As more and more companies undertake digital transformation initiatives, team members across organizations must adapt to new and/or upgraded tech tools. Leadership teams are often enthusiastic proponents of new tech tools and systems because they’re convinced that these tools can cut costs, boost productivity and make their employees’ lives easier (or hopefully, all of the above). However, their team members may be a little harder to convince—some may even resist or refuse to use the new tech altogether.
Introducing new tech tools for your company will have a limited positive impact if some team members don’t use them. It’s essential to ensure everyone in the organization understands the “why” behind the change and, even more importantly, “why it matters to me.” Below, 16 members of Forbes Technology Council share smart ways leaders can get “technology laggards” up to speed when new tech tools are introduced.
1. Ensure The New Tech Genuinely Meets Users’ Needs
The restaurant industry ran on outdated tech for decades until Covid forced the adoption of innovations such as QR codes and contactless delivery, opening the door to further innovation. This is instructive across industries. To get tech-averse users on board, make the benefits clear and tangible. Ensure your tech is truly built for the end user’s needs and that the onboarding process is swift and intuitive. - Dante DiCicco, Zitti
2. Establish Training And UX Goals And Process Workflows Prior To Launch
If you’re having to force employees to use a tool, I would say you really need to look at the employee experience of the tool. Training, the user experience and the process workflow have to be very carefully thought out before launching the tool. It is important to spend time marketing the benefits of the tool to the employee. You must be able to explain why and how this tool benefits them—not just management. - Daniel Riedel, Copado
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3. Bring High Energy To The Announcement
Building a team culture that fosters excitement about tech is the easiest way to ensure that team members take advantage of the tools at their fingertips—and that starts at the top. When introducing new tech tools, it’s important for us to bring high energy and outline how the new tech impacts the team as a whole to encourage adoption from the start. - Linda Brooks, Atlanticus
4. Explain Why The New Tech Has Been Implemented
Transparency is the most important thing a leader can practice, and any hesitancy that “technology laggards” may have can be alleviated when their leaders are honest about why this new tech was implemented and how it will make their jobs easier. Taking time to discuss the investment in the new tech demonstrates that the company is serious about innovation and improving the employees’ experience. - Mike Morini, WorkForce Software
5. Detail How The New Tool Will Strengthen Their Performance
Tools are meant to bring value to professionals, whether by reducing their workload or increasing their performance. Therefore, if tools do not produce either effect, they are meaningless. It is our responsibility to show applications or prove the value of new tools to our teams so they don't feel pushed to change what “works” but rather see an opportunity to use the new tools to Strengthen their performance. - Edgar Escobar, Grupo ALTO
6. Start With A Compelling Use Case
Start with a use case that convinces team members to use the tool. If there is a companywide impact, it should also be a companywide use case. We did this when we introduced Slack five years ago. Our engineering teams had been using Telegram for daily communications and operations. We explained that personal messenger apps are not good for professional use, since it's a merging of work and personal life. They agreed. - Ivan Novikov, Wallarm Inc.
7. Discuss ‘Selling Points’ With The Vendor
It’s all about alignment. People generally resist change and won’t embrace it unless they see an immediate benefit for their teams. It is essential to work with the vendor first to identify all the possible (internal) selling points and validate that the technology actually brings value. - Ana Codallo, Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)
8. Plan A Continuous Communication Campaign
Having a strong change management/implementation team should enable you to make sure team members start using new tech tools. As a leader, I would plan a continuous communication campaign across the organization/team to create awareness of the benefits, along with focused events and forums to celebrate and award “champions.” This will motivate all team members to use the tech tools to get desired benefits and rewards. - Rishi Agrawal, 3i Infotech
9. Conduct Regular Tech Inventory Updates
I always have my teams conduct a tech inventory update right before the budget cycle. Take any tool that is not being used but still has great value and develop an expedited adoption plan. Set goals for the usage of the software, and develop measurable metrics. This way, the usage statistics will bubble up to the leadership surface and force employees to use ignored tools. I recently completed just such an exercise. - Kiran Palla, IRS
10. Provide Training Sessions
Communicate why the tool was adopted and its importance to the company. Then provide onboarding and training sessions for your team members to get up to speed. Most team members do want to do their work better and faster, but they are usually too busy with their current work to learn something new on their own. - Shinji Kim, Select Star
11. Set Up A Mentoring Program
In every company, there are staff members resistant to change. Rather than enacting a policy to force everyone into compliance, try a mentoring program. Have internal champions sit down with resistant staff members to show the value the new tool provides, whether that’s adding new capabilities, decreasing costs (time) or speeding up the cycle time for the release of new products or services. - Thomas Caldwell, Techniche
12. Identify The Root Cause Of Resistance
Adoption rates only tell a good story when stragglers come on board! Tech laggards can wreak havoc on an organization. Identify the root cause of the refusal to adopt the new tech and develop motivational factors for each demographic. The motivational currency may change, but the need to incentivize does not. As a leader, staying current on the pulse of the organization and what drives its members will keep adoption rising. - Johanna Baum, S3 Consulting
13. Invest In Change-Management Resources
Understand that change management is as important as project management. There are several established methodologies to help with the “people side” of change. Invest some resources (and money) in adopting one for the organization. - Thomas Polk, Midwest Eye Consultants
14. Include Metrics On New Tool Usage In Performance Reviews
Move all reviews and performance analyses so they can be based on data and metrics from the new tech tool you have deployed. Help users understand the gain for them and the benefit and ROI for the company, and share how this plays into the company’s goals for the year. - Srikrishnan Ganesan, Rocketlane Corp
15. Let Team Members Help Choose New Tools
Involve team members in the upfront decision-making process. Not everyone needs to be a full decision maker; something as small as asking everyone about their needs up front via a survey will help them feel involved. People are much more likely to reject tools that are forced on them, but typically, they will work through bugs in tools they feel they were involved in selecting. - Chris Heard, Olive Technologies
16. Set A Personal Example
One thing leaders can do to get their employees to use new tech tools is to set an example. If you want your team to start using a new project management tool, for instance, be the first one to start using it yourself. Show them how it can make everyone’s work easier and more efficient. Also, make sure to provide them adequate training on how to use the new tool. - Mohit Mittal, Chegg Inc.