April 10, 2018

How to Convince Old School Techs to Adopt New Technology

Written by
Mahrukh Karimi

Getting old school techs to use new technology can pose quite a challenge. It can be difficult to make company-wide improvements when some employees are set in their old ways and look at these changes with the mindset “don’t fix something that ain’t broke.”

New technology can provide countless benefits to your business. Management software, apps, or devices can save a company time and money, paving the road for growth. While it can be easier to let resistant technicians stick to paper and pen and do what they want, this can limit the progress of your company and fester a resentful and divisive company culture. New technology is an investment and should be treated as such. If you want a return on that investment, uniform use of the new technology is a must. Showing old school techs that new technology can produce real positive results can sway even the most obstinate of techs. You don’t have to fix something that isn’t broken, but you sure can improve it.

Clearly explain goals and expectations

Before integrating a new technology into your business, you should set clear goals and expectations. Before you employ new technology, write down your desired outcomes for improvement and a timeline for progress.

Set these goals, then communicate them effectively to your technicians. Clear expectations set the framework for the results you seek. If they don’t understand the whole picture, they will not be able to react accordingly. After all, how can your team meet expectations when the expectations haven’t been voiced? Leave things open to interpretation, and you can’t be surprised when your technicians aren’t able to read your mind.

Identify the problem

An old school technician may seem completely set in their own ways, but their resistance to new technology could mask underlying problems. Not wanting to learn a new skill could be a sign that they are fearful of what that technology means for their job, may not understand the technology, or may be afraid of asking questions. Addressing these issues will help you create a plan for installing this technology as a functioning part of your business model.

Go through proper training prior to technology adoption

Once you communicate expectations, early training can help ensure that your technicians know how to use new technology properly. While you and some of your technicians may take basic technology skills for granted, your older technicians may not be as comfortable using technology.

In-depth training will allow all your technicians to start off on the same level and understand the new technology to its full capacity. Follow that up with regular training schedules that allow new information to be built upon so that it isn’t lost.

Consider using a buddy system to pair a tech wiz with an employee who isn’t so tech-savvy, and do consistent check-ins with both data and in-person meetings to see how the pair are faring. Encourage questions and be open to answering them thoroughly to help the information stick.

Don’t change too much at once

Change can be a tough pill to swallow. While some people thrive when thrown into deep waters, others may not take to learning in the same way. Ease your techs into using new technology by introducing technology changes little by little.

You can achieve this by letting your technicians understand a new device before they have to use it. Let them take it out for a spin! If your business is going mobile, let them take the new tablets home to test out. When they become familiar with how the device operates, they will better understand how to use them with field service management software.

When digitizing your business operations, make sure you find a software package that allows you to import your existing paper forms. This will make adoption an easier process for all of your employees. Whatever the changes may be, they will be more palatable if introduced little by little, allowing each stage of the transition to properly soak in.

Incentivize it

If your technicians are really stubborn and refuse to see the benefits of using technology to aid their work, incentivizing the use of new technology can be a good way to get them excited about its integration.

Let them take new technology home to use after hours, or incentivize using technology for sales through a bonus. First one to sell 10 smart thermostats takes home a prize!

Teaching is the best form of learning

Sometimes the best way to learn a new skill is to teach it to someone else. In a study on memory done at Washington University in St. Louis, students learned more when they were teaching a subject than when they were being taught it.

Have your old school tech train newer techs how to use the technology. This will put the skill in the tech’s muscle memory and make them more comfortable using it.

Conclusion

It can be difficult getting old school techs to use new technology, but with the right planning, teaching, and encouragement, the most stubborn of them will be able to see the improvements new technology can make in their jobs.

Mahrukh Karimi is a marketer for the field service management software Smart Service. In her free time, Mahrukh enjoys painting, cooking, and going on road trips.