Technology is the future of the modern workforce. It is likely to change how we perform our day-to-day tasks, as well as enables us to do more than ever before in terms of moving forward with our output. It can, therefore, be difficult for business leaders to move their organisations forward if their teams are reluctant to embrace the new technologies available to them.

So, why are people reluctant to welcome new technology, and how can you teach them to embrace technology to make their lives easier?

Why people are reluctant to embrace technology

For some, the term ‘technology’ comes with an immediate association of a threat to their position. Accelerations in Industry 4.0, and particularly 5G technology, have been debated topics that have caused concern. For example, people who work in factories might be fearful of the benefits of automated production lines communicating with each other as a direct threat to their position, which will cause fear for their long-term job security. Underpinning many of the reasons that people struggle to embrace technology is that they have not had the benefits of the technology explained to them in the right way. Instead, it seems to be something that could encroach on their role.

This highlights an understandable resistance to change, some people believe technological advances will alter their career path. However, it is likely to steer their careers in a way that will allow them to upskill and develop their responsibilities, whilst incorporating new technology. 

People who may not have embraced technology

As in any industry, there are different groups of people who may not have embraced technology, and therefore may need more help in developing their skills in this area. These can largely be split into two camps:

  1. People with long tenure at the business may be more likely to be resistant to change. When employees have been with a company for a long time, they can become comfortable and therefore don’t want new programmes or changes in process to take place.
  2. People who may not realise or know the key benefits that technology can offer a business. It is important to offer an education to these individuals and explain to them why you have implemented a programme and how it can benefit them.

The importance of upskilling your teams

As technology is further integrated into the manufacturing environment, the teams must be gaining the necessary skills and knowledge to best utilise it. Industry 4.0 is a hot topic and will see interconnected smart factories come into existence that intelligently, and rapidly, compile and use data to increase performance. This will have incredible implications for production efficiency, reliability, and working conditions. But, by design, it will require skilled teams to work cohesively alongside one another. 

How you can teach the importance of technology to their teams

The biggest message from leaders needs to be in demonstrating the value of the technological advances to their employees and emphasising that it should make their jobs easier. A high percentage of technological advances in manufacturing environments are geared towards aiding the current workforce with their day-to-day duties, whether it be performing riskier tasks and making the factory safer, or conducting time-consuming menial tasks that disconnect them from the more meaningful aspects of their role. The early tangible benefits of technology should be used to gain buy-in and gather momentum for further advances. 

There is also the element of competition. As manufacturing becomes an increasingly competitive field, investment in technology is essential to keep up with your competition, and leaders need to be honest when presenting this to their teams. Technological advancements in manufacturing are not going to go away and standing still will jeopardise job security just as much as automation.

If you are interested in hiring professionals to your engineering and manufacturing business, please get in touch with your local Michael Page office today. If you are looking for a new opportunity, create a MyPage account to make the most of our Job Match tool and find the jobs that are best suited to your unique skill set.

Steve Harris
Senior Consultant, Michael Page Engineering & Manufacturing