5 Tips for Implementing New Technology in the Workplace

Two male coworkers collaborating on a laptop

Implementing new technology in the workplace is crucial for maintaining your competitive advantage. Small businesses that don’t stay up to date get left behind. 

But as we all know, the implementation process can be a huge headache. One-on-one training, hosting presentations, and getting key stakeholders on board is so much effort…and tends to hinder day-to-day work.

To help you on your way, here are 5 actionable steps to help streamline the adoption of new technology in your small business. 

To help illustrate each step, we’re going to use a hypothetical landscaping company called ‘Lucky Landscapes Inc.’ that is looking to replace its dated, existing systems with new fleet tracking software.

A New Tech Story: Brian and Lucky Landscapes Inc.

Lucky Landscapes is a 10 year old small business with just north of 80 employees. Brian, who’s been described as a more capable and respected ‘Michael Scott,’ is the owner and operator of the business. 

It recently came to his attention that a lot of his headaches could be addressed with new technology. 

His nephew, Tom, works in operations at a meal kit delivery startup. The other day, he mentioned that his job “is 10 times easier” after his company implemented a new tool to their tech stack that optimizes fleet management.

Brian was intrigued. He’d never heard of anything like that. And he wondered whether it might be useful for Lucky Landscapes’ business needs since it owns and maintains 10 trucks. After reading up on the merits of a vehicle tracking solution he decided there and then that Lucky Landscapes would adopt something similar. But he wasn’t exactly looking forward to telling his tech-allergic team. 

If you’re in the same boat as Brian, here are 5 ways to implement new technologies in the workplace and get buy-in from your employees:

1. Gather Input and Set Expectations

Brian understands the people on his team well. He knew the journey to successfully implement a new technology would have its challenges, but he knew there was more value in adopting the new system than keeping the status quo. So, he made it clear the change would happen.

His first step was emailing his staff to set expectations and ask for opinions on the potential solutions he narrowed the decision down to. As expected, he only received a handful of positive replies, a few grumbles, and a lot of silence. 

But the responses he got were thoughtful. A few folks took the time to explain some important concerns and intriguing benefits he hadn’t considered. It also helped him identify who was on board and who wasn’t.

Takeaways for your business

If you’ve identified the need for new technologies, but haven’t identified what tool to adopt, then you might consider including employees in the decision-making process. We recommend narrowing it down to 3 choices max. 

If you already know the exact technology you intend to implement, then it’s still worth asking the members of your team for their opinions. Their negative and positive feedback will help you uncover anxieties, frustrations, motivations, and desires. This information will be instrumental in bringing your people on board.

Additionally, when you ask for someone’s input, they become invested in the outcome and take ownership. So instead of being a pain, you position the implementation process as a collaborative challenge.

2. Leverage Influencers and Early Adopters

Brian had a relatively strict timeline in mind, so he chose to focus his efforts on the most influential and most easily influenced members of his team.

The one person with the most potential influence was Cyndi, the dispatcher. She’s great at her job, but she’s not really the tech-savvy type. If Brian got her to adapt to the new technology, then most of his staff would follow.

He identified a few individuals from the information gathering step who seemed eager on the idea. He gave them early access to the software and got them involved in the planning. He also kept an open dialogue with them to get their feedback on how the technology could improve the organizations’ efficiency and productivity. 

Takeaways for your business

There will always be people reluctant to change, no matter how small your business. But there should be some keen adopters too. 

If your entire office/team is against the decision, then that should raise some alarm bells. Is management aligned with the people in the trenches? Is ROI being weighted disproportionately in light of other considerations? 

At this stage, you need champions: early users who will actively support your decision to other employees and lead by example. You should consider two groups:

  1. Early adopters
  2. Influencers

Early adopters should hopefully become apparent from the information gathering stage. Give them early access to the new technology and empower them with support to ensure they enjoy the new solution enough to promote it and identify problems.  

You want to target key influencers in your organization because winning these people over means you win many people over. Ideally, some of these high-leverage individuals will warm to the idea right off the bat. If they’re reluctant—like Cyndi from our example—it’s still worth trying early on because their approval will make the transition (and your job) much easier.

3. Cater to Different Learning Styles

Brian doesn’t expect employees to all learn the same way. His staff is very diverse in their education levels, personalities, and communication styles, so he knew he needed to educate based on many types of learning styles. 

Not wanting to reinvent the wheel, he leaned on the fleet tracking software account manager assigned to Lucky Landscapes. He specifically requested:

  • Reading materials
  • Video and audio recordings of a product demo
  • Interactive digital training sessions
  • In-person training

Brian budgeted both the time and space for the people on his teams to absorb the new technology in their own way.

Takeaways for your business

This step is easy to overlook and challenging to execute. But if you cater to individuals in terms they understand, then you’ll make the learning curve a lot smoother. And we guarantee your team will appreciate it, too. 

The 7 types of learning styles include: visual, aural, verbal, kinesthetic, logical, solitary, and social. These learning styles refer to the senses people use the most when retaining information. As you’re onboarding staff to your new technology, perhaps some employees will need to watch a video to understand concepts fully, while others will learn by doing. Although most people learn best from a range of teaching techniques, knowing your employees’ preferred learning styles will help you be better understood and streamline the transition. 

4. Tailor Your Message

Brian is a respected leader. He occasionally gets in the trenches himself, and he spends a lot of time shooting the breeze with his staff. 

This means he’s aware of the problems his teams experience and things that might excite them. Additionally, Brian picked up some complaints and intriguing ideas he hadn’t considered during his information-gathering stage.

Armed with this information, Brian positioned the fleet management software in the best light possible. For example:

  • His drivers were anxious about being tracked, so he steered the conversation towards vehicle safety and saving the driver time.
  • Cyndi (the dispatcher) showed resistance to big change, so he walked her through all the administrative tasks that would be simplified or removed entirely.

Takeaways for your business

In the first stage, you gathered information from your people. Hopefully, you listened well and internalized their feedback. Because now you’re going to apply that feedback to position the new software effectively. 

You can have the best training materials and account manager, but if you aren’t speaking to your people in terms they care about then you’ll go nowhere fast. 

When you gather feedback, people tend to complain about some things and get excited about others. To your staff, your implementation plan should feel tailored to their needs and frustrations. The new software will address certain pain points, and it’s your job to communicate this to your employees effectively. Similarly, you should be able to highlight the benefits so your employees feel like the product is meant for them. 

5. Continue the Implementation Process With What Works

Brian had high hopes for swaying Cyndi. And while she eventually came around, her approval wasn’t as critical for widespread success like he expected.

But his efforts to nurture interest with his early adopters did manage to gain traction. The enthusiasm of the initial innovators was contagious enough to spread through Lucky Landscapes. Brian identified this early success and was quick to praise and support these individuals. 

Doubling down on the natural diffusion of innovation, he was able to get most of his people on board within his expected timeline.

Takeaways for your business

As you roll out new systems or technologies, some implementation efforts fail, and others succeed. When you see traction with a strategy, individual, or team, you should focus your time and energy on that.

Similarly, if your initial plans fail to pan out, then don’t be afraid to pivot. You may need to tweak who you’re focusing on, what teams are involved, how you’re positioning the technology or even logistical integrations. Keep monitoring and iterating.

Successfully Implement New Technologies in a Small Business

Getting your entire company on board with new tech is full of challenges. Some employees are tech-resistant and uncooperative. But new technologies are valuable for your organization so it is of the utmost importance to create onboarding strategies that work. 

If you’re ready to implement a new technology in your small business, try Force Fleet Tracking’s GPS tracking software. Start a free trial and discover how a new system can boost productivity and profitability in the workplace.

Published September 20, 2021
Matt Davis
Matt Davis
Director of Marketing
Force Fleet Tracking