Technology is now integrated into almost every part of our jobs. We use computers, Wi-Fi, email, applications or our smartphones for everything. The thing about technology, though, is that it’s always changing. Software and programs are constantly updating, becoming better versions of themselves. New hardware is constantly outdating older laptop and desktop versions, and new applications are being developed every day.
To ensure our workplaces are as efficient as possible, it’s important to incorporate updated technologies and systems. And for some employees, this could add stress or anxiety. Whether they like the way things are currently running, are generally hesitant to change or are nervous about their ability to learn a new skill, they’ll need support to adapt to the new technologies in your office.
To help lead employees through changes to the technology they use for work every day — and to empower each team member to succeed — consider these five steps.
1. Give The ‘Why’
No one likes just being told what to do (OK, maybe some people enjoy that, but most employees don’t). Instead of bossing around, try giving the full picture. Explain why the change ahead is important. Explain what exactly the new technology will help with. How will it impact your overall efficiency? How will technology changes affect other parts of the processes?
Giving insight into why you’re making the changes can help your team members feel more involved in the decision, too. If they understand the purpose of the change, they are more likely to be dedicated to the cause. And if the technology change brings perks like saving time, creating more revenue or streamlining a process, that’s a great motivator for your team members to be on board.
2. Be Transparent
Open communication is everything. Give your employees an overview of the process and what specific changes will be made. Have a meeting that provides a clear outline of what they can expect. If employees are already feeling anxious or overwhelmed, surprises or unexpected changes will only add to their stress. Be as transparent as possible with your team members throughout the change process.
3. Provide A Timeline
If you have a timeline or road map for the technology changes you’re making, share that with your team. There’s going to be a learning curve for everyone, and it will be steeper for some than for others. As a leader, you can’t expect everyone to learn this new skill or new technology at the same pace. If you are able to, provide time for the new process to be implemented in a transition phase where the old process can still be used if they get stuck. Depending on your business and how your deadlines are set, you might want to consider providing extra time for project completion as the new technology is being integrated into your team’s workflow.
4. Incentivize The Process
If your team members seem like they might need some extra motivation, try offering free food or little rewards throughout the training process. An added bonus, of course, is adding another skill to their skill set, which can be transferred to any future role they may hold. The technology change will likely increase your teams’ productivity, as well, which increases revenue. Revenue increases can always be incentivized as a raise for an employee or team bonuses.
5. Ask For Feedback — And Listen
Your priority throughout the technology update should be to be fully present for your team members. This means asking for feedback and actually listening to your employees. With a foundation of respect among your teams and their leaders, you can receive honest feedback and concerns, along with insight into what’s going well with your processes.
Technologies must change and advance if we want to maintain efficient workplaces, but the impact such change has on employees must also be considered. As a leader, ensure you are not only leading the change as it relates to hardware and software upgrades, but also as it relates to the well-being and support of your employees.