Why your employees resist digitalization and how to change it
People are by nature resistant to change and not fond of adapting to new procedures. We examined the reasons why and how to overcome these psychological barriers.
Many company owners and managers realize that digital transformation is now a must. However, it’s common to hear tales of employees refusing to accept change and adapt to innovations and new methods.
We’ve all heard the cliché that people don’t like change, but do you know why?
The first reason is that it is easier for children to learn new things than for the adults. Children basically perceive all impulses as new while adults have to first “unlearn” the old to learn the new. The impulse to learn can be our fear of the future, realizing that if we don’t change, something unfavorable happens.
Our deep-rooted fear of the unknown is an even stronger psychological barrier. Old patterns, routine, and force of habit are safe and familiar. Change brings instability, poses risk to our position, and is disruptive.
The fear of the unknown is expressed by doubts and lack of faith in meaningfulness and success of the change. Many employees have experience with companies having failed to adopt changes in the past.
The first reaction to change is usually defensive. Employees choose the path of silent ignorance, continue to do their job, and wait for the change efforts to end. The irony is that it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Digital adoption fails because the people don’t believe in its success.
What can we do about change aversion?
According to Leon Festinger, psychologist at Stanford University, people tend to act in compliance with their attitudes. On the other hand, should they act inconsistently with their beliefs, a tension develops in their mind. This is an involuntary reaction called cognitive dissonance by Festinger, saying that behavioral changes affect the rationalization and adoption of new attitudes.
To take this away from tech, one example would be a meat eater justifying their meat consumption by saying it’s necessary and natural. If, whatever the reason, these people become vegetarians, they often accordingly change their behavior and also change their approach towards meat consumption.
Effective way to introduce change in your organization is to harmonize the employees’ attitudes and actions.
Therefore, you should first communicate the reasons for change in a clear and consistent manner and highlight the purpose and values of the goal.
The change in employees’ attitude follows the creation of a suitable training and support tools to strengthen the new way of behavior. Change in outer behavior often results in change of inner approach.
Keep reading and find out what are the steps to support the change in attitude and behavior even stronger.
Make changes more attractive (and accessible)
Digital transformation at your company will run more smoothly shall you pay attention to making the digital adoption and employee onboarding process more attractive.
Why shouldn’t the adoption of new tools be more fun and interesting?
You can use multimedia content, interactive gaming elements or virtual trainers with fresh graphics and visuals who automatically offer users help when they need it.
Whatever you do, delivering support and communication in-app will be critical to furthering its success.
Focus on active learning
Active, unlike passive, learning is a learning activity in which employees learn new technologies along the way. It is similar to the trial-and-error method applied when you were learning to swim or ride a bicycle.
All of us have experienced that this is a much more effective method than passive learning, with a teacher in the front of the classroom and students taking notes.
It is crucial to create a safe environment and let the employees find their own way. Even after the training you should provide them with continual support and consultations.
Digital adoption platforms, such as AppLearn Adopt, allow you to automate support. The benefit is that the hints can be found whenever and wherever, providing relevant information to solve the problem.
The employees don’t have to contact the support team by phone, ask colleagues for help, nor look up the information in manuals.
Customize the learning rate
Personalized, self-paced learning methods would be once considered a fairytale. With current technologies however, such training is now a common practice.
Companies can now create digital, customized employee training, dividing employees into categories based on their location, language, login rate, experience, user role or training completion level.
Thanks to such categorization, each user finds a guide with relevant content. Newcomers receive basic tips and experienced users advanced ones.
Working with a solution like AppLearn Adopt, this virtual training can be easily integrated in any common corporate app, such as Workday, SAP, Salesforce or SharePoint.
Change aversion may not be going away any time soon, but we now have more ways to make change management more manageable than ever. The best businesses are already using technology to do this, and there’s no reason why you can’t do the same.