4 tips for implementing new technology (without stressing out your team)

While you may not be able to make the technology adoption process totally frictionless, you can make it easier for your team.

The famous engineer and inventor Charles Kettering once said, “People are very open-minded about new things—as long as they’re exactly like the old ones.”

This statement rings especially true when companies adopt new technology. For employees, trying to learn a new tool on top of ongoing responsibilities can be stressful and time-consuming—which can lead to resistance toward the new tool. In a Yoh survey of 1,200 U.S. employees, 68% of respondents said they “face challenges with their workplace software technology,” including difficulty learning the software and consistent technology changes.

While you may not be able to make the technology adoption process totally frictionless, you can make it easier for your team. We’re sharing a few of our best tips for implementing new technology in the workplace with minimal stress and workflow interruptions.

Implement new technology to a small group of users first

Introduce the tool to a small pilot or trial group, and you’ll be able to work out kinks before rolling out the changes to the whole team.

The group can be volunteer employees, a specific department, project managers, or even the leadership team. As the “guinea pigs,” they absorb some of the responsibilities and hesitation that come with trying something new. These early adopters can share feedback about what works, what doesn’t work, and what features will be best suited for your organization. Keep track of this input in a Slack channel, or a forum in Threads for future reference.

From there, leadership can use the insights to develop guidelines around the whole organization using the technology. For example, maybe certain software integrations or security measures within the new technology the group found particularly beneficial. Those can then be included in ongoing processes and onboarding.

Make the transition slow and steady

Once the pilot or trial group has tested the product, it’s time to open the tool to the rest of your organization.

Roll out the new technology slowly. This will allow your team members to dip their toes in the water and get used to the new process rather than diving into the deep end right away. It may be tempting to jump in head first, but rapid implementation can cause confusion and unneeded stress for employees. Keep the tool adoption gradual by setting goals around employees using the technology at a reasonable pace.

Say you’re adding Threads to your stack of communication tools. Rather than transitioning every discussion to Threads right away, your team could try hosting just one, recurring asynchronous “meeting” on Threads during the first week. As team members warm up to using Threads’ features, like inline comments and scheduling, you can hold more asynchronous discussions on the platform in the following weeks.

Provide proper training and ongoing support

Keep in mind that employees likely won’t feel comfortable with new technology right away. A study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology notes it takes 18-254 days for a person to form a new habit. Consider providing ongoing support and training around the tool to help employees adjust during this transition period.

First, set a “go-to” person for employees to contact if they need help. Consider someone who was part of the initial pilot or trial group, or a knowledgeable customer support representative from the company that offers the technology. Either way, having a point of contact can help reduce stress and anxiety.

Next, set up live or recorded training sessions so employees can see the technology in action, walk through various features, and ask questions as they go. Keep in mind everyone has different learning styles and skill levels, so provide a variety of training opportunities that collectively accommodate all employees, regardless of disability, economic status, age, etc.

Consider adjusting existing workloads to ensure everyone has enough time to participate in training and learn the software or tech. Collaborate with leadership, clients, and other key stakeholders to help shift deadlines and prioritize accordingly.

Solicit user feedback regularly

Once the technology is fully implemented at your organization, your work isn’t over. Be sure to regularly ask team members who are using the tool day in and day out what they think of the technology.

Thanks to their feedback, you’ll be able to make the most of the tool. Plus, employees will likely feel more engaged because you involved them in the decision-making process and asked for their input. And according to research from Gallup, engaged employees produce substantially better outcomes, build stronger customer relationships, and are more likely to remain with the company.

Collect this feedback by hosting 1:1s and team meetings to discuss specific pain points and goals with using the tech. Some team members may not feel comfortable speaking up, so you can also send out anonymous engagement surveys to collect honest opinions.

Technology constantly evolves, and new tech is always coming available, so it’s important to document progress. Continue to share any and all feedback along the way using Threads or a similar communication tool, so it’s easy to access and review. The leadership team can use these insights to update processes, improve training, and decide if and how to use the technology in the future.

Showcase the technology’s value

If you’re proposing a new tool to your organization, the value of implementing new technology probably seems obvious to you. But to the rest of the company, these benefits might not seem so clear—especially when they’re struggling to adapt to the new technology.

That’s why highlighting the tool’s value is key to successful implementation. Explain how the technology meets core business needs and benefits employees at the individual, department, and company levels. By focusing on the tool’s value, you’ll be more likely to get buy-in from the whole team and achieve maximum benefits from the new software or tool.