Training and technology – is older workforce left behind?

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Technology is one of the areas where advancement and new development takes place at an impressive speed. Whether it’s self-driving vehicles or the sophisticated mobile phones with new features added with each release, the world we live in now is increasingly futuristic. Younger generations may be very excited about the constant growth in innovation as they have grown up handling digital devices from an early age. But when it comes to the older population, many feel intimidated by the continuous rollout of new technologies.

This generation gap does show itself in the workplace too where a lack of technological understanding can be a detriment for more many older and experienced employees. Technology has become the driving force behind many businesses across the country, and a lack of engagement with innovative tools can undermine workers’ performance. It can mean that it’s difficult to keep up to speed with regular tasks and they could also be missing out on the development of useful skills.

The UK’s largest independent outsourcer, Kura, explores ways in which to encourage older employees to embrace tech equipment with confidence, while detailing how more and more companies are counting upon modern devices. Technology can improve employee experience and drive the learning of new competencies – what is holding mature workers back?

How businesses rely on technology

Training colleagues is a necessary and beneficial process for companies. It favours team bonding, enhances employee morale, reduces the possibility of errors, and ensures both personal and professional progression. However, there is no hiding that upskilling workers can be a costly and time-consuming procedure.

Technology can help deliver required training in an effective, smooth, and affordable manner. First of all, interactive training material might even replace an instructor teaching in a room full of workers. With e-books, online tests, guides for different levels of expertise, and instructional videos, interactive platforms are an excellent hotspot to streamline the training of employees. Similarly, some businesses have an online repository of industry- and company-related information. This can be updated with extra information when needed. Hence, an internal wiki offers workers the chance to stay on top of new content and catch up on anything that may help them with their duties.

Company social platforms are becoming more and more popular too

Internal social networks, from business chat groups to shared hubs of data and information, can aid employee training and development. In fact, technology allows workers to communicate rapidly with other departments within the business. Inputs and guidance that people require through specific forums can be obtained with ease.

With its array of training benefits in plain sight, it is important that older employees feel comfortable with technological tools too. Not only is technology crucial for teaching purposes, but it also uplifts the productivity and performance of teams on the whole.

One of technology’s main advantages is that it provides clarity and improves communication. From constant interaction to swift feedback, it helps employees connect with their colleagues – and with clients too. With real-time messaging, chatbots, and responsive social media accounts, businesses can provide better customer service. This is why it is essential to have people who can make sense of these modern tools. To bolster their internal team, many companies turn to customer service outsourcing to ensure they can take care of clients at all times.

Helping experienced workers with innovative equipment

Technology is a strong asset for both businesses and their workers. It maximises employee experience and nurtures their personal development, which in turn increases efficiency and productivity. But, as mentioned, older professionals may struggle to come to terms with the ongoing digital transformation. Why?

It is worth remembering that mature workers have not grown up around digital technology. Handling innovative devices and operating modern machines may come as second nature to fresh graduates, but could leave people with many years of professional experience with a few headaches.

According to a study by Lancaster University, there are several reasons why older people are wary of new technology. The fear of making mistakes when using a specific software is one of the most prominent motives. Furthermore, they may find dealing with innovative equipment both time-consuming and overly challenging, discouraging them from learning altogether. Finally, they may be concerned about the security of the online world on the whole.

In the workplace, however, technology can help them enhance their professional abilities and keep in step with the times. So how can they be supported? How can they be stimulated to give digital technology a go? Here are a few tips:

  • Clear link between digital transformation and career growth – One of the most effective ways to spark workers’ interest in technology is to demonstrate how it will benefit their goals and ambitions. For instance, inform them about the advantages of online communication platforms, from greater transparency and quicker collaboration between teams. Not only that, but with easy access to insights and content, they will have the opportunity to boost the quality of their work. With a clear idea of how digital equipment can drive their professional careers, older employees are bound to revaluate modern technology.
  • Benefits of a virtual work environment – Technology is playing a crucial role in allowing people to work flexibly. In fact, digital company platforms offer employees the chance to stay in close contact with their colleagues, no matter where they are working. Older employees are likely to have their own families, and digital technology can help them spend more time with their loved ones. Showing how virtual work environments provide the right balance between professional and private life, therefore, can incentivise mature workers to explore digital tools with more confidence.
  • Invert traditional mentorship – At the start of a new role, youngsters rely on more experienced team members to learn the ins and outs of the job. When it comes to technology, why can’t younger, more tech-savvy employees mentor their more mature colleagues? By teaching each other new abilities, both veterans and new starters can enhance their skill sets and benefit from invaluable training.

Ultimately, technology can have a significant impact on people’s careers. Why should older employees miss out on its positive features? Encouraging experienced workers to use technology and offering adequate training will ensure they are always building on their professional skills.

Sources

https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2017/10/17/employers-need-to-train-their-older-workers-too/?sh=381101b68538

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180312091715.htm

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/297084

http://go.dataprise.com/blog/technologytraining

https://www.techspotty.com/technology-will-affect-customer-service/

https://www.easytechseniors.com/why-seniors-struggle-with-technology/

https://techhq.com/2019/07/how-technology-affects-the-employee-experience/

 

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    Marja Toseland

    All stories by: Marja Toseland