By Kelly Smith, content manager at Career FAQs
Transitioning to new technology in the workplace can be difficult for everyone involved; not just the IT folks that are dealing with it on the backend.
The largest difficulty is often with bringing your front-end users on board once the system is fully operational.
Trying to get employees to see how the technology is going to benefit them, as well as the company, is sometimes one of the hardest obstacles to overcome when phasing in new hardware, software, or communication applications. We’ve compiled a list of strategies to help you train your employees for a smooth transition.
Consider your users
This is where effective managers will start. Identify those employees who are quick to learn and adopt new practices, as well as those who struggle with change and technology.
You may find that this correlates with a generational difference, though not always. Your tried-and-true employees are likely to be more familiar with older systems, and may feel at a disadvantage against the younger generation who are quicker to adapt to technology.
Make sure that you are paying attention to these differences, and be certain that you are fully supporting those who may have more difficulty.
Keep employees informed as the transition approaches, and take the time to answer any questions they may have about how it will affect their work
Don’t surprise your staff with the rollout of a new system without adequate preparation. Let them know well ahead of time that there is a transition coming, what its purpose is, what the benefits are, and when they can expect to be trained.
Being open and up front about it will help to reduce some of the anxiety that many feel when faced with learning a new routine. Keep employees informed as the transition approaches, and take the time to answer any questions they may have about how it will affect their work.
Train management first
If your staff sees their superiors fumbling with the new product, it will decrease morale and lead to questions about whether or not it was a good decision.
Have key leaders sit in on important meetings before the rollout, and give them time to work with and understand the system before you ‘go live’. Employees with questions will want to know that they can rely on their managers to help them with any troubles they’re having. It is important to instil confidence in the technology in order for it to succeed, and having management present a united front will help ease everyone’s minds.
A hands-on approach
For most individuals, information is better absorbed by working with the technology directly, rather than trying to have them remember information from a video or lecture.
It’s best to work with small groups, where people can have one-on-one access to the trainer, and preferably in groups of individuals with similar abilities. While some people may be quick to pick up on new technologies, others may struggle and may need more direction.
Make answers accessible
In addition to small group settings where employees can ask any questions that come up during training, you will want to ensure that employees can easily access IT personnel to help them with any issues that come up during the rollout of the new technology.
For most individuals, information is better absorbed by working with the technology directly, rather than trying to have them remember information from a video or lecture
Have someone on hand that can come and help in person, rather than trying to get people to understand the process via email. Supporting those that are struggling will make your transition smoother.
Getting everyone on board
Many employees, particularly those that have been around longer, may find the technology to be a threat to their position, and will be reluctant to jump on the tech bandwagon. These people tend to think that technology is being brought in to phase them out.
Reassure your employees that their jobs are secure, and that the upgrade is designed to make their jobs easier once it is fully implemented.
About the blogger
Kelly Smith works as a content manager at Career FAQs, Australia’s leading portal featuring online business courses.
She is interested in everything related to digital as well as new tech solutions and self-improvement ideas.