Investigative Managers: How to get employees to embrace technology

At least once a month, an investigative manager, operations manager or other investigators in a supervisory role contact us with a similar question.

How do I get my employees to embrace the use of the case management system?

Technology and software are extremely useful in the investigative industry.  Now, lets identify exactly who we are talking about here.  Typically, the supervisor is referring to older investigators that have 20 plus years of experience and can remember when video cameras weighed over 10 pounds and used 8mm video tapes .   These investigators have tons of experience, are very good at what they do and have certain habits, processes, and are set in their ways.  And why shouldn’t they.  To be clear, there is nothing wrong with the investigators in this scenario.  Those processes have worked well and yielded positive results throughout their career.  What a lot of them fail to realize is this type of change is no different than the change they experienced when using 8mm tapes was no longer a viable option and MiniDV and digital video cameras became the norm.  Why?  Better options, better video, easier to use, more compact and the list of benefits goes on and on.

Case management and technology are no different.  Manilla file folders, spreadsheets, and homemade case management methods were good at one time, but now there are better and more efficient ways to do things.

Human beings in general do not care for change, even when that change has positive aspects.  Take a PI that has been in the game for 30 years who says I have been doing investigations just fine without using “some computer software”, there may not be much a manager can do to change their mind.  The way a manager approaches and implements the change is important.   Managers will have a hard time telling investigators the benefits of change.  The key is to show them the benefits, features, and outline exactly how the system will help them individually and the company as well.  After some period of time, the previously reluctant investigators will hopefully say “Man, John was right, this makes my job a lot easier, makes my job this or really helps me save time on this task.

The key is to develop processes and be prepared when approaching employees with new technology.  Telling them is not going to be enough.  Showing them and being clear how this helps everyone is the catalyst for success.