5 Ways to Overcome Your Employees’ Resistance to New Benefits Technologies in 2020

Bob Armour Benefits Communication

There are new tools and tech available that can help your employees understand their benefits and make smarter choices. There’s just one catch: they only work if your employees actually use them.

Some employees may be reluctant to try something new, so here are five ways to get those employees to engage with your new benefits tech.

#1. Be transparent

Some employees will automatically resent any new technology, but it’s not necessarily going to be your oldest or most-tenured employees. So don’t make blanket assumptions.

To overcome knee-jerk resistance, be upfront about why you’re bringing in a new tool. Explain to your employees the results you want to achieve, what options you considered, and why you decided this tool was the best option. If there are elements of the user experience that might feel like a bit of hassle, mention that—without lingering on it. Be clear, concise, and open.

Transparency builds trust. If your employees trust your intentions, they’ll be more willing to play ball.

#2. Focus on what’s in it for them

When you buy a new tool, there’s always a temptation to focus on all the new features that comes with it—like an Uber driver who keeps going on about the leather seats and cup holders. Remember: your employees don’t care about the tool itself. They just want to know: “what’s in it for me?”

Communicate in terms of gains and losses. What will your employees gain if they use the tool? What will they lose or miss out on if they don’t use it? When you craft your message, be as specific as possible, and use concrete amounts of money or time.

“Spending 10 minutes using X could save you hundreds of dollars in taxes this year,” is a much more compelling message than “X pre-loads eligibility data and can makes pre-tax savings calculations”.

#3. Put it in context

The word “technology” can intimidate people. They focus on the struggles they’ve had with new technology, and tend to forget about the simple, intuitive tech they use every day.

If your tech is a decision support tool or benefits administration platform that’s designed for a smooth and easy user experience, then it may be as simple as clicking a few buttons and filling out a few fields—which is basically what most of your employees do on Amazon, Facebook, or Netflix every day.

So make the connection between the new tech you’re introducing, and the familiar tech your employees are already using.

#4. Show how it works

Insecurity about technology is real. Repeatedly telling your employees how easy your new tech is might make things worse—nobody wants to be the person that proves something wasn’t really “idiot-proof.”

Nip this anxiety in the bud by showing how the tool works, step-by-step. Run a demonstration during a presentation or meeting. Make your team available for one-on-one sessions to help your employees get started. If some employees don’t have computers in their work area, bring a laptop to them and show them how the tool works in person.

You can also use video capture software like Camtasia or Jing to record yourself using the tool on your own computer, while you narrate what’s happening. Share the video over email, so your employees can watch it privately, on their own schedule.

#5. Ask tech-phobic employees to be your test pilots

If you’re worried that your new tech will trigger blowback, include change-resistant folks in your early user testing. (To find out which of your employees fit that description, send your workforce a simple poll.) Let their feedback shape how you configure and present the tool to the rest of the company.

Then, as you get ready to make the tech available to everyone, invite these employees to vouch for your tool. Make that (hopefully) positive feedback part of your messaging. A short testimonial video—or even a quote with a picture—can be powerfully reassuring for employees who might otherwise feel reluctant to lean in.