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Implementing new technology? Don't forget about non-technical employees.

Remember when Microsoft launched Windows 8? I know right. Who doesn’t remember the horror? Most of us were doing just fine with Windows Vista. How could they do such a thing?

Well, the truth is, they have no choice. With technology evolving at such a fast pace, Microsoft and many other companies are challenged to keep innovating their products and services in order to stay competitive. The same applies for companies looking to implement the latest technology to improve the performance of their teams.

For some, the new tech is exciting and they can’t wait to be able to implement them in their daily routines. We call them the innovators and early adopters. They crave new gadgets and want to be the first to get their hands on the innovative technology. This group is usually quite knowledgeable and have done the research ahead of time to prepare for the upcoming changes.

Apple iPhone 5 Launch Day

Although you might have some of these individuals in your workforce, the bulk of your employees will find themselves in the groups known as early majority or late majority. This group is not particularly crazy for innovation and changes, however, they are willing to embrace it and know that they will be better off despite the initial learning curve.

Finally, we have the laggards. This group is your non-technical friends or those not willing to change and implement new technology. They live by the motto: If it ain't broken don’t fix it.

While sometimes I'm sure we would all love to go back to the simple days when Blackberry was the only phone considered as “smart” and we could impress our audience with a simple presentation. Change is all around us and whether we like it or not, sometimes we need to embrace it.

If you find yourself in the laggard group or have employees that match this description. It is important to remember their discomfort with new technologies. We see this all the time in businesses of all shapes and sizes. Plan ahead and make sure you take all the necessary steps to soften the company's latest implementation. To help you achieve this goal, we have compiled a list of helpful tips to consider for the well-being of the nontechnical employees in your organisation.

Tip #1: Anticipate the Resistance

Whether you like it or not, there will always resistance to change. While the reasons for their opposition may vary, make sure you anticipate the potential contradictions and prepare your rebuttal by having a clearly defined solution to the potential downfalls they might face with the new changes.

Tip #2: Clarify the needs

No one likes change, we have determined this. However, sometimes change is inevitable or the simply the most logical approach. If this is your case, defend it. Make sure your staff know the vision and reasoning behind the changes and the impacts that this will bring to your company. In order for your employees to commit to learning a new system, they need to understand the reasons behind the orders.

Tip #3: Provide some training

Provide helpful documentation or links to some resources presented by the technology provider. Even better, offer a mandatory training session to help guide your staff through the changes. Many companies provide online courses or video tutorials/presentations to ease the pain of learning new features, therefore you shouldn't have to worry about having little information to educate your workforce. If you are finding it hard to find helpful resources, perhaps you aren't implementing the right technology. 

Tip #4: Use creative communications tools

If your Staff isn’t engaging with your documentation mix it up! Use pictures, Gifs, slide decks or even a website to present the new technology—whatever it takes to engage your listeners and program your subject in their minds.

Tip #5: Allocate Enough Time for Implementation

We see this way too often. Some companies try to rush through the implementation stages which can create many issues for the whole team not only those non-technical ones. As you can imagine, your laggards need additional time to understand the systems and be comfortable before they are left alone with the new technology. Therefore, make sure that the implementation of your new systems is not done overnight. You should also dedicate some extra time for any potential hiccups. Furthermore, this process should take place when the company is not in the middle of their busiest periods.

Tip #6: All-stars

It is important to have one or several natural born leaders and motivators that will support the project and ensure that the implementation of your new technology is positively accepted throughout the organisation. Find your All-stars. We all have them. These employees or managers are trusted and respected throughout the organisation and bring a positive aura to any room they step into. They can also be the liaison between the employees and management when issues arise.

There are many ways to ensure your new technology easily adopted by your entire organisation, especially your non-technical employees. At the end of the day, it comes down to preparation. If you are well prepared and have every angle covered, the implementation of your new technology will often be accepted with open arms. However, it is important that you think of everyone’s abilities and positions when making these decisions as you are altering someone’s routine and placing them in a new and uncomfortable environment.

Change takes time and preparation. If these simple tips might be useful for your next operational transformation, it may be helpful for others as well. So, please share it with your network if you think they might be rushing into new tech or forgetting about stragglers still trying to figure their way through the old system.

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