How to introduce a new tool in the workplace (part 2)

Last week, we shared some tips to help you overcome resistance to change in the workplace. Turns out, there are a more things you can do to prevent reluctance to adopt a new tool at the office.

You’re in luck, as we have further suggestions to help you be more efficient in implementing new ways, software or tools to get work done. We find that the key is to use psychology in your favour in order to get your colleagues to transition to the new tool. You also need to emphasize on the bottom line and benefits for the organization; this is especially important to entice higher management to be open to trying new things.

We understand it’s easier said than done, so here are a couple of tricks we still have up our sleeve to assist you in your endeavour.

It’s OK to admit that there is a better way

Unwillingness to acknowledge that current processes or tools are ineffective or could be improved is a major red herring. If you can’t get your peers to recognize that what you’re doing is not optimal, it might be difficult to get them to change their ways.

So why not get them involved from the beginning? Set a short meeting to discuss current work processes and tools. Promise them that they won’t be judged for sharing their opinions, and try to evaluate the situation objectively, from all angles.

Use this as an opportunity to identify what could be improved in your workflow. Then, brainstorm on solutions. Perhaps your colleagues will have even better ideas than what you had in mind. Being solution-driven will get everyone in the right mindset to try new things that could improve their performance and contribution at work.

A new tool is not a punishment

Often times, people are wary of using a new tool, because they are afraid it could be used against them by management. Indeed, they might see new apps, software or operating procedures as a threat – another way for the boss to control or critique their work.

Positive Punishment?

Be very honest with your team, and make it clear to them that you are not introducing a reporting tool (unless you are; then, it is especially important to be transparent about your intentions). Explain what the tool is, and what it does. Show your people how it will improve productivity. Make them understand that you are trying to implement this new tool to help the team work better and to positively impact their flow.

Demonstrate how productivity will be enhanced

It’s not that easy to quantify incremental productivity improvements to justify the use of a new tool. Cutting down an hour of work into 10 minutes is a no brainer, but cutting 15 minutes into 10 minutes is much less tangible. Spend some time with the tool and a timer and make sure to be able to quantify the benefit. It will sell way more easily.

Also, it is often convenient to show how the tool will help in context than to vaguely insist that it will save you time. Explain how a specific task will take X minutes less to do, and you’ll get people interested. Numbers help people stay grounded in reality and understand the real potential behind the tool you’re trying to implement. This is why you need to spend some time analyzing and quantifying benefits: to get people intrigued and eager to try that new tool!

The tool must NOT get in the way

Many tools are intrusive and user UNfriendly. They have a steep learning curve and force people to take the time to learn, understand and adapt their behaviour to the tool. This is why tools that provide a bad user experience are almost never adopted across an entire company. It takes too much time and effort to get involved, and the returns might just not seem worth it to the average user.

Bloatware, sigh.

However, simple tools that make your job easier or that save you time in getting tasks done will tend to come out on top. Users will naturally flock to them in droves. This is why Skype or Dropbox have been successful from the beginning, whereas bloated intranet tools are struggling to reach moderate adoption levels.

Create a habit, but steer clear of the carrot and stick approach

In order to start using a new product, people have to learn how to use it. Learning can be difficult. It also takes time so as a result, most people shy away from it.

The best way to keep up with a new system -and to ensure it benefits your team- is to use it. Again and again. People need to form the habit of coming back to your tool regularly. We understand that it may be difficult at first; after all, habit formation is hard (no wonder there is an entire self-help industry built around it!), especially when motivation is lacking.

That is one angry carrot!

As the instigator of the project, you need to show leadership by example. Encourage your team to use your new tool and congratulate them when they show initiative. But don’t fall into the trap of the carrot and stick approach; as several experts have pointed out, it simply doesn’t work. Punishing your colleagues will simply make them loathe the new tool even more. And rewards? They tend to make people jealous, which might (slowly but surely) wreak havoc on your team.

Instead, set expectations, build trust and give your people honest feedback. Show your colleagues how the tool can help them feel better about the way they work and improve what they contribute to the organization.

Good job!

We hope our tips help you and your team successfully implement a new tool or procedure at the office. Keep in mind that these pointers can be applied to just about anything involving a change of behaviour; it’s not only about introducing new software. New project, new member on your team or new way to do things – these can all face some level of resistance. Hopefully now you’ll be able to expertly maneuver around those setbacks to bring your team to the next level.

Did we forget anything? Do you have any other tricks to share with us? Or perhaps suggestions on what NOT to do? After all, we can learn from failure just as much as we can from success! So, what’s your secret to implementing change?

2 thoughts on “How to introduce a new tool in the workplace (part 2)

  1. Pingback: The 5 barriers to knowledge management | Crowdbase Blog

  2. Pingback: When employees leave | Crowdbase Blog

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