Almost all care workers will encounter technology when supporting or meeting the needs of the people they care for, but that doesn’t mean they feel comfortable using it. My role with the National Association of Care and Support Workers means I often hear what care workers think about technology. Some are confident using technology and embrace it as part of their evolving role, but others are fearful and uncomfortable and only use it because it’s a job requirement.
In this week’s column, I share my top tips to get your teams more comfortable using technology.
Be open to honest feedback from your team about their experiences, hesitations and concerns about using technology. Listening to their concerns and addressing them will help you move forward. Gather feedback from one-to-one conversations, focus groups, team meetings and staff surveys and use this feedback to decide how to overcome concerns and make improvements.
Provide training and resources
Most uncertainty and lack of confidence around using technology come from a lack of knowledge. You can overcome this by providing training and resources for your team. From personal experience, I’ve found holding 1:1 or group sessions, creating how-to guides and setting up a buddy system are great ways to boost confidence and skills. I’ve also worked for organisations that have devised step-by-step guides, tutorials and support group sessions to help upskill staff. Be aware of the language you use when talking about technology and avoid jargon to prevent confusion or misinterpretation.
As well as providing resources, training and guides, allow your staff to experiment with the new technology before you make it a part of daily service delivery. Setting up a dummy system means your staff can experiment in their own time and become more familiar with and comfortable using new systems.
Utilise your team
Not everyone on your team will be uncomfortable using technology, so make sure you utilise your ‘experts’ who are confident and positive. Dedicated team members who are ‘technology champions’ can help embed changes to existing systems, upskill others and change the mindsets of their more reluctant colleagues. We all know that sometimes technology doesn’t always work the way it should on the floor during a busy service, so having colleagues on hand who use the technology every day will allow them to understand any first-hand frustrations and work through them.
Lead by example
Learning to use any new technology yourself means you know how systems work and can support your team when they need help. There’s nothing worse than asking a manager something about a company tool that they don’t know how to use. Knowing the system better also means you can highlight its benefits to your team. This might be reminding them of how long care notes used to take to write compared to electronic ones or how technology has improved people’s wellbeing.
Be patient and follow up
It may take some time for your team to fully embrace the new technology. Be patient and continue to provide support and encouragement. It’s important to check in with your team after teaching them how to use a new tool. Depending on the new skill, it may be a couple of hours or it could be a week or so, just to make sure that they’re doing okay or if they need further training. If they do need further training, remain patient and supportive.
In summary, introducing new technology to a team can be a challenge, but this can be mitigated by:
- Gathering feedback.
- Providing training and resources.
- Encouraging experimentation.
- Setting up a support system.
- Leading by example.
- Highlighting the benefits.
- Being patient.
It’s possible to help your team become comfortable with and skilled in using technology. And this will benefit their development, as well as the care provided to the people they support.