Technology Reluctance in the Workplace

This is a topic that really resonates with me. Having spent most of my career in the digital and tech industry, I have been fortunate enough to have been exposed to great tools and efficient processes. While taking an e-business program, one of my colleagues had a specific agenda: to digitally improve her family business (an iconic clothing store in Toronto). Her father, the founder of the business, had only given in to having a website a couple of years prior. It was very basic, lacked product information and was without e-commerce functionality. When pointing out its limitations, she was always met with resistance. You could sense her immense frustration with the ‘it ain’t broke’ argument, but she was educating herself so that she could offer an informed response as to how it was, in fact, broken.

There are typically three major arguments to the adoption of new technologies in the workplace:

1. Cost
2. Thinking a new tool/technology will require learning and actually slow things down
3. ‘We’ve always done it this way’

Tips:

1. Present an ROI for the tool. If it takes ‘employee A’ 10 hours to complete the task of the tool, and they make approximately Y euros an hour, this may cost the company more than the cost of the tool.
2. Request a demo from a provider. Sometimes people just need to see all the wonderful functionality preformed in front of them to get an understanding of how it could help them.
3. Remind them that we evolved from the carrier pigeon to the email. Yes, it took some adapting (especially for the pigeon), but we’ve come through as more productive and informed human beings. If you want to provide them with a more relatable anecdote: fax machines and dial up modems. How awful those things seem now!
4. Instill some fear- yes this sounds terrible, but it’s a reality. You can bury your head in the sand, but there is a good chance that your competitor has chosen not to. I recall my friend mentioning that the sales reps at her company still did not have smart phones. These were client facing sales reps that spent more time on the road than they did in front of their computers. Because of this, the expectation had been set that unless they were in the office, you couldn’t really connect with them. Think about what this actually cost the company in productivity over the cost of purchasing new phones for the team?

Basically, be well informed on the tool, the market, the overall costs (both in productivity and the actual tool) and why it is essential that you have it.


 

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