How to encourage technology adoption and minimise tech resistance in your workplace

Any business owner can tell you that integrating new technology into a business can do wonders for everything from efficiency to profitability. But what they rarely mention is that with every new addition comes the potential for tech resistance.

Encouraging technology adoption can be a difficult prospect in any workplace and businesses within the trades, services, and construction sectors are not exempt from these pressures. However, increased reliance on digital automation has firmly shifted this focus to individual tech-savviness and as a business owner, you now need to expect a certain level of proficiency from your employees.

This is unlikely to change either, as modern industrial workplaces continue to be fragmented by technology and more employees begin to operate without direct contact with home base.

So why then are employees often so quick to resist adopting new technology when the benefits of doing so far outweigh the work that goes into upgrading their knowledge?

In this article, we’ll outline everything you need to know about tech resistance and discuss how and why employees become tech resistant. We’ll then list and discuss the steps you can take to minimise tech resistance in your business and instead promote a culture of enthusiasm around adopting new technology.

Part 1. Understanding the factors that lead to technology resistance

Age isn’t everything when it comes to tech resistance.

A common myth (likely stemming from later generations having been exposed to more advanced technology from a young age) is that older workers are far more likely to exhibit tech resistance than younger members of a team. Within the trades, services, and construction industries you’ll find that while this can sometimes be the case, it’s often not what’s going on beneath the surface.

Instead, ask yourself, ‘is the problem how old my employee is, or simply how set in their ways they’ve become?’

The age of your employees should never dictate their capacity to take up and become proficient with new technology.

The longer your employees have had to grow comfortable with existing systems, the harder it will be for them to adopt new technology without immediately exhibiting some degree of resistance. While it is true that this can sometimes align neatly with age, don’t make the mistake of confusing one for the other. Instead, take a closer look at your employees and you’ll no doubt find that even younger team members can be very tech resistant at times.

‘Lack of urgency’ – What it is and why it affects technology uptake.

A problem you’re likely to experience when encouraging technology adoption is employees failing to see the importance of learning new systems and then resisting change as a result.

The exact reasons for this resistance can vary widely depending on factors such as the size of your workforce, your business structure, and even the type of tech you are trying to integrate. Broadly speaking, however, the most common situations that lead to a lack of urgency in employees are:

  • Being time poor

Working with very little time to spare from your day can sometimes blind employees to the potential that new technology has in making their lives easier. The less time they have, the more likely they are to drag their feet in learning new technology as a result.

  • Still believing that the ‘old way’ works fine

If you feel like your employees are stalling the process of adopting new tech, consider whether they might think that what they have now is good enough or even better than the new alternative? Remember, as the boss you have far more operational oversight than your employees and they might not yet fully understand what they stand to gain from adopting a new piece of technology.

Digital technology has found its place in many parts of the trades, construction, and service sectors, but not always in ways that are immediately clear.

  • Being influenced by the ‘group mentality’

Never rule out the potential for your employees to come together and decide what is best for themselves without your input. All it takes is one vocal member to say, “that can wait until next week” and suddenly everyone agrees that adopting new tech is no longer as urgent as you’ve made it out to be.

Knowing the difference between technology resistance and technology anxiety.

It’s worth keeping in mind that not all cases of employees refusing to adopt new technology can be strictly categorised as ‘tech resistance’. Sometimes the thought of adopting new technology can scare employees, a feeling they might not choose to share with either you or their peers without some prompting.

Reasons for technology anxiety can include:

  • Fear of losing one’s job if they fail to learn a new technology
  • Fear of losing one’s job as a direct result of more technology being added to a business
  • Fear of looking incompetent to peers or superiors whilst learning or utilising new technology
  • Fear of failing to use technology properly and causing harm or compromising their work.

These fears pose a serious threat to your business and in some cases can completely prevent employees from adopting new technology willingly and successfully. Solutions to this problem are usually developed in-house but take care to ensure that every one of your employees is on the same page before progressing to any kind of implementation.

Part 2. Your role in encouraging technology adoption

The most important component of successful tech adoption isn’t the tech itself, but who is driving its implementation. Your job as the boss is to act as the bridge between where your employees currently are and where you need them to be concerning their technological proficiency. Start by seeing tech resistance as simply an obstacle to be overcome, something that’s achievable by successfully solving the problems leading to the implementation and uptake of technology by your employees.

Here are some steps you can take to ensure that every new tech enhancement you make to your business is met with excitement rather than rejection.

Digital technology has found its place in many parts of the trades, construction, and service sectors, but not always in ways that are immediately clear.

1. Choose new technology wisely

At the end of the day, your first concern as a business owner should always be whether a new piece of technology is going to add value to your operations. But with so many products on offer, it can sometimes be tricky to identify which one is going to be the right pick for your business. Choosing a system that makes the work of you and your employees faster and easier is the best way to combat tech resistance and functionality should always come first because of this.

2. Pick the right time to adopt new tech

Almost as important as what tech you choose to add to your business is when exactly you choose to integrate it. The quieter things are, the easier your employees will find it to absorb the necessary information and learn to operate new technology effectively.

Consider though that other factors like the time of year can also play a major role in the effectiveness of training and other integration activities. For example, the first quarter of every year may be a bit busy. But it’s still a fantastic time to schedule demos and learning sessions for new technology because everyone is still fresh. Always remember, however, that any larger than usual jobs currently on the go could distract employees and make them more resistant to technology simply because they are completely focused on something else.

3. Build a proper roll-out plan

When introducing new technology, you need to be realistic about the effectiveness of providing your employees with something and expecting that they learn it inside out on their own. Instead, sit down and work out the whens, whys, and hows of your integration before you even think about presenting it to your staff. With good planning, you can pre-empt any resistance by employees and put systems in place to ensure that everyone is on board completely.

4. Reveal new tech to employees carefully

You may be tempted to reveal a cool new piece of technology with some fanfare but first consider this, is it going to wow your employees or is it going to raise concerns? A more measured reveal of something new can ensure that nobody comes off confused or fearful of the implications of new technology (as we mentioned above) and keep initial and enduring resistance to a minimum.

5. Ensure a smooth integration

Nothing gets employees off side with new technology like teething problems and the fewer mishaps you have at launch, the less resistant your workers will be to adopting it into their professional lives. Remember that your employees judge their professional worth on the quality of their work and anything that threatens to compromise their work can quickly be rejected as not worth the hassle.

6. Setting cut off dates and deadlines

As we covered in our section on lack of urgency, sometimes employees can resist technology changes simply because there’s no push to integrate it into their work quickly. Encouraging technology adoption only works if there are clear expectations placed on employees right from the start and a firm date for full integration ensures everyone knows this is the case.

7. Revisiting and refreshing employee knowledge

After a successful technology integration, your employees should be happily utilising your chosen enhancements without issue. Old habits, however, can creep back in given time and a scheduled refresher can ensure that your workforce is still using the tech to its fullest.

Always keep in mind that tech resistance comes in many forms and what we’ve outlined in this article is only the start of a much deeper conversation. The more transparent you are about the place of new technology in your business, the more comfortable your employees will feel about adopting it into their work. This is the key to minimising tech resistance and by keeping what we’ve covered in this article in mind, you’re already off to a great start.

Interested in technology that employees love the moment they get their hands on it? AroFlo is a constantly evolving job management software that’s as easy to learn as it is to use. Check out what we offer here or book a demo and see for yourself why our software makes digital upskilling easy.


James Burgess

Content Specialist

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