Adopting technology can increase business productivity, boost sales, improve employee engagement and produce better outcomes. By integrating technologies such as employee self-service functionality, communication and virtual meeting tools and cloud-based HR applications into a workplace, an organisation can operate efficiently regardless of geographies, time zones and individual work schedules. The result is greater innovation, productivity and growth, meeting the evolving needs of employees and enabling business to compete on the global stage.
The acceleration of technology adoption has proved even more critical since the pandemic; workers the world over have been engaged in some degree of remote or hybrid working, further dissolving the distinction between work and home. An organisation that lacks technology buy-in during this period may struggle.
Despite the widely acknowledged understanding that technology is critical in this digital era, there is lack of urgency in adoption of new technologies across organisations, coupled with poor communication about the benefits of new tools, meaning many businesses are falling behind. According to a 2019 Robert Half study, Australian employers find it challenging to implement new technology within their organisation. Almost 9 in 10 (87%) of Australian business leaders said it would be challenging to train staff on new technology. This percentage is above the global average of 78%. According to the study, there are multiple barriers that are prohibiting technology adoption within Australian companies. See the graph below.
As the results of the study illustrate, a large factor impacting growth is that technology adoption can be met with mass resistance from the workforce. Humans are creatures of habit – we naturally resist change. So, how do you convince sceptical employees to get onboard with new technology? What can you do to incentivise them? And how do you create an appetite for the uptake of technology? Below are 4 tips.
- Create a culture of technology adoption
As with any major change in life, an abrupt approach to workplace transformation causes disruption, discomfort and fractures. In order to foster trust and inspire confidence within a workforce, the transition to a new way of working should be strategic, gradual and committed, driven from the leadership team and echoed through managers.
As such, it’s important that leaders communicate change to employees early on and encourage them to see the benefits that adopting a new technology can bring. Don’t forget the WIIFM (“what’s in it for me?”) factor – sell to the end-users what they stand to gain from getting onboard.
There will be teething issues, especially when workforces aren’t tech-savvy and shy away from new tools that they perceive to be more hassle than they’re worth. The more robust workers are to new tech developments, and the more integrated and routine new workplace tools become, the less backlash you will receive, and the more receptive employees will be to digital transformations.
- Adopt tools for their functionality and user-friendliness
It’s important that business leaders properly present the purpose and intended outcomes of a new technology to stakeholders and employees before implementation begins. Technologies that are not user-friendly, require lots of training and serve no major functional benefit will be perceived as extraneous and will be met with resistance. Therefore, employers must be careful not to betray employees’ trust by adopting a technology or tool that doesn’t live up to expectations, as it will prove more difficult to introduce other new technologies later down the line.
Organisations may pilot new technologies and tools with select teams/employees depending on its functionality and purpose. Only when the benefits are evidenced and any kinks are ironed out should the technology/tool be rolled out across the rest of the business.
- Ensure implementation is smooth
Employers should be aware of the appetite for new technology within their workforce and not push employees far beyond their comfort level and experience using technology. They should also offer training and support where needed.
This translates to how training employees on a new tool should be approached. Rather than thrusting new technology upon employees, employers should identify what type of training is suitable. Some employees may prefer an online training session to familiarise themselves with a new tool; other employees may prefer multiple instructional walk-through sessions with a mentor.
If the implementation of a new technology is smooth and tailored to the workforce, employers can be confident that the business will reach optimum performance.
- Incentivise technology use by proving the benefits
In an ideal world, organisations may be able to incentivise employees to adopt new technologies, tools and processes by offering monetary rewards. However, in this uncertain economic environment, organisations may be holding their purse strings tight.
However, there are non-monetary benefits that can inspire positivity towards change. For example, you may run a rewards & recognition program where employees are noticed and applauded for their commitment to positive organisational change. Or, better yet, technology adoption can offer opportunities for learning and development, which is a major incentive for many employees who want to ensure they are constantly upskilling.
Perhaps the biggest incentive for getting onboard with change is if the employee is offered fresh solutions to problems that bog them down. For example, introducing a new application or tool into the HR team may be met with scepticism at first – after all, HR professionals are typically time-poor and being trained on a new software or tool is a resource drain. However, the biggest incentive for them will be is the software actually saves them time and resources when it operates at full capacity.
Similarly, adopting cloud-based communication tools such as ELMO Connect can facilitate better collaboration and in turn increase engagement and efficiency. This is particularly important today when remote and hybrid working is prevalent, as dispersed teams risk becoming disconnected.
It’s important to draw attention to the benefits of technology adoption, highlight the quick wins, and prove how it can positively impact the whole business.
ELMO Cloud HR & Payroll can help HR professionals manage their workforce, even while operating remotely. As a cloud-based solution, ELMO helps employers manage their teams from anywhere at any time from a secure, centralised location. All employee-employer touchpoints are covered by ELMO’s suite, from ‘hire to retire’. For further information on any ELMO solution, please contact us.