Fear of technology. Time to get a grip!

fear of technologyOver the past few years I have occasionally talked about providing support to your in-house dinosaurs who ‘don’t do technology’. But fast changing technology is here to stay and those who don’t embrace it, or at least learn to live with it and use it, are fast becoming a liability for organisations.

Home working, hot desking and mobile working are increasing. The number of gadgets on our desks and in our workplaces is increasing. The complexity of technology is increasing. There are probably more cables, adaptors, converters and techno gadgets and gizmos in most workplaces than commuters passing through Waterloo each day! Perhaps a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea.

Technology is inescapable. Those who don’t like technology need to learn to love it or otherwise be ready to see their credibility shredded, their career hopes falter and their value to the organisation wither and die.

Yes, of course, there will continue to be some jobs that will provide an opportunity for staff to avoid technology. But not many. We need to be realistic about this.

In recent months I have seen a deli counter in a large supermarket attempt to do a stocktake, 7 out of the 8 staff involved saying they couldn’t use the calculator or computer to do the job. Unfortunately slicing ham and serving cheese was only part of the job, the stocktake was also essential.

Then last week I came across a woman who said she didn’t ‘do’ apps. She said she didn’t know how to use her phone, update it, download onto it or in fact do anything with it. Mid-thirties, confident, career driven, but in fact, utterly useless in using even the most basic piece of technology.

And finally, I came across a training manager who said he wouldn’t look at introducing e-learning as that ‘wasn’t his sort of thing’. How can you seriously call yourself a training professional if you recoil with fear from all technology based learning? You just can’t. You could ten years ago. But now you can’t.

Technology is with us and it’s here to stay.

But rather than whinge and whine, here are my top tips for employers and employees:

Employers

  • Identify those in your business who ‘don’t’ do’ technology. Then be logical in working through how their aversion to technology might be impacting their job, their team, their outcomes and their productivity etc. Quantify the impact as best you can. Make this a real issue.
  • Identify what the blockage is i.e. lack of familiarity, technology overload, not feeling comfortable with new software, lack of confidence with hardware, embarrassment to ask for support, lack of awareness of the importance of learning these new skills, lack of confidence etc. then once you have worked out the blockage, put in place the training and support to overcome it.
  • Communicate with all your staff about what technology you use, how each bit of technology benefits the business, what support will be provided to those who aren’t confident and most importantly, what your expectations are around staff who should be using the technology available to them.

Employees

  • If you ‘don’t do’ technology you need to change your attitude. Not doing technology is no longer an option.
  • Asking for support does not mean you lack competence, it just means you are intelligent enough to know you have something to learn.
  • Pretending all is well with the world will just store up problems for the future. If the mountain feels too high, tackle the technology step by step. Create a plan and work out how to work through your steps over the next 12 months.
  • Find someone in the workplace who can actively support you and help you develop your confidence. Then use them regularly!

Is lack of confidence in technology holding parts of your business back? I’d love to know. Got any great examples of successes in developing techno confidence? Please do share.

Thoughts, opinions, ideas? Leave them in the box below. All welcomed of course.

 

1 reply added

  1. Sharon 15 May, 2014 Reply

    Helen, I totally agree!

    There are so many in the workplace with little or no technology skills and getting them to change their attitude is very difficult. Perhaps through one-to-one meetings we can identify what the blockage is with them and forward them a link to this blog… if they’re able to work out how to open it!

    Thank you as always for your great tips!

    Sharon

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