Innovation and its discontents: Top 5 tips to win buy-in from innovation-resistant colleagues

Digital Transformation
February 10, 2021
minutes read

Technology is changing how we live, work and do business. For most of us, it means more convenience and faster and more secure access to content and services. For some, though, it feels like more of a threat.

In the world of lending, technology is starting to save time and hassle through gradual adoption of technologies like enhanced ID&V, the introduction of e-signatures, and open banking integration. That's great news for consumers, who are increasingly embracing new ways of doing things. But what about those on the other side of the process?

While business leaders are keen to take advantage of all technology has to offer, others in the organisation might not share their enthusiasm. Some will want to protect the status quo above all else, valuing processes and procedures as they are. For those tasked with pushing new tech through an organisation, resistance from colleagues can be a serious obstacle. So how can we turn that resistance into acceptance and even enthusiasm?

Use your business' 'internal influencers'

In every workplace, there are those who naturally have the power to influence opinion. For your innovation strategy to work, it should go beyond emails, messages, and notifications and hit company culture. Even though at present most teams are operating virtually,

It needs to loop in those people who can promote and reinforce your messages face to face. Internal influencers naturally are geared towards management roles, but don't have to be in a place of authority. They just need to have strong relationships and have the ability to convey your message.

By showing these individuals what the would be in it for them, and getting them on your side, you will have a high chance of persuading the others.

Put together a cost-benefit analysis

It's difficult to ignore data. By putting together a plan that shows business growth as well as the added benefits of staying ahead of competitors, you will have a good chance of converting some sceptics in the room.

Be sure to include not only projections for growth in customer take up, but also the added efficiency from allowing employees to serve more. Ultimately, the best way to overcome resistance is to show how new technology works better for everyone – and even alleviates pain points associated with the old way of working.

You'll have an easier time getting your message across if the added efficiency removes unnecessary admin. It's about putting the great people at the company's services to where it counts.

Start with the problem

Winning buy-in for something is always easier when others agree that there is a problem. If you present yourself as a salesman, and the new technology as your product, you are likely to put your colleagues on the defensive.

If you start with the problem that the new tech solves, people are primed to think in terms of positive change rather than disruption for the sake of it. If you remind colleagues of problems they have experienced and found a source of frustration or annoyance, they will be that much more likely to embrace a solution. That’s genuine buy-in.

Keep lines of communication open

Fears about change are fuelled by uncertainty. So it’s important to provide clarity about what will and won’t change – and when. A clear timeline for the adoption of new systems or technology will provide reassurance that there will be no unpleasant surprises. And if possible that timeline should be gradual, so colleagues can see the benefits and iron out any implementation issues before any kind of ‘big bang’. To that end, it’s a good idea to make the communication two way, so people can share their experiences and freely express any concerns. That way, those driving the change will benefit from the input of the colleagues who will actually be using the technology – and can tweak or adjust the process accordingly.

Provide adequate training and other resources

The best way to reassure colleagues that they have nothing to fear from new tech is to provide all the training they need to use and make the most of it. That could mean asking the vendor to running induction workshops, or having training competitions. Try and get those positive about the change to ‘get it’ first so they can share their knowledge and enthusiasm with others.

Winning genuine buy-in is never easy, but it’s totally worth it. Facing up to the challenges early on is the best way to ensure a successful implementation of new tech that boosts both productivity and morale.

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Written by

Stephanie Dymott
Nivo, Marketing