Implementation of new technology into a business is only as good as the buy-in from the people who use it.
Throughout my career, I have seen cutting-edge systems, tools and platforms that could have revolutionised a particular company’s working practices fail to deliver because the implementation did not take existing company attitudes into account when the new technology was introduced.
It is a particularly common challenge to those industries, like property and construction, which have not traditionally sought tech skills in their staff. Further, it often occurs when the technology is brought on in a top-down fashion, dropped from above without a clear explanation of the new enhancement’s purpose or intention.
Here, it is important to remember new technology is often seen as change and not always a positive one. Lack of clear communication around such change often has the negative effect of fostering fear and uncertainty in the workforce, making people question their role in the organisation and, worse, their job security. If left unaddressed, this can gather momentum and lead to an atmosphere of distrust and disengagement.
Importantly, the introduction of new technology needs to be handled empathetically. Start by relating with the concerns of the workforce and showing them how the technology being integrated into their daily operations will have a positive effect.
Link it to their pain points and demonstrate how this innovation is going to remove them. Clearly communicate the motivation behind the investment, following by outlining the journey to meet the objective.
Then it is about bringing your team on that journey, training staff up, usually in tandem with the tech provider, to get them comfortable with using the tool. Once empowered to use the technology, employees will soon see the benefits, as they work more efficiently and achieve better results.
Effective introduction of technology is very much a people game. It is an inclusive exercise, and everyone in the company needs to be engaged with it across all levels of the business; technology needs to please the boot on the ground as much as the c-suite. Ultimately, if you can get everyone on board and able to see that the tools being brought in are going to help them do the job better, then you have already won half the battle, making it successful implementation and deployment across the business more likely.
Emily Hopson-Hill is chief operating officer at Zutec