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Employees can be an apprehensive bunch at times. Sure, they’re often eager to adopt new things. More so if they believe that it will make their work lives and productivity better. Newer, younger employees often seem to come preloaded with all of the latest technology tips and tricks as well. Still, trying to get some of your employees to actually use a lot of new business technology can be a hassle. Convincing employees to use new technology can be a hurdle for a variety of reasons. However, much of it boils down to how well you actually know the technology yourself and model its use.
So what does Gandhi have to do with this? For that, we’ll refer to the oft quoted and popular “Gandhian” maxim: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” There’s only one problem with that phrase. Not only did Gandhi never actually say it, but the statement he made from which the more popular phrase is drawn actually has a more profound application to convincing employees to use new technology. To be clear, Gandhi was not a technology expert. Additionally, he was no trailblazer in the business world. Nevertheless, his philosophy on how to be and how to treat people are good business sense, especially when dealing with apprehensive employees.
So What Did Gandhi Actually Say?
This (emphasis mine):
“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. […] We need not wait to see what others do.”
Take a moment to think about that for a minute. How often have you tried to sell a new idea, technology, business practice, or anything to your employees, only to face stiff resistance? Now think about how you presented it. Did you present it having already adopted that new technology yourself, or did you bring in a third party to help present and train your new employees on it? The difference between these two presentations matter.
Convincing Employees to Use New Technology Means Modeling First
If you’re struggling to get your employees to adopt changes and start using the new technology, try leading by example. While it’s still very valuable and often necessary to bring in a third party to help train your employees on the use of these technologies, it’s important that you remember that your employees look to management for guidance. Realistically, if you show confidence, acceptance, and mastery of the new tech before it’s rolled out to employees, they’re more likely to be open to trying that new technology themselves.
Don’t Change the Game Overnight
Putting Gandhi’s wisdom aside for a moment, it’s also important to remember that humans are creatures of comfort. When we grow accustomed to doing something a certain way, we get confident and comfortable in that process. Yes, this means that we’re often slow to change, but you can’t fight human nature without consequences. Learning new skills can be challenging, and this produces our fight or flight mechanism. When it comes to rolling out new technology, it’s good to remember that your employees have been using a certain set of programs and hardware for a while. They’ve developed a skill at using them. Unfortunately, this may mean they’re going to be resistant to change.
That said, if you really want to convince them to use new technology, don’t try to force that change on them overnight. Doing so will be met with stiff resistance. Roll it out slowly by electing a few “technology ambassadors”. These will be heads of departments or individuals within departments who tend to be good at adopting new tech. Have these individuals learn the new technology with you, and use them to help their colleagues learn the programs.
Don’t Go It Alone: Use Professional Services
It’s good to find your inner peace while convincing employees to use new technology. Yet it’s in your best interest to get outside help to ease the transition. Although you could single-handedly learn and roll our new tech yourself, finding professionals who know how to handle that process well can go a long way.
Fidelus is a leader in helping companies transition to new technology. With years of experience in collaboration tools and Unified Communication environments, Fidelus helps companies pull a Gandhi on their employees — with only the best results.
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