Technology Resistance: How to Drive Change and Adoption

You spent the money. You bought the technology. And no one adopted it.

I’m recently worked with a client who experienced this problem. Less than 5 years ago, the organization invested in (at the time) a new technology. This technology allows for things every finance professional dreams of: faster reporting, rolling forecasts, workforce planning – you name it. Receiving this type of data allows the team to eliminate mundane tasks and consistently deliver accurate numbers, thus having more time to strategize and pursue the next customer.  

Naturally, the team had a steep learning curve ahead of them – and leadership didn’t set aside sufficient time for everyone to familiarize themselves. At the same time, the organization grew at a rapid pace. Managers seemed to devote their time to complete business needs rather than to “learn that new technology.” The change they hoped for never happened.

If you read that and saw the reflection of your organization and subsequently felt a pit in your stomach, you’re not alone. Hundreds (maybe thousands) of professionals feel the same way. Change is hard. Implementing a new technology is even harder. Keep in mind: Not everyone is inherently tech savvy and when people can’t figure out something quickly, frustration is inevitable. I’ve heard clients say they feel very vulnerable around new technology, especially if others are picking it up quickly and they are not.

You must put in the work and train your colleagues on new systems to truly reap their benefits.

If your team is dragging their feet, here are ways to drive the adoption.

  • What’s in it for them. Everyone operates from a “what about me?” standpoint. If a new hire or systems change isn’t going to affect them, why bother paying attention. Outline a reason for every employee to adopt the change. How will this technology improve their individual workday? If an employee hates a current workflow and a new system eliminates it, tell him. He will be your first adopter and advocate the technology to others.
  • Have a consultant support your team. Many clients invite folks like myself to come in and help facilitate the change. Asking a question to an outsider is sometimes easier as employees want to appear as credible as possible in front of their manager or leadership. Keep in mind, consultants typically work with several organizations that have been through similar transitions. They can anticipate needs and give context around how this process helped other companies.
  • Set small, measurable goals. Humans can create a plethora of excuses when it comes to not completing a certain task. Oh, I’ll work on this first and then get to that. It magically stays on their to-do list and weeks later, they still haven’t logged into the new system. Anticipate that this will happen and set measurable goals for your team.

Think about it this way: if you want to lose a significant amount of weight, it can be overwhelming. However, if you break it down into small goals (walk for one hour 3x a week, eat 3 cups of vegetables a day, etc.), it doesn’t seem as daunting. After some time, you see the results of your small behavioral changes and you’re elated! Think about where your team could be three months after adopting a technology by creating small goals.  

From an organizational standpoint, the quicker the adoption, the faster you’ll realize an increase in revenue. Though newer systems and applications typically incur a large upfront cost, the long-term savings are abundant. In other words, the short-term expense yields long-term gain.

And your organization will see efficiencies, not only through technical and business process improvements but in those who adopt them. You’ll have a deeper bench and a wider skill set with more employees able to complete the tasks you need. By not being dependent on a single person, organizations will create more employee engagement as all can contribute.

New technology always creates an impetus for staff members to embrace change. By having a consultant coach leadership to explain “What’s in it for me?” to employees and addressing their concerns, you can set up your organization for success and ensure a quantifiable investment.



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