Why are we weary of emerging technologies?

It seems that there’s a new emerging technology every week. So many of us can be forgiven for having entered into a kind of technology fatigue, in which emerging technologies become something to be avoided, perhaps even feared.

Or perhaps we’re just tired of constantly having to try and keep up with them.

What Causes Technology Fatigue?

So, why has this technology fatigue entered the equation? There are a few possible reasons:

  1. We feel that no sooner have we learned one system than we have to start over with the next. This is particularly true of software updates; even minor and incremental changes can eventually build fatigue and it’s a truism that nobody ever likes the website redesign. Until the next one, when they suddenly love it and want it back.
  2. The fear of the robots replacing us is growing. Some people have started refusing to use self checkouts because they feel bad that stores appear to be replacing cashiers (sometimes this is true, sometimes the technology is being used to free humans for more important things). People are afraid of losing power or their lifestyle, or even of descending into poverty. Many people also define their identity in part by the work they do.

Between those two factors, it’s unsurprising that employees will start to resist change. They may refuse to install software updates (which can end up including vital security patches), protest openly, or complain to each other around the water cooler, ruining morale. Some employees have been known to protest in ways which are destructive.

What if We Just Hold Off?

Unfortunately, holding off on adopting or ignoring emerging technologies can be literally fatal to a company’s business model. Companies which are left behind can end up going all the way out of business and becoming forgotten, or held up as a poster child. Who remembers Blockbuster or Borders?

So, companies have to find a balance between embracing emerging technologies and angering their workforce.

How Do You Decide Which Technologies to Embrace?

One way to keep the balance is to not embrace every single new technology that shows up. And you have two sources of information as to which technologies to use: Your employees, and your customers.

Satisfying the needs of your customers is always a goal. If customers are also resistant to a new technology, then you might consider not adopting it for now. If customers are embracing it, then you need to deal with it even if employees are resistant.

This means you have to deal with employee resistance, which primarily involves redirecting the attention of your employees to the positive aspects of the new technology. Warning them about a new UI and going through the new features and how to use them before pushing it, for example, can avoid the phenomenon of “everyone hates the new design” to a degree. People are naturally somewhat resistant to change, but they will resist it less if they understand how it will benefit them personally.

Make sure that everyone is given the opportunity to learn about and utilize the new technology, ideally as a group. Resistant individuals can then be approached separately and helped to understand how the new technology will improve their life. Be sure to have all kinds of learning styles catered to. Video tutorials are great for many people, but some people do not learn well from them and might prefer hands-on practice or just to be given a copy of the user manual to go through at their leisure.

It’s vital for businesses to embrace emerging technologies, at least until their customer base is uncertain about them. However, it’s equally important to make sure that you don’t leave your employees behind. To find out more about how to educate your employees about new technologies, contact Corner IT today.

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