Why your employees are resistant to IT change and what you can do about it
We have all been there.
The manager begins telling you about how “we’re going to start doing things differently”. Your favourite social media channel launches a new layout or algorithm. You get the dreaded ‘New Software Update Available’ message on your phone.
As consumers we are told that technology is always improving, yet many aspects of technology change come across as difficult and unnecessary. As employees we carry this mentality to our workplaces, where we shudder at the thought of another CRM system update or HRIS overhaul.
The phrase ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ comes to mind.
And yet we are all aware that IT and digital transformation are crucial organisational processes. They allow your business to expand, become more efficient, and thrive within your industry.
It is the art of communicating these changes, through telling a digital transformation story, which becomes indispensable throughout the adoption of new technology.
Here are some common reservations your employees may have when it comes to IT change, alongside some simple solutions to help your IT investment go further:
“The current system works well”
Your employees are used to the current system: they know how it works, they know where they can find things, and they like it!
When talking through IT and digital change with your employees it is important to explain and listen. Explain how the organisation has outgrown the current system, or, where it’s letting competition win extra clients, or where it leaks productivity. In the famous sentiment of Simon Sinek, start with the why and not with the what.
Listen to the doubts your employees have and plan ahead for common questions. They will appreciate your efforts, and you may even persuade them as to why the change is necessary.
“Why are we doing this?”
If you want your employees to see the bigger picture, it is crucial that you involve them in the decision-making process behind the change.
Are you considering switching over from Zoom to Teams as your go-to online meeting platform? Ask your employees for feedback on the current system. This can help you to pick up existing problems, and address them when briefing your employees about reasons for change.
By preparing employees for change, they will not feel like unimportant cogs within your organisational machine. Trickle information out to your employees through your internal communications team so that employees know what is to come, and can get ready.
“Relearn everything? What a waste of time”
Change doesn't happen overnight. You have to know this as an employer and communicate this awareness to your employees.
Whether it’s training days for the new software, or a longer completion time for previously trivial tasks, you must be prepared for productivity to initially take a hit whilst your employees are learning.
If you have done your research, you are changing over to this new software because it will ultimately optimise your organisations’ work processes. Be prepared that this will take time.
Most importantly, make your employees aware that they are not under an extreme pressure to figure out the system within a one hour training webinar.
Recent studies show that our high productivity is masking an exhausted workforce. Think about breaking down the digital transformation into manageable chunks to avoid making the change a stressful one.
Show empathy, understanding, and support, and you will have smoother adoption of the new technology.
“This isn’t the right time”
I once worked at a restaurant which decided to swap us over from taking orders with pen and paper to using handheld devices during December - the busiest time of year for hospitality. Needless to say it didn’t go well.
Unless absolutely vital (like a cyber security threat) do not make big changes during busy periods. Your employees are much better off going through the motions of change during quieter, less demanding periods.
Not only will they be thankful, but they will be less likely to ignore that training day email, and more likely to listen to what you have to say. This will lead to better software implementation.
Now that you understand some of the concerns about digital transformation and IT change from the perspective of your employees, you can begin to address the underlying causes of resistance to change. Try incorporating some of our suggested solutions to improve adoption of new technology within your organisation.
Remember, your employees are your most important brand ambassadors: lead them through change and they will feel supported and empowered.
Having trouble communicating your IT change project? We’re here to tell your digital transformation story. Let’s talk. Send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website insideoutconsulting.co.uk.