Published on April 30th, 2020 | by Sunit Nandi0
Getting Ready for Future Technology: Ways to Make Tech Accessible to Older Employees
Future technology is on its way, whether we like it or not, so how can we support older workers to keep up with so much technological change? Read on for more…
In a world where technology is constantly on the up, it can be tricky to keep up. Even as a young person, staying up to date with the latest apps and trends can be a complete minefield. So, imagine what this must be like for older people who are still in the workforce!
Any discrimination solicitors will tell you that not hiring somebody based on their age is illegal, but it may surprise you to learn that this still happens. Jobs are advertised looking for young, fresh faces, and people aren’t hired due to the preconceptions about their age. Granted, technology may be more confusing for these older workers, but that doesn’t make them less valuable candidates.
Today, we’ll be talking about why keeping all your employees, old and young, in the know about technology can be a huge business investment. By making sure all your employees are on a level playing field when it comes to tech, who knows what benefits may follow. To discover more about why this is a good plan, and how to go about it, you came to the right place…
Preconceptions of Older Workers
As a society, it’s practically embedded into our very nature to dislike growing old. The media constantly scorns celebrities for looking older, and sells us the dream of being young forever, through make-up, creams, and plastic surgery.
What’s more, there’s a preconceived idea that younger people are smarter than older people. This demonstrates an inherent construct that older people are less useful in society. So, it’s ingrained within us to have a number of preconceptions about hiring older candidates, including:
- They could be stuck in their ways, as they are less impressionable than younger co-workers;
- They’re unwilling to learn new things;
- Being helped by a younger co-worker might make them feel patronised;
- They may struggle to use even simple technology;
- They are less efficient in their work, so will take longer to do things;
- They don’t want to socialise with their younger teammates;
- And they may be slower learners, so might not pick things up as readily as their younger colleagues.
Undoubtedly, there’s no denying that older workers tend to be less accustomed to using technology. We can’t forget that not everyone grew up with tech at their fingertips, like many millennials and Generation Z-ers out there. IT and Computing lessons weren’t commonplace 20-odd years ago, and mobile phones weren’t visible at every corner.
That said, these preconceptions on how older workers value technology, and can keep up with it, couldn’t be any more wrong. In fact, by just providing that little push to ensure everyone knows the technology basics, you could see many benefits to your company.
Why Should we Keep Older Workers Up to Date with Future Technology?
Whether it be new systems, databases, and interfaces, or just navigating throughout the desktop, this may come less naturally to older people. Considering these difficulties, what is the point of ensuring your entire workforce are able to navigate the ever-changing world of technology?
Well, although we can’t deny that older generations were not brought up in a world of tech, this doesn’t mean they’re unwilling to learn. In fact, there are plenty of reasons to improve education on technology in the workplace where that came from…
Makes the Workforce More Efficient
According to studies, a workforce with a mixture of ages is actually the best for most companies. Sharing varying points of view and ideas, listening to one another’s different life experiences, and learning from one another really is so important to the health of the workforce.
By employing people with a wide variety of background and ages, and training them all to boost their abilities, cognitive diversity in the workforce will be improved. This way, the team can work more effectively with one another.
Keeps Morale Up
Training everyone to gain the same level of knowledge is a sure-fire way to make sure your team’s morale is maintained. By keeping everyone on a level playing field when it comes to the basics of technology, you can ensure no one is left behind.
It’s an Investment in the Business’ Future
The future is a scary place; some future technology predictions 2020 include wearable biometrics, neural interfaces, and further implementation of AI. Even further into the future, some future technology predictions 2050 show we could even reach the stage of AI reincarnation!
Clearly, keeping on top of these technological changes is paramount to keeping businesses running through it all. Older employees have a lot to give, including life experience, social experience, a long-standing list of business connections, and a strong worth ethic. In some ways, spending a lifetime adapting and changing to decades of social, economic, and cultural change has set them up for future technological developments.
So, the benefits of keeping older generations on the technological boat is vital to the pulse of any business. By making sure that older workers are trained effectively, and can keep up with new interfaces and systems, it’s clear that the benefits are strong. These acquired skills, alongside the other benefits an older colleague can bring to the table, will be second-to none.
5 Top Tips for Helping Older Workers with Tech
So, now you know why it’s so important to ensure everyone, including your older workers, are up to date with technology, how can you do this? Well, there are some really simple ways to do this. So, here are some top tips to help you make sure your employees are all on a level playing field…
Provide Regular Training
We’ve already discussed how ensuring all your employees are comfortable with technology is an investment in your business. So, this is where training comes in. This training could come in the form of:
- Paying for an external trainer to come into the office;
- Purchasing some online training;
- Or, just using the expertise of someone in the office.
That said, there’s no denying that this training will cost your company time and money. This may seem like a waste, however, as we’ve seen, by ensuring everyone is in-the-know, this will have a number of positive benefits to your workforce. Some examples of valuable training that may help your employees include:
- Microsoft training, including Word, Excel, Office, and Publisher;
- Similar training for Google Drive products, like Google Sheets and Google Docs;
- Training on marketing interfaces, like Mailchimp, Canva, and Adobe
- Social media training for all social media channels;
- Training for HR databases;
- General computer training to navigate efficiently.
Naturally, providing training for some of these will be subject to the employees’ job. That said, even the seemingly simple things, like Microsoft products, may not be so simple for everyone. So, ensuring each person is on top of their general skills, the company can work at an efficiency it’s never worked at before.
Encourage More Accessible Settings
Once your employees have got the skills to work productively and efficiently, what’s next? Well, making sure everybody’s workstations are set up for them, personally, is essential to keep everyone comfortable, and maintain health and safety. This will then help to boost efficiency along the way.
This could include making sure the computer is set up to emit minimal blue light, as this can be harsh on your eyes and face. What’s more, setting up larger text and fonts throughout the computer could also help too. Whatever works for your employee to make working simpler and more effective is key.
Provide a Mouse
If you haven’t used a laptop throughout your early years to submit school and university work, it may be more difficult to get to grips with a keypad. So, making sure every worker has the option to use a mouse is paramount to ensuring work can be completed in good time. This may seem like a very simple fix, but it could have the power to shave off a lot of time from various jobs.
Mix Up Peoples’ Seating at Work
A really great way to make sure everyone has the opportunity to learn throughout any given day is to mix and match the seating plan. We’ve already discussed the benefits of having people of multiple ages within a team, so why not practise this theory on the office floor too?
Not only can older employees learn a lot of technology tips and ideas from younger employees, the younger people could also learn a lot from their older colleagues too. So, by seating people of varying ages close to one another, this could really raise everyone’s morale and opportunities to learn.
Have a Patient Attitude
Finally, it’s important to ensure everyone understands the basics on how to teach new ides in a friendly and unpatronizing manner. This is paramount to keeping morale high too, as nobody wants to be made to feel stupid or inadequate at what they do. By employing patience through any training, you’ll be able to keep employee satisfaction high, whilst boosting productivity in the process.
Are You Ready for Future Technology?
Technology changes every day, and we have absolutely no clue what’s around the corner, let alone what future technology 2050 will bring! No one truly knows what crazy future technology we’ll come up against. So, making sure everyone is ready for what’s to come, so we can learn together, could truly benefit your business.
Have you had any experience providing training for your workforce? Or, do you think you might try some of these tips to invest in the future of your business now? Let us know, in the comments below, what your thoughts are on improving technology education; let’s get a conversation going!