I had the good fortune last week of interviewing Paul Joesbury, Commercial Operations Director at HomeServe, for an upcoming episode of the Future of Field Service podcast (his episode will air August 28th, and it’s a must listen!). The conversation produced a wealth of valuable points, and as we prepare the episode for your listening pleasure, I thought I’d start by sharing Paul’s thoughts on what it takes to get employees to adopt new technology.

Paul and I discussed the evolution that’s taking place with field technicians – the younger technicians joining the workforce are not only comfortable with technology but lost without it. “The new technicians coming on are digital native – they were born with a phone in hand,” says Paul. “For those technicians, if a process is outlined cleanly on their devices, it is second nature to them to follow along and use it correctly.”

The older generations of technicians struggle, however. “Some of the challenges companies like ours face with technology adoption among older workers would surprise many. You may not think you need to teach someone how to swipe on a device, but in many cases, you do – that’s just the reality of it,” says Paul. In these cases, it is imperative to put a change management strategy in place in an effort to get these workers to truly embrace the tools you’re introducing. “You can’t just impose new technology onto your workforce – it doesn’t work. Imposition causes resistance, and that resistance will inhibit any of the progress or forward motion you’re looking to make by introducing that technology,” says Paul.

3 Keys to Change Management

In Paul’s experience, successful change management and fostering adoption of technology comes down to three factors: need, skill, and will. “By focusing on the need, skill, and will, you can create the buy-in you need among employees to achieve successful technology adoption,” says Paul.

Start with the need. Is the new tool necessary? Does it provide value? If this sounds ridiculously obvious to you, that’s great – but the reality is that many organizations make investments and force new tools for reasons besides the fact that the workforce and the business actually needs them. Your strategy must be centered around the needs of your workforce in meeting the goals you’ve set forth for the business. Deploying tools that will provide real value and make their jobs easier gets you on the path to success. You also need to focus on communicating with your workforce on the “why” for the changes you’re making and the technologies you’re introducing. If they understand the root cause for change and have an opportunity to weigh in and feel heard, they will have an easier time stepping outside their comfort zones.

Next comes skill. To Paul’s point earlier, you may need to start with training more basic than you’d assume. Pay attention to what employees’ concerns or questions are around and address them quickly and extensively. Think about the full extent of education and training you will need to provide to ensure that your employees will feel comfortable using the new tools you’re introducing. If you encounter hesitation or resistance, take this as your cue to begin again. I know it can be frustrating to spend time, money, and energy on training that seems basic, but making this investment up front will ultimately pay off.

If you take the time to focus on conveying the need and developing the skill, you should be able to create the will among your employees to embrace the change. “Your goal is to create the desire within your workers to use the tools you’re introducing, to embrace the changes you’re making within the business,” says Paul. “You can’t be successful without their buy-in, so following these steps and working diligently to create it is really the key to any successful transformation.”

Sarah Nicastro

Field Service Evangelist, Future of Field Service