The Unicorn HRO Blog

Handling Resistance to Technological Change in the Workforce

Posted Tuesday, June 07, 2016 by Unicorn HRO

In today’s corporate world, businesses must always be willing to adapt to new developments and change.  This is certainly true with regards to the rapid emergence of new technological innovations.  While new technology can be utilized to help businesses run more efficiently and productively, employers may find that their employees are not initially willing to accept new technologies in the workplace. Below are a few reasons why your employees might be resisting such changes, as well as tips on how to handle this resistance and ensure that you can make a smooth introduction of new technologies into your business. 

Understand Why Your Employees are Resistant to Change

It is completely normal for people to be resistant to change, especially in their work life. Employees value the stability and the predictable nature of a daily work routine, and might be alarmed by the introduction of anything new, especially with regard to technology. Veteran employees, for example, may have been doing things the same way for the last 10 years. They may feel that things have been working fine all that time, and any new change that is introduced might make them anxious about their future at the company. They may also have a “fear of the unknown,” fear that they may not have the competence to use new technologies, particularly if they have had a bad experience in the past. The ultimate fear of many employees is that such changes might end up rendering them expendable, and that they could lose their jobs. 

Employing Strategies to Decrease Employee Resistance

If an employer merely employs the technological change and plays little part in seeing to its implementation, resistance by employees can become a serious issue that could affect the efficiency and productivity of the company. Indeed, it is important for employers to know that if they want to introduce a change, they should expect resistance from some employees. With proper planning and communication, they can minimize such resistance.

To avoid problems associated with resistance to change, employers should consider the following points:

1. Timing

Timing of the change is important. Employers might be tempted to implement technological change too quickly, and this will probably be met with strong resistance from employees. Instead, changes should be introduced gradually, so that staff can slowly become used to change. If employers introduce change in small doses, employees will be able to adapt more easily, and the productivity of the company will not be interrupted.

2. Communication

One of the most effective ways to get employees on track for technological change is to communicate with themTalk to them about how a new software program or cloud service will work, but at the same time create an environment where they can provide their feedback. Ask them about what they think of the changes, and make sure to take some of the feedback into account. Employees, when providing feedback, might come up with genuinely good ideas for implementing changes. It also gives them an opportunity to be heard and express their feelings on the matter, as well as giving you a chance to empathize with their thoughts.

3. Employee Participation in the Change

Gathering feedback from employees is important but employers can take this a step further, and encourage employees to proactively take part in implementing the change. Staff can be given a chance to work with one another to brainstorm how best to introduce new technological innovations to the company, allowing them to feel like they are part of something where they can contribute their own ideas or creativity. This will make your employees feel like they are active agents of change, rather than passive players in a situation that is beyond their control. Should your staff be especially helpful in facilitating change, it may be a good idea to not only provide recognition for their role, but to also reward them in some way for their help.

4. Provide Resources and Education.

One of the biggest complaints that employees have when they are faced with change is that they are unprepared for it. With regards to technological change, it is best for employers to provide resources that employees can use to prepare for new developments. Provide training classes on how to use the technology that is being introduced. When it is finally implemented, employees will have the new skills needed to be able to smoothly transition into using a new technological platform or program. 

 Although change is natural, if not carefully managed, too much change in the workplace which occurs too quickly and with poor communication, can have a detrimental effect on employee morale and productivity. If managed well, change provides opportunities for communication, collaboration and increases staff morale.

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