Although technology projects can present many challenges along the way, the most common failure point is the end-user adoption phase. Why? Resistance to change! It is often said that change is the only real constant; however, many people find change difficult and respond with a variety of behaviors that impede the implementation of new technologies. Therefore, understanding why people resist change and how to overcome that resistance is key to a successful technology implementation.
Why People Resist Change
Simply put, people prefer predictability and stability in both their personal and professional lives. A consistent predictable routine helps people feel confident in their ability to perform their job duties.
Here are several reasons employees typically resist change:
- Concern over job loss/Reduced hours
- Skills gap
- Added stress
- Additional workload
- Fear of the unknown
- Loss of control
- Past bad experience(s)
- Lack of understanding
- Status quo is satisfactory
Overcoming Resistance to Change
The key to a successful technology implementation is helping people adjust to and even embrace change. It is easier than you may think, here are a few tips:
Start with a Plan
Incorporate change management into your implementation plan right from the start. If left to chance or wedged in as an afterthought, critical steps may be missed along the way leading to frustration and distrust.
Lead by Example
Strong leadership is an essential part of a successful technology implementation. Leadership should be the primary advocates for the new technology and set an example for others to follow.
Ensure employees are given sufficient information about the new technology and the impact it will have on their role. It is important that all employees who are impacted by a new technology implementation understand what will change, how it will change, when it will change, and why it will change. Communicate exactly what is expected of each employee before, during and after rollout leaving nothing open to interpretation.
Take it One Step at a Time
If possible, implement new technologies in several stages to avoid overwhelming end-users and giving them time to absorb and adjust to the change.
Gain Stakeholder Buy-in
Seek the opinions of those who will be using the technology and make them part of the process. Use interactive tactics such as focus groups, social media, surveys, etc. to create buy-in and help employees feel their opinions and expertise are valued.
Engage Change Resistors
Actively engaging individuals who are opposed to the new technology allows you to understand and address their concerns, and work to overcome their resistance. Listen and respond to all feedback to show employees their ideas and concerns are being heard.
Empower Change Advocates
Leverage the influence of employees who are on board with the new technology to help communicate and create buy-in from the bottom up. Provide them with the information and tools they need to share their excitement with their coworkers.
Develop a Training Strategy
Avoid off the shelf, one size fits all training that does not take your processes or culture into account. Training should go beyond screenshots and PowerPoint presentations. It should be specific to each business area and the way their work is performed. Offer users the opportunity to see and test the system prior to go-live, as well as, multiple methods for training such as digital, classroom, small group, one on one, etc.
Go Beyond “Go Live”
It is important to continue to monitor and provide support even after everything is up and running smoothly to ensure the entire organization has embraced the new technology, integrated it into their processes and increased efficiencies are achieved.
Maximize Your ROI with the Right Partner
The bottom line is this… to maximize ROI on technology investments, change management is the key to a successful implementation. Selecting a partner who understands that the business and human objectives of a technology implementation are equally as important as the technical ones is critical to a successful outcome.
Preparing to implement new technology? Want to ensure a successful implementation? Contact PSI today to see how we can help!