Change can be tricky to navigate. Implementing more technology in the workplace may be met with excitement, fear or skepticism for a number of reasons. Some employees welcome new technology because they believe that the new systems or upgrades will help them have more flexibility in their work schedule and greater overall efficiency.
Fearful or skeptical employees may associate impending changes with poor past experiences, such as losing valuable work time while adjusting to a new software upgrade or feeling a sense of unease when moving from a personal cubicle to a virtual workstation. In other cases, they may have felt unsupported by IT or their leaders during a previous transition, and are skeptical that it will be better this time around.
Whatever the reason, anytime you bring in new technology to the workplace, some employees will be hesitant to embrace it. But with the right strategy, you can provide employees with the tools they require to collaborate, communicate and connect with colleagues to increase productivity, reduce costs, and achieve business objectives.
Change is Inevitable
Let's consider some statistics for a moment, and examine how they apply to your business. People have an average of 4.7 devices per user, which translates to an estimated 21 billion connected devices by 2020. This data reiterates the fact the digital workplace is a reality for employees, and emphasizes the need for a comprehensive approach from IT departments.
With the need for more technology in the workplace forthcoming, why do some employees find this shift intimidating? Deloitte states that, for the past 30 years, employees have resisted change in their workplace environments for three fundamental reasons:
- Aging workforce: When Baby Boomers entered the workplace, there was much less focus on using technology to complete daily tasks in most industries. As technology was introduced, some embraced it and some shied away from it. As Baby Boomers continue to retire and the workforce shifts to younger end users, companies need to find ways to leverage technology and embrace digital workplace solutions.
- Information overload: The need for data at our fingertips is growing at an overwhelming rate. Think about how many systems, programs, and apps you use on a regular basis to complete your work. In some cases, this overloads employees who end up resisting new technology as too complex or just another device they don’t need.
- The “need for speed” mentality: We are constantly looking for ways to be more efficient, meet deadlines, and be in constant contact to verify information to meet the needs of today’s work environment. Consider a nurse arriving for a shift change; they need instructions and updates about the patients they are caring for as quickly as possible. If technology doesn’t enable this speed and efficiency, or previous technology rollouts led to lost productivity or downtime, some employees will simply continue to do things the way they’ve always been done.
Acknowledging these barriers, how can you make the implementation of more digital solutions in the workplace more comfortable for your employees?
Making the Right Choices
According to Forrester, “The stakes for business leaders are high – a wrong investment could put your firm out of business; make the right move and you'll vault over your competitors.”
While every company has a unique culture, business requirements, and strategic objectives, the right digital workplace solution needs three critical components associated with it to be effective in the workplace. When these are implemented successfully, you can overcome resistance to change.
- Collaboration: In today’s competitive environment, your company needs to transfer knowledge with seamless, integrated, and user-friendly tools that improve your employee’s ability to share ideas, be productive, and resolve business issues from anywhere in the world.
- Communication: As the need for information, and innovation, continues to grow at an overwhelming rate, your employees will need more tools, such as a cloud infrastructure library with industry standard security features, for creating and sharing content and communicating effectively across the organization.
- Connection: Employees need tools that will allow them to easily and securely connect with colleagues on the next floor or across the country, leverage intellectual property from their mobile devices, as well as discuss ideas and challenges with each other through various software applications.
The right digital workplace mindset will complement your company’s culture, strategy, and business objectives, and foster a greater sense of community across your organization. Change can be scary, but it can also be rewarding and enlightening. It has the ability to bring people together. Let’s embrace the inevitable, and get started.