Training holds key to small business technological innovation

Many small organizations get by with limited resources and workers who are tasked with taking on multiple roles to sustain everyday operations. For business leaders, this can make any thought of change management extremely intimidating. Will workers buy into the new idea? Will they be so afraid of disruption that they don't give it a chance? Will workers who are used to specific technologies be able to adapt to new solutions? These are normal questions to ask, and leaders who want to drive positive change in their small businesses would do well to carefully consider employees before moving forward with new technologies.

Any potential intimidation with new solutions shouldn't be underestimated, but it also shouldn't be a reason not to innovate. Employees may be worried that new efficiency measures will affect their job statuses. They may think that having software automate tasks will force them to learn new competencies. These kinds of concerns are natural, but you can counter them in a couple of key ways.

"Leaders who want to ensure positive change need to change themselves."

Change alongside your workers
Leading by example is almost always a powerful tool, but it is especially valuable in small businesses where employees have more visibility with one another. Managers who simply demand change may get a response, they may even get results, but they aren't necessarily going to make the change smooth for their employees. A Harvard Business Review report explained that leaders who want to ensure positive change need to begin by being willing to change themselves.

Consider a new software investment. If you estimate how long it will take to learn, set up timetables for rollouts and leave your employees alone with orders to get going, they may well find it intimidating. This is especially true if there is a high learning curve. However, if you first teach yourself to use the app and integrate into your operations, you can then directly champion the solution with workers, give them a clear, experience-based idea of what to expect when learning the technology and help them feel more comfortable with the transition.

Establish a culture of training
Neglecting employee training most of the time, but periodically having a big session for new technology, can leave workers feeling overwhelmed by changing expectations and the need to develop skills in a hurry. This problem is heightened if businesses only train using one or two methods. An Entrepreneur report pointed out that companies that hope to ramp up training must create a culture of continual education and reach learners through a variety of training styles.

Change is often intimidating in the workplace. Leaders who want to help their workers deal with change can use ongoing training and a lead-by-example approach to make employees comfortable. Furthermore, modern applications are being designed with user friendliness in mind, easing some of the technical burdens that come with new technologies. As the software sector continues to evolve to create more straightforward experiences, business leaders can build a culture that puts employees in the right mindset to embrace opportunities to learn new skills.

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