4 Ways to Encourage Older Employees to be More Tech Savvy

Posted by Tamil Pettway

Mar 6

Technology is everywhere we go, becoming more and more intrinsic, and developing beyond our expectations year after year.  In many organizations across just about all industries, technology is and has become a vital part to our businesses.  It allows us to instantly communicate with our peers, add meeting notifications to other people’s calendars, store company processes and procedures on intranets, and more importantly it has become the wave for new marketing campaigns and attracting new customers.  Technology now has an influence on the jobs available, jobs that are being creating, and promotions into new jobs.

Technology has now changed the way jobs are performed.  Marketers are no longer spending their work hours cold calling and sending out direct mail.  Most marketing teams are now spending time doing email campaigns or connecting with customers on social media.  With technology now being so integrated into our cultures, it is important that organizations have employees that are able to adjust and adapt to learning the latest technology craze.  Research shows that younger generations are likely to have had exposure to computers and other technology than older employees.  So how do encourage older generations or those simply resistant to learning new skills? Here are 4 things you should try within your organization:

#1. Choose user-friendly technology  

While there are many different services and programs for organizations to choose from for daily activities, make sure you choose technology that is user-friendly.  Studies have shown that problems with usability may make it difficult for older employees to interact successfully with technology.  While functionality is always important, if your team members are having a hard time using the program, it doesn’t increase productivity.  Consider doing promotional trials or using comparison tools to determine which programs can get the job done but also remain user-friendly.  This will be a good opportunity to get employees involved allowing them to give positive and negative feedback about available options.  Doing so will allow everyone to feel involved and not like something was just forced on him or her. 

#2. Offer customizable and ongoing training

When introducing a new technology in your organization, offer training for those who express that they need help or those you know may have a difficult time adapting.  Each employee will not require the same type of training.  Some employees might do well with online training and watching videos; others may need someone sitting at their side walking them through each step.  This training and continuing of support will help older employees build skills and confidence in using technology.  It’s not a good idea to make training mandatory if you have a widespread of skill-sets within your organization, but you do want to make it available to those who need it.

#3. Highlight the benefits

Rationalize to technologically challenged or resistant employees on how the technology will be beneficial to them as well as the organization.  Doing this will change their interest and attitude towards the change.  Maybe the new program will cut back on the manual processing of paperwork which not only help the organization stay better organized and efficient, but also means it will reduce them having to stay late to review or files papers.  You can also show them how the technology may be useful in their personal lives.  Maybe the company is starting to use Skype for video conferencing and instant messaging to make meeting with employees in different geographical areas less costly.  You can highlight that Skype can also be used for personal use and they be able to use to see grandchildren who live far away.  

#4. Make it a part of a routine workday

Once you have decided to adopt a new technology or technology program enforce that it be used routinely at the very beginning.  For example, you have begun using a new program (i.e. Hubspot) for your marketing and/or sales teams, immediately begin enforcing that weekly reports be turned in that included information obtained from Hubspot.  Doing so will ensure everyone has to use it and can’t avoid it.  This is a good opportunity to offer the training assistance in step one for anyone you realize might still be having a difficult time performing the assigned tasked.

In short, when getting a new technology for your company, you want everyone to be comfortable using it, you want to offer training when and where needed,  and beneficial to not only the company but also for your staff.  If your organization is looking to implement a new technology soon, get a head start and begin thinking about how these 4 tips can be useful to your implementation process.  If your organization already has a new technology in place, it’s too late for tip one, but I encourage you to try tips 2-4 to see an improvement. 


  1. Technology for Adaptive Aging -- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK97338/
  2. Convincing Skeptical Employees to Adopt New Technology, Harvard Business Review, March 2015 -- https://hbr.org/2015/03/convincing-skeptical-employees-to-adopt-new-technology
  3. Older people, technology and community -- http://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en_us/about/ac79/docs/wp/ps/Report.pdf

Topics: Technology

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