How to encourage technology adoption and minimize tech resistance in your workplace
Any business owner can tell you that integrating new technology into a business can do wonders for everything from efficiency to profitability. But what they rarely mention is that with every new addition comes the potential for tech resistance.
Encouraging technology adoption can be a tricky prospect in any workplace, and businesses within the trades, services, and construction sectors are not exempt from these pressures. However, increased reliance on digital automation has firmly shifted this focus to individual tech-savviness, and as a business owner, you now need to expect a certain level of proficiency from your employees.
This is unlikely to change either, as modern industrial workplaces continue to be fragmented by technology and more employees begin to operate without direct contact with home base.
So why then are employees often so quick to resist adopting new technology when the benefits of doing so far outweigh the work that goes into upgrading their knowledge?
In the first article of this two-part series, we’ll examine tech resistance by discussing which factors lead to employee refusal, who is most likely to be affected, and what’s holding them back.
Read on to find out why your workers are dragging their feet and refusing to adopt new tech.
Understanding the factors that lead to technology resistance.
Employee age isn’t everything when it comes to tech resistance.
A common myth (likely stemming from later generations having been exposed to more advanced technology from a young age) is that older workers are far more likely to exhibit tech resistance than younger members of a team. Within the trades, services, and construction industries you’ll find that while this can sometimes be the case, it’s often not what’s going on beneath the surface.
Instead, ask yourself, ‘is the problem how old my employee is, or simply how set in their ways they’ve become?’
The longer your employees have had to grow comfortable with existing systems, the harder it will be for them to adopt new technology without immediately exhibiting some degree of resistance. While it is true that this can sometimes align neatly with age, don’t make the mistake of confusing one for the other. Instead, take a closer look at your employees and you’ll no doubt find that even younger team members can be very tech resistant at times.
The age of your employees should never dictate their capacity to take up and become proficient with new technology.
‘Lack of urgency’ – What it is and why it affects technology uptake.
A problem you’re likely to experience when encouraging technology adoption is employees failing to see the importance of learning new systems and then resisting change as a result.
The exact reasons for this resistance can vary widely depending on factors such as the size of your workforce, your business structure, and even the type of tech you are trying to integrate. Broadly speaking, however, the most common situations that lead to a lack of urgency in employees are:
- BEING TIME POOR
Working with very little time to spare from your day can sometimes blind employees to the potential that new technology has in making their lives easier. The less time they have, the more likely they are to drag their feet in learning new technology as a result.
- STILL BELIEVING THAT THE ‘OLD WAY’ WORKS FINE
If you feel like your employees are stalling the process of adopting new tech, consider whether they might think that what they have now is good enough or even better than the new alternative? Remember, as the boss you have far more operational oversight than your employees and they might not yet fully understand what they stand to gain from adopting a new piece of technology.
- BEING INFLUENCED BY THE ‘GROUP MENTALITY’
Never rule out the potential for your employees to come together and decide what is best for themselves without your input. All it takes is one vocal member to say, “that can wait until next week” and suddenly everyone agrees that adopting new tech is no longer as urgent as you’ve made it out to be.
Knowing the difference between technology resistance and technology anxiety.
It’s worth keeping in mind that not all cases of employees refusing to adopt new technology can be strictly categorised as ‘tech resistance’. Sometimes the thought of adopting new technology can scare employees, a feeling they might not choose to share with either you or their peers without some prompting.
Reasons for technology anxiety can include:
- Fear of losing one’s job if they fail to learn a new technology.
- Fear of losing one’s job as a direct result of more technology being added to a business.
- Fear of looking incompetent to peers or superiors whilst learning or utilising new technology.
- Fear of failing to use technology properly and causing harm or compromising their work.
These fears pose a serious threat to your business and in some cases can completely prevent employees from adopting new technology willingly and successfully. Solutions to this problem are usually developed in-house but take care to ensure that every one of your employees is on the same page before progressing to any kind of implementation.
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