21 ways to encourage your staff to adopt new technology

A man screaming at a laptop
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Technology is essential. It provides a more engaging and flexible learning experience for students, and can help staff fulfil their teaching roles as well as develop their skills and value.


Overall, technology helps universities to stay relevant in a competitive and ever-changing environment.


It is, therefore, crucial for staff to embrace and utilize new technology to its full potential. However, one of the most challenging things about installing new technologies in a workplace is encouraging staff to use it.


It’s a very understandable response. There will always be those people who are willing to learn about the latest tech and those who try to avoid it at all costs. Staff also have many priorities and focuses which take precedence over learning new tech.


There are ways to make this process easier for everyone involved though.


Here are 21 ideas to help you encourage staff to adopt new technology:

  1. Give staff notice when new technology is going to be introduced

Resistance is usually met if people feel they are being forced into doing something. Try leasing people into any changes that are going to happen by letting them know what changes are going to happen.

2. Communicate clearly the reason for the introduction of new technologies

Communication is key! The more people know about the changes that are going to happen
the more prepared they’ll be to receive them. Try giving people information not only about what changes are being made but why you are making them.

“Communication is key!”

3. Phased introduction

Introduce the technology gradually so people can get used to it. This can involve testing it among the more tech-savy department members first to highlight potential issues, and then gradually rolling it out to more staff members.

Pen pointing at a stacked bar chart
Photo by Lukas from Pexels

4. Network

Get to know key members in other departments who can help you introduce new technology to the rest of their team; they are your allies! Identify technology champions.
This can be senior staff members or those tech-savy individuals who can get the others in their department excited about (or at least familiar with) future changes.

“Identify technology champions”

5. Understand how technology can solve existing problems for staff

Put yourselves into the shoes of those non-technical members of staff. What problems is the technology resolving for them? Your department contacts (see point four) may be able to give you some valuable advice here.

“put yourselves into the shoes of those non-technical members of staff”

6. Understand how technology can solve existing problems for students

Another good approach is to understand how technology can resolve existing problems for students. This will not only help to justify why tech changes need to be made, but this will frequently help the lecturers in turn since they don’t have to spend time trying to resolve student issues.

7. Encouragement from above

It can be easier to hear about changes from people you know. Enlist department heads to help prepare staff for any changes you are planning.

8. Encouragement from below

In many cases, you’ll find that demand for change will come from students, who want to make the most of their learning experience. As mentioned in point six, fulfilling student requirements can be an important reason for technology changes.

“demand for change is often driven by the students”

9. Make it clear how staff can benefit

People are more motivated to do something when they know how a situation can benefit them. Try and think of the different ways in which your tech changes can help staff. For example, can a piece of tech help them to develop transferable skills, or develop their own work in some way?

“People are more motivated to do something when they know how a situation can benefit them.”

10. Make it clear how the department benefits

Technology is a key tool in helping departments to grow their reach and prestige. During the pandemic, many have been able to benefit from online events and lectures taking place around the world, which would normally be inaccessible to them. This not only increases awareness of research, but helps to promote department, and lecturer, reputations.

11. Promote success stories

People are more likely to new technology when they can see evidence of how it has helped others.

12. Get recommendations from key figures

Try to find figures who people trust to recommend the product and its benefits to others. This may be key figures at your university, or in each department, or someone outside your university who people are familiar with.

13. Make it easy for them to learn

Ensure that you provide training, and make the sessions as concise and informative as possible

14. Make it convenient for them to learn

It may not always be convenient or possible to attend set training sessions. Lead by example with flexible learning and provide training videos that staff can watch in their own time. Just make it clear what material is available, where it is, and how they can access it.

15. Make it fun for them to learn

There are few things more tedious than being forced to sit through a dull training session. Ensure that your training sessions are engaging and will hold your audience’s attention.

16. Tailor training to different department needs

Remember, different departments will have different technology requirements based on the information they teach. For example, the arts and humanities departments may use more text-based information, while the sciences rely more on numerical data.

17. Make it easy for them to use

Ensure that all your tech is standardized, so staff are faced with the same tech wherever they are teaching. If possible, include a quick instructions list in each room as a reminder for staff. Also ensure that your training sessions include real-life scenarios, so staff can find their way around a meeting room or lecture theatre.

“ensure that your training sessions include real-life scenarios”

18. Make sure they know who they can ask for help, or if they have any questions

Always ensure that staff have a point of contact, whether that is for follow-up questions and comments after training sessions, or on-site help. Encouraging people to engage with you will make them more likely and willing to adopt new technology.

19. Be approachable

No one wants to get in touch with someone who is unapproachable! They’ll leave it until the last minute, or when things have gone so wrong they have no other choice. This leads to a bad experience all round. If you are approachable and patient, people are more likely to come to you with questions, which can avert problems later.

20. Offer people incentives

This may not always be feasible, but offering an incentive can be an effective way to encourage the up-take of new tech. This can be as simple as offering tea and biscuits at a training session; this not only provides people with a reason to turn-up, but it can transform the activity into a much more pleasurable and memorable experience.

21. Use engaging tech, where possible

This is clearly not always feasible but consider adopting technology that people will want to engage with. Whether this is something fun and novel, something colourful, or something tactile. Think outside the box!


Summary

• Be clear on what new technologies are being adopted and their benefits
• Put processes in place to help both staff and students adopt the new tech
• Ensure training is timetabled into the roll out programme
• Be patient, approachable, and accessible!

That’s it for now. Good luck with your attempt to make the uptake of new technology sooner and let us know how you get on.


Further Reading

Educations.com | International Student Recruitment, International Higher Education Survey:
Student Insights 2020-2021, viewed 8th July 2021, https://institutions.educations.com/student-trends-reports


Some thoughts on the importance of technology to students:
University of the People | The Education Revolution, The Growing Importance of Technology in Education, viewed 8th July 2021, https://www.uopeople.edu/blog/the-growingimportance-of-technology-in-education/


A couple of interesting case studies:
Harvard Business Review, Convincing Sceptical employees to adopt new technology, viewed on 8th July 2021, https://hbr.org/2015/03/convincing-skeptical-employees-to-adopt-newtechnology

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