The Psychology of Technology Adoption
Technologies that were not possible 10 or even five years ago have become commonplace. From the cloud, mobile apps, virtual reality glasses and more, people adopt various technologies in differing degrees and speeds. Younger generations in the workforce have been a main driver of technology adoption because they grew up with technology and would be lost without it. However, even many older workers embrace technology. The psychology of technology adoption mainly hinges upon how easy the technology is to use and how efficiently it integrates into existing operations.
Ease of use and purpose
It seems obvious; the easier something is to use, the easier a person adjusts to using it. However, many technologies are unnecessarily clunky and complicated. Offices trying to streamline their work processes in order to increase efficiency must take care to avoid technology that amounts to “clutter” and that is a drain to learn. It’s important that a workplace has a valid reason for expecting employees to learn a technology, particularly when the employees believe what they currently use works just fine. The technology must solve a problem or perform a function better. Ideally, it does both.
For example, Halo offers secure messaging for HIPAA compliance, but the feature most personally relevant to employees is that it improves their workflow, making their jobs easier. Thus, this technology solves a problem and performs a function better. There’s more to finding out about purpose, though. What you often think is the main purpose of a technology won’t be the main priority to many employees. While medical staff value HIPAA compliance, Halo found that people don’t use the platform to its full potential if it’s only presented as secure messaging, but they will if it’s presented as a tool to improve their workflow.
When you present new technology to employees, explain the benefits the technology offers, and how it makes the workers’ lives easier. Explain the benefits that are most relevant to the staff’s day-to-day work and life. Throughout implementation, don’t be afraid to ask how it most benefits them, especially if you plan on implementing the technology in another division or in a more widespread manner later.
Integrates into existing operations
Another key component in the psychology of technology adoption is that the technology is easy to use with existing operations. For example, for all of Halo’s highly secure messaging, it wouldn’t matter if it didn’t integrate with common devices. Technology needs to work on a wide range of devices and operating systems. An app that works only on Apple devices, for example, risks experiencing lower adoption rates.
In some cases, it is better to integrate new technology a little at a time rather than overwhelm staff by rolling it out all at once. Examples include using it in one department at first versus the entire company, and using the data from that to guide your strategy for increasing adoption.
Another advantage of the beta adoption approach is that it’s bound to make staunch and passionate believers of key figures. These people have close relationships to other people in the company, and other workers trust their judgment. If they say this technology benefits them, then what’s not to believe or fear?
When you’re integrating new technology, don’t throw stacks of intimidating manuals at people. Make the training hands-on, interactive and productive. If the technology is complicated, set goals in chunks so people learn at a pace that does not overwhelm them.
Use the psychology of technology adoption when you introduce technologies. A technology must be easy to use, fill a specific need, and join existing operations smoothly. Enlist respected people to act as advocates, and use hands-on training to engage employees.