When employees proclaim their disinterest or unwillingness to embrace new tech updates, or when there’s simply a proclamation that “I don’t do tech,” then remedies must be sought.
There are always the employees who delight in the new tech developments, sometimes bringing them into the office themselves and introducing the new capabilities. But, surprising as it may seem in today’s tech-centric office environments, there are also those who like what they already know, or who choose to avoid technology in any form. Which simply underscores the difficulty with change of any sort – whether it’s change in office procedures, change in the future directions of the company or simply a change in software – many people simply don’t like change in any form. We’ve talked in the past about the difficulties involved in getting company leaders to embrace the changes that are needed for the future; the same is true for their employees. When we assist our client corporations in engaging in building their strategy systems, we always involve the entire employee complement in these processes. Otherwise, if building strategy systems remains with the top leaders of the organization, then employees will have no idea what is needed to implement the change, no endorsement of the changes, and, thus, no involvement in them. The same is true when doing individual changes within the organization, like adopting new software systems – all employees need to be involved in the early discussions about the changes – and all need to be involved in working toward implementing those changes. When the new processes can be broken down into small, incremental segments and when employees come to understand, rather than fear, each step, then the process of adoption will move along much more smoothly. Initial, individual struggles with complex new technology can render employees feeling incompetent or at risk of losing status among their peers, which in turn relates to an employee’s losing a sense of identity. If the company’s managers find that there are those employees who are simply refusing to use the new system, they’ll need to acknowledge that this group is too embarrassed to admit that they don’t understand the new system. To avoid getting into these kind of trenches, the full embrace of all employees – just as we do with the strategy system building – as the process rolls out should ensure that all employees are worked with to completely unpack the new system and understand it. Simply throwing new processes at employees and expecting them to dig out the information for themselves will certainly work with some of the tech talented few, but will result in having to start all over with the majority of employees. Thus, it’s far better to involve everyone in the same learning process, from the beginning of initiation of new systems. In this way, questions can be asked as a group and no one employee has to feel unknowledgeable – the groups of learners move along together and the work of adoption of new systems is accomplished. So, don’t throw new systems and processes at employees – but, rather, assist them in embracing the new processes as an employee-wide whole.