Combating Roadblocks to New Technologies

In my last post, I discussed how technology, specifically the iPad, is finding its way into hospitals and other healthcare settings nationwide – and in some cases, even becoming company sponsored.  But along with the adoption and implementation of high tech devices and programs, often comes the problem of how to ensure staff members fully understand how to navigate and utilize the new technology to its fullest.  Several factors often emerge as common roadblocks to an employee fully embracing new technologies.

Employees have a negative attitude towards the change.
Trainings given by an enthusiast of the technology may help shape a positive attitude toward the change. Someone who fully backs the product will be excited to teach others how to use it.  They will be able to answer any questions about how to perform required job duties faster and easier with the new technologies.  

Inundate employees with positive communication surrounding the new technology.  Require senior management, top level managers and immediate supervisors to lead by example and utilize the technology to its fullest capabilities, eliminating the outdated technology and SOP that everyone was accustomed to.  Optimism spreads! This will convert your Negative Nancys to Gung-ho Gracys.

People are good at different things – some people just flat out don’t have the knack for technology.  
The solution to this is fairly obvious – hire a professional to enter your organization and present a well-organized and formal training to your employees for the new technology that you have adopted.  This will give your staff a chance to learn all the ins and outs by a true expert and fanatic of the new technology.  

However, formal trainings are not always feasible in large organizations.  In that case, develop an incentive program to reward employees who make efforts to teach themselves the new technology or seek out training during off-hours. Rewards may be anything from tuition to be used toward more self-education to movie tickets.

Your organization may have shot its wad on the new technology and there just aren’t enough funds to spend on formal training.  
If funds aren’t available for professional trainings, there are alternatives.  Identify staffers who have a knack for grasping new technologies – either naturally or are driven to teach themselves.  It may be the nurse who blogs or the tech who tweets.  More than likely, these individuals will catch on quickly and will be excited to get their hands on the new technology.  Once these techies teach themselves how to fully navigate the new technology, allow them to lead training sessions for their peers and superiors.  Be sure to publicly praise and recognize these employees for fully embracing the technology and for their extra efforts in educating their co-workers.

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks.
Older employees may use their age as an excuse that they can’t learn new technologies.  The hard part may be convincing them that they are in fact perfectly capable of learning new things.  Hopefully, your organization has implemented a mentoring program; aging employees are paired with a younger co-worker to impart their wisdom and show them the ropes.  Use this program to also reverse mentor – require younger employees who are most likely comfortable with technology to educate their mentors on the new technology your organization has adopted.

Regardless of the roadblocks in your organization’s way to a fully engaged staff, creating a culture of knowledge-sharing will help.  Encourage employees to teach themselves and others while communicating with each other what they’ve learned.

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Thomas Delorme
Written by Thomas Delorme

VP, Digital Products & Strategy

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