Technology Trends: How to Get Employees to Buy In
Whether it be social media, websites, or online listings, there is a plethora of ways that dealerships can use technology nowadays to elevate their business to the next level. Is your dealership taking advantage of technology to run a more efficient and ultimately successful business?
As leading providers of innovative solutions that connect buyers and sellers in the marine industry, we’re committed to using this blog series to help dealers reach more customers. Today we’re talking about how to get dealership employees to buy into technology solutions!!
It’s a tale as old as business itself. A manager has what they believe to be a great new idea or innovation that can really shake up the current way of doing things and exponentially boost productivity and profits. But then, the shake-up rattles employees who are set in their ways or who don’t understand or don’t like the new idea. The boss gets angry and insists on the change more forcefully; employees get defensive and morale suffers; and some people have adopted the new idea while others have not, creating confusion, wasting time, and tanking productivity. You can cut the lingering tension with a knife.
It’s never good when employees in a marine dealership are operating on different pages, or when salespeople and support teams miss opportunities to succeed. Especially considering the benefits that technology can have on productivity and profits, it is so important to get dealership employees to buy into technology solutions and avoid the disaster described above. So, we’ve collected a number of tips for encouraging employees to adopt new technology. Let’s jump in:
- Get Employee Input: Preempt employee resistance to new technology by investing them in the change through a collaborative process that involves all relevant people and departments affected by the new technology. From the head of the company to the newest entry level employee, be sure to connect with everyone who would come into contact or be affected by the new technology and genuinely solicit their input. Actively listening to employees can not only reveal important advice and help guide you to the right technology, it also helps workers feel valued and that they have a personal stake in the success of implementing the new change. This is your first step in getting employees to buy into new technology.
- Pick the Right Product: This may seem counterintuitive when discussing new, advanced technology, but keep things simple. Flashy features can be very exciting, but you need to focus on the core of the technology that will be implemented in the majority of the tasks for which it’s used. More than fun supplements, employees want technology that is intuitive and user-friendly, minimizes complications, and fits into their workflow without major disruptions. At the end of the day, employees will most appreciate your choice of technology that gets the main job done efficiently and effectively, so prioritize the primary functions over any distracting extra features.
- Plan the Roll-Out: Once the technology is chosen, you’ll need to strategically design an implementation plan that creates a seamless transition for your employees. One thing to consider as you plan your roll-out will be setting a smart timeline, which requires you to determine when the new technology is available, when you will require employees to adopt it, and when the old technology will be totally eliminated. You’ll also need to decide if implantation will happen all at once to keep all employees on the same page, or if it will occur in increments so the technology can be test-driven before expanding to the whole company. These decisions will vary by your business and the technology, but are very important to consider if you want a positive transition for employees.
- Facilitate Training: Don’t throw your employees into the cold; instead warm them up to new technology use through training that is dynamic and customized by department or individual. When your workers feel that they are familiar with new technology and have the ability to use it competently — and when the learning process is flexible and fun — employees will not only be more likely to lean into the transition, they may even look forward to fully adopting the change. And training should not be a one-time thing, rather you should facilitate ongoing learning about the technology so that employees can be reminded of the fundamentals and learn about any updates or new features.
- Emphasize Value: Throughout decision-making, training, and implementation, continue to highlight the many benefits of the technology and how its adoption is advantageous for the employees and for the business. To effectively make your case, be sure to state the logical case for the technology, cite all the research you’ve done that confirms the decision, and appeal to the personal value it will have for each worker. It will also be important to emphasize the immediate wins that your company gains in the early stages of using the technology. This reminds employees that the change was the right call and encourages them to continue implementation.
- Recruit Influencers: No matter the business or the workers, some employees hold more social sway than others among their coworkers. Some leaders are powerful managers, others are respected peers, but both are influencers who can contribute to overall employee morale and impact worker behaviors. You need influencers on your side, so any business looking to implement new technology should make concerted efforts to reach out to such leaders, convince them of the value of the change, and recruit them to be champions of the transition in both formal and informal ways. Do this, and other employees will follow the influencers.
- Rewards & Penalties: It wouldn’t be management if you weren’t considering a system of rewards and penalties for employee behavior. Setting goals for mastering various aspects of the new technology is a great way to determine who earns rewards. Competitions that incorporate the technology can also be fun ways to encourage mastery. You don’t want the change to be associated with punishments, but if nothing else works, penalties for not adopting the new technology will have to be considered, especially if workers’ production relies on the change. Be fair, but firm.
- Communicate, Track, & Adapt: Discussions with your employees should not be limited to the introduction of the new technology. Continue to communicate and solicit feedback from your employees throughout training, adoption, and early stages of using the technology. It not only helps workers feel valued — similar to getting their initial input — but it also helps you identify weak points in the implementation of the technology and adapt accordingly. You should also be tracking productivity and profits, so you know that the change is effectively serving its purpose of improving your business. Keeping tabs on both quantitative and qualitative effects of the technology helps you know if any further changes need to be made.
At the end of the day, the key to getting employees to buy-in to new technology is to fairly consider their perspective throughout the decision-making and implementation processes. And, of course, the best way to know what they think about your proposed change is to talk with them directly. Take the time to engage with your employees, and everyone should benefit from the successful adoption of new technology!