out a function quickly, so proper training is imperative. – Peter Klein, FinLync
3. Pave The Way With ‘Tech Toys’
The more people have succeeded with new tech in the past the more open they are to the next new thing. In my companies, we offer a lot of tech gadgets that we don’t need for our business but that people can use for fun or even take home, such as drone cameras, 3D printers, VR headsets and robot arms. We don’t need these in our businesses, but they help people become more open-minded and willing to try new things. – Carsten Kraus, Casablanca.ai
4. Leverage The TAM Model
There is a powerful framework called the Technology Acceptance Model. It has two vectors: “Perceived Value,” which is the case for the new tech’s benefits or how it will solve a problem, and “Perceived Ease of Use,” which is a clear approach for minimizing the time and effort required to adopt the new technology. From experience, I would strongly recommend strategizing and evangelizing across the two vectors using TAM as a foundation. – Hari Saravanabhavan, Concentrix
5. Introduce Some Competition
Make it fun! Create internal champions for the new technology, which allows non-IT people to support the rollout while freeing up IT to turn adoption of the new tech into a contest. IT teams can develop a leaderboard where users compete in various activities—for example, who sends and receives the most chat messages per day, week and month; who schedules the most conference calls; who makes the most phone calls; and so on. – John Case, Unify Square
6. Ensure Your Strategy Includes Extensive Education
Within your digital transformation strategies, you definitely need to incorporate employee education. You must explain why the new tech tool is beneficial to each user story and how it can help streamline areas that employees might find highly arduous. Ask questions about the pain points in each employee’s day-to-day work and highlight how the new tool can remove them. – Amanda Dorenberg, COMMB
7. Bring In A Diverse Group Of Testers
Include a variety of end users in the identification and testing of the new technology. The idea is to get them involved early and frequently in the process so that they are part of the solution and not the problem. Many times, employees’ reluctance comes from not understanding the need for the change—or they may just feel as if they weren’t consulted about something they will be required to use. – Michael Hoyt, Life Cycle Engineering, Inc.
8. Start With The ‘Why,’ Then Move To The ‘How’
One way to help reluctant team members adopt new tech is to start with the “why.” Explain the benefits and values. Then move on to the “how.” Provide training and hands-on opportunities for team members to learn how to use the new tech. First adopters could be trainers and influencers. Finally, focus on action for adoption. Give reluctant team members a grace period for change. – Zheng Fan, University of Miami Herbert Business School
9. Stay Engaged With Users During The Testing Phase
Collaborating with users during the testing phase of new tech is a great way to transform reluctant team members into enthusiastic users. We went through our own upgrade in 2019, and feedback from the employees who would be engaging with the tech played a pivotal role in our implementation and deployment. Making sure employees feel heard during the process increases their willingness to adopt new tech. – Cindy Jaudon, IFS
10. Ensure Employees Know Their Jobs Won’t Be Threatened
This can be a common issue for businesses moving to the cloud. Employees need to feel assured that they won’t lose their jobs as they try to pick up technologies they don’t currently know. They also need to see how this will help their career and earning potential. Finally, they need to hear that the decision has been made, the dates are set and they need to get on board. Almost all will. – Anurag Gupta, Shoreline.io
11. Take A Phased Approach
People naturally like what they are comfortable with. Moving to new technology can seem daunting, but the easiest way to help transition team members to new tech is to provide a phased approach. This allows the team to make the shift over a defined time period. During this phase, it’s vital to have multiple training sessions to help team members learn the system and see the benefits. – Ernie Bray, AutoClaims Direct Inc. (ACD)
12. Keep Communication Flowing
There are two things that always help. Include team members from across the organization who will be impacted by the new tech in the decision-making process; asking for their input before the decision is made is a powerful way to encourage buy-in. Additionally, engage in clear and ongoing communication before, during and after the launch about why you’ve selected this tech, its function and value, and how team members can provide feedback. – Jason Cottrell, Myplanet
13. Blend Gamification With Incentives
A combination of gamification elements with incentives is the perfect recipe. Encourage employees to engage with the new tools by gamifying the training process: Let them earn points, which, in turn, can bring them rewards. This will not only familiarize them with the new tools but will also bring the added bonuses of strengthening the team, uncovering new applications and providing relevant feedback. – Nacho De Marco, BairesDev
14. Get Your CEO To Use It First
A great way to make employees happy with new tech is for them to see that the CEO has started using it. By using it, the CEO is signaling its importance to the company, which helps overcome concerns from employees who might fear that the new technology will be a waste of time. You may think this is a common-sense idea, but this can often be difficult for CEOs to do. – Øyvind Forsbak, Orient Software Development Corp.