How to help reluctant employees build basic technical skills

How to Help Reluctant Employees Build Basic Technical Skills

Some people really love technology for technology’s sake and will be first in line to buy any new hardware or software they can get their hands on, regardless of how much added function or utility it offers. Other people are still appalled most computers now come without CD/DVD drives because they just got comfortable watching movies on a laptop.

If your employees are in the first group, they’ll be on the forefront of new developments in the tech world and that will certainly benefit your company. If you have to work with employees in the second group, however, it could have you tearing your hair out.

Is there a way to work with tech-phobic employees to bring them to a level of comfort that won’t slow down the rest of the team? You’ll probably never turn them into tech lovers, but you can probably make them less reluctant and get them up to the basic level of proficiency needed for effective collaboration.

Here’s how to help reluctant employees build some basic technical skills.

Choose new tech tools carefully

If your bookkeeper has been using the same program for 10 years and loves it, you better have a great reason for making him change. One of the best ways to get employees to make the switch to using new tech tools is to be very selective when choosing the new tools, says Victor Mandalawi, founder of Choice Home Warranty.

“Don’t move to a new tool until you feel extremely comfortable that it’s an improvement to a process,” he says. Thoroughly test the hardware or software yourself first before asking the tech-phobic to take the plunge.

Address the fear factor

If you know an employee will be stressed out by learning new technology, make the transition as stress-free as possible. Emotions such as fear, self-doubt and reluctance will prevent the brain from learning and remembering, says HR professional and leadership coach Joanne Deck.

She recommends motivating the employee by explaining thoroughly what the new tool will do and how it will be an improvement to their daily tasks. Let the employee know the transition will take time, but you’ll be there to provide support and plenty of training.

Tailor training to your employees

Deck says the next step is to ask employees what helps them learn best and then use those methods as much as possible. “Is it taking it slowly, personalized training, watching someone else, or something else? Create an environment that is stress-free, allows for lots of practice, and tolerates errors.”

Most people learn best through trial and error with feedback and plenty of practice, she says. Work that into your timeline for training. No one expects a major change overnight.

Start with small wins

Julie Boudro is a technology consultant with C/D/H Consulting who specializes in helping businesses adopt Microsoft’s SharePoint platform. She says she likes to start a tech changeover with small wins such as replacing “an out-of-date, paper-based directory with an always-up-to-date searchable employee directory.” An easy change like this lets employees see immediate value in the new technology.

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