There’s no doubt that advances in technology are changing the way we work. SEEK research reveals that while 2 in 3 (64%) Australians believe their job will exist in 10 years’ time, more than half (56%) believe they’ll need to learn new skills as a result of technological advances.
So, how can you equip your employees to adapt, learn and embrace new technology? We speak to two experts to find out.
Why moving forward matters
Natasha Hawker, director of Employee Matters says the wave of incoming tech to workplaces will only increase – bringing benefits with it. “Technology frees up resources for tasks that require more creativity and emotional intelligence,” she says.
According to Hawker, organisations that are early tech adopters are more likely to succeed thanks to the head start they have on their competitors. But in order to take advantage of the benefits of new technology, employees need to feel comfortable and confident.
“Many employers don’t invest or sufficiently consider the change management program that needs to accompany technological changes,” Hawker says. “There needs to be a significant emphasis on training and education.”
Explain and train
Rather than sharing a new technology and expecting employees to automatically embrace it and use it effectively, Hawker advises employers to approach it with three key strategies.
1. Implement a change and communications program
Employees need to know why new technology is being introduced, the benefits, how and when it will be implemented and the support they will receive. “You need to provide ongoing training for employees,” Hawker says. Consider having a staff member who is experienced with the new technology mentor employees who need extra support.
2. Incentivise using the new systems
“Introducing a rewards and recognition program can encourage employees to embrace the new technology,” Hawker says. “Setting up a leader board can also assist.” Keeping up to date with new technology can also be built into employees’ performance goals and annual review.
3. Be open to feedback
It’s likely that introducing new tools and systems will have some teething problems, so be sure to ask employees for their feedback. Acknowledge any challenges that they’ve encountered and work together to help them overcome any issues.
How one company adapted and doubled their online sales
After being in business for 20 years, Water Filters Australia (WFA) had a problem. Their customer relationship management (CRM) technology was outdated and cumbersome, and didn’t provide information in real-time. “We felt that working with old technology was preventing us from reaching our full potential,” says director Craig Hannam. “We reached a point where we couldn’t move forward with the systems we had.” The company onboarded Zoho CRM, a cloud software, to help automate processes and streamline the business.
WFA has a call centre team where where some employees have used the same systems for years. Hannam says there was “a little trepidation” about the new technology initially from employees. “But the software is user-friendly, so getting the team up to speed was more seamless than we anticipated,” he says. In order to support employees adapting to the new technology, the company developed detailed procedure manuals and provided regular staff training.
WFA now automates a lot of their communication with their B2C customers and as a result, online sales have doubled. “We’ve also saved over $150,000 as a result of improved operational efficiencies,” Hannam says. “I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending new technology to other small businesses.”
Introducing new technology to a workplace isn’t always a smooth process. But by following these strategies you’ll be able help employees embrace new skills and systems, and make changes for the better in your organisation.
Source: Independent research conducted by Nature on behalf of SEEK. Interviewing 4800 Australians annually