For most people, change is hard. If someone isn’t comfortable with technology, having to learn a new software or tech solution can be a negative experience. If you need to train people who are not tech-savvy, it’s important to know that their pushback against technology is natural and temporary. With the right approach, even the most stubborn hold-outs will adapt and be glad they did.
Prepare and Test
Over the years, there have been countless times that I have walked into a computer lab to conduct software training only to be bombarded with computers that won’t load, passwords that don’t work, overhead projector hookups with no sound, and many other surprises. These kinds of issues put can put people on edge.
Make sure, whenever possible that you check the environment to make certain everything is working. If you are requiring people to log in with usernames and passwords that have been pre-set, check each one ahead of time. People who are comfortable with tech can work through problems quickly, but non-techies can panic when things don’t go right. It makes them think that if something goes wrong in the real workplace that they won’t know how to deal with it.
The more you can ensure that the tech works right during your training, the more attentive the learners are going to be. You want people to relax about their training, and you can help by ensuring that everything works.
Small Chunks with Rewards
Adults are experiential learners. They need small chunks of new information that they can put into real-world context. Give them examples of when and how this new knowledge is used in their real work situations. Instruction is not as effective as “doing” for the adult learner.
Whenever possible, assign tasks that apply their new knowledge throughout the training. Build in rewards for attempting new tasks and for completing them. Don’t underestimate the power of saying “great job!” (or giving chocolate) even if the skill is something they should already know.
Small rewards can also become a measure of adaptation to the new technology. Set goals based on achievable parameters that help ensure timely adoption of the new tech and skillset. If people are earning those set rewards, they are using and learning the technology with measured success. Those that are not can immediately be identified and given extra help to accomplish the goals you need them to achieve.
It’s important to point out the benefits that employees will receive by using this new technology. Demonstrate how it affects them personally through time or financial benefits. If this new system is going to save them time, remind them of that. Show charts and graphs of estimated time savings. Create clocks that are set to show time savings, or whatever you have to do to get them to buy into the benefits of the new system.
Financial rewards are always a good incentive. This doesn’t mean money out of your pocket, but demonstrates that the solution allows them to make more sales, haul more loads, use fewer resources, or increase profit.
Adults want to know “what’s in it for me” whenever they have to change a behavior or skillset. If you have a small enough staff, you can figure out each person’s motivation and, to some extent, individualize their rewards.
Change is Hard, Patience is a Virtue
Expect some backlash when people are forced to make a change. That is just the way it is. If you don’t see it outright, it’s probably still going on behind the scenes. The key is knowing this is coming and then having the patience to see it through. I’m not saying excuse bad behavior, just be as patient as you can with learners who need to embrace the new technology.
The approach you use is critical. The moment you put your ego on your sleeve, you will have lost the battle. You have to resist the urge to shout “get over it, you’re going to learn this new stuff or you can leave!” You may feel that way, but it important to put on a happy face and steer their fear and resistance into “you can do it.”
The right teacher for the job may not be your tech person. Who is the most patient person in the office? Use them as a co-educator, or teach them first so they can teach the rest of the group, or at least act as a mentor to the tech strugglers.
Remember that many of your tech hold-outs wear their lack of tech as a badge of honor. It’s important to find a way to show respect for the old ways as they transition to something new.
The bottom line when it comes to teaching an entire group a new technology is a “we’re in it together” mentality. Change is hard and is made easier with others’ help. Make sure you are supported as well. Who is there teaching you about the new tech? If you have the resources to go to for support and knowledge, you can help your staff make the transition.
At Pedigree Technologies we are constantly building e-learning tools for our customers to increase their knowledge. We provide live help, videos, pdfs, and even interactive digital training to help our clients get the most out of our products. They’re always available, so there is always a resource to use that will increase your skillset. Our goal is to support you so you can support your team.