Getting Employees on Board with New HR Technology #IHRIM2014

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In my last post, I talked about some of the things I learned at last week’s International Association for Human Resource Management (IHRIM) conference. As I mentioned, developments in technology have changed the way we work. As HR professionals, we must help our employees adapt to the changing work environment.

Some of these changes may include new systems for time and attendance, applicant tracking, employee management and more. It can be a challenge to get employees on board, especially if your workforce has a number of people with limited computer skills.

In today’s post, I will give you some tips for helping get employees on board with new HR technology.

How to Train a Workforce with Varying Skill Levels

Most industries these days rely on technology to complete their daily HR tasks; however, it is important to remember that not everyone on your workforce has the skills to adapt to our increasing reliance on technology to get our work done. There is a segment of your workforce that will adapt to technology quickly, and training these employees is a breeze. But what about those who struggle with even the most basic computer skills?

For example, there are people who have been in retail for years and worked their way up to managers. A number of these workers started out in the industry when job descriptions did not include computer skills in the list of requirements. Now, retail managers may have to manage schedules, approve timecards, write performance reviews, create Excel reports and place orders via computer. Businesses must address the concerns of and develop training for employees like this.

Dealing with Resistance with HR Technology

Resistance is one of the biggest challenges in setting up training for employees with limited computer skills. If you have ever been part of implementing new technology, you have probably heard things like, “I don’t understand why we don’t just keep the old system. It works fine.” It seems to be in our nature to say such things about change—especially when that change involves something we do not understand.

I have been part of implementing technology, and I have found that taking the right approach to training can turn naysayers into advocates for the new system, and I will talk about that in the next section. But aside from training, give your employees a chance to talk about their frustration with the new system. I used to immediately jump to defending the new system when an employee would tell me everything wrong with it. Over time, I have learned that it is best to simply listen to the employee and then let them discover through the training process that the new technology will improve their job.

The Advantages of Small Group & Individual Training

One of the most effective ways to train those with limited skills is with small-group or individual training sessions that allow the trainees to have a hands-on experience. This means sitting down with no more than three employees at a time and walking them through the new processes step by step.

While such an approach takes more time and requires a lot of patience from the trainer, I have found that trainees retain the skills much better because they have a chance to practice as they learn them. Trainees also have more opportunities to ask questions when there are only a few people in the room.

Pair your training with a guide that goes through the steps for completing regular tasks in the new system. I like to include screenshots when I create my training guides.

In the End…

At IHRIM, I met vendors with a lot of exciting products that are changing the way we do HR. Many of these systems automate tedious processes and free up time to focus on other areas of our jobs. As HR professionals, we need to focus on developing training that meets employees where they are and gives them the skills to succeed in a technology-driven workplace.

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