As you’re reading this, I’m probably traveling—on my way down to Puerto Rico for an industry conference. I note this not because I want to brag about 80 degrees and a cool breeze (though I do), but because for the past month, I’ve been practicing my very, very rusty Spanish in order to adapt better when speaking to any of the locals. In order to brush up, I’ve been using a wonderful app on my phone called Duolingo. It makes learning—or relearning—Spanish simple and fun, yet nets significant results.
This got me thinking to all of the new learning opportunities available to you and me every day. It wasn’t that long ago, if we wanted to research something, we had to go to a library or, if you were lucky, rely on a set of home encyclopedias that were probably at least five years old. If you wanted to brush up on a skill, you usually had to go practice in person with someone who was at least your equal or better. Today, we can Google just about any topic and have step-by-step instructions, videos or other media at our fingertips. There are countless learning and educational apps available on our phones and mobile devices. There are online class programs offered free from universities and resources like Lynda.com to help hone your skills and achieve certifications in a number of topics from business to software to creative arts. In short, the ability to learn and grow your skill set is more accessible than ever before.
Which is why stories one of my friends has been telling me for months—about how the majority of her co-workers resist using new technology—are all the more frustrating. Despite all of these learning and personal growth opportunities, some people just flat out refuse to accept new technologies or embrace new skillsets. In my friend’s case, this has caused her significant grief because as her company moves forward with new technologies, she gets singled out as the only on in her office with the skills, or desire, to put them into action. My friend winds up doing most of the work in the office simply because she is the most familiar with modern technologies and practices. Her coworkers, meanwhile, continue to use outdated systems, programs, and practices that take triple the amount of time. It’s no wonder that despite my friend’s overtime efforts, her office is lagging far behind the rest of her company’s branches.
If a company makes a decision to embrace new software and technologies, it needs to make sure its entire team is on board. Today’s leading-edge software can do amazing things and make work so much easier, but it will not work as intended or live up to promised potential if only a handful of people are utilizing it correctly.
That statement is certainly true of construction software. The product we’ve developed in our Spectrum® Construction Software streamlines hours, days, even weeks of work into simple, easily manageable processes. Even though it is extremely simple to use, we continually offer detailed training sessions for our clients to learn all of Spectrum’s full potential. We also produce webinars, videos, step-by-step how-to material when new developments are released—all so our end users can improve their own skills in using the software.
If your company is experiencing workforce resistance towards embracing new business practices, there are options that might spur acceptance. Thankfully, most modern software or technologies have extensive, user-friendly training available—whether they be from the developer or from users with experience. You can reward employees that are quickest to embrace and learn the new technologies and find ways to incent other employees that remain resistant. Show them firsthand how it will improve their work or make their daily tasks simpler. Schedule one-on-one walkthroughs with trained users. And when that training occurs, take into account different employees’ personalities and learning habits, and create effective training programs that make the training relevant to them. Some leading companies also offer to pay for employees’ classes and or certifications in particular fields as skill growth incentives.
Sure, change can be scary when it happens. No one likes to be rattled from their comfort zone and made to start doing things differently. It’s easy to imagine the resistance—and the subsequent poor performance—my friend’s company is experiencing if a work environment exists that doesn’t encourage personal skill growth. Conversely, when investment in training and education is touted, it is hard to see resistance persevering. Instead, motivated, skilled employees become leaders in your business and industry. And your company comes out ahead.
With this in mind, how much emphasis does your company place on training and educating employees on modern technologies?