A great many technology users in the fleet management industry are in the older demographics, commonly using laptops and tablet computers. Studies show, however, that the use of newer mobile gadgets, like smartphones, is lagging among older Americans. In part, that is because mobile devices typically have smaller screens and complex menus that may be harder to navigate.
AssetWorks fleet management mobile apps can help make the transition to using some of these devices on the shop floor much easier. While many fleets have already taken the leap into the mobile world, we never want anyone, or any fleet, to feel left in the dust because of the inaccessibility of new, efficient technology. Here are some tips for introducing new fleet management mobile technology to senior technicians:
1) When introducing new technological concepts to your senior technicians, build on existing knowledge.
Comparing a new technology concept with something the senior technician is already familiar with will make it easier for to understand, like comparing web addresses to street addresses, for example. Starting in the middle of a topic would be confusing for anyone – imagine if this article started discussing derivatives and equations specific to Calculus, without ever establishing Algebra first. The same rules apply to conversations about new technology: either build off existing knowledge or build up to the new concepts with smaller steps first.
2) Explain the relevance before going into detail.
If you ever went to school, taught at school or have kids in school, you know this one pretty well. “Why do we have to learn this? When will we ever use this? Isn’t there a better way?” While adults probably won’t be as dramatic as schoolchildren, the fight to prove the usefulness of new technology applies to all stages of life. Before you can launch into the mechanics of how to use your new shop gadget, explain how the senior technician might benefit from using it. Will it save them time so they can get ahead on their workload? Will it reduce errors so they don’t have to duplicate work? Will it keep them safer during their manual work? Any sort of tangible justification can have immense benefits.
3) Avoid technical words and use consistent language.
“Tech speak” is becoming a part of everyday language. As you talk tech with senior technicians, be mindful of the words you use. Many tech-related terms may be unfamiliar to them. When there are multiple terms that can be used to describe something, choose the simplest, most established, option and be consistent. Imagine this very dumbed-down example: someone has never used a PC before and you are trying to tell them to open a “program” or to close their open “window.” Suddenly, the person you are teaching is confused and frustrated while you rack your brain for a way to explain it. At this point in technology, your workers undoubtedly know the basics of a PC, but never assume that they know higher-level tech terms just because you do.
4) Build in regular time for your senior technicians to ask questions.
The sheer volume of new information they are taking in can easily overwhelm senior technicians learning new technology for the first time. Repeating key concepts will make them easier to remember and will reinforce the most important concepts. No question is a stupid question. Everyone has a different way of learning, which may result in lots of questions, no questions or even specific question repetition. Be sure to be inclusive of all styles of learning!
5) Validate expressions of confusion while reinforcing that anyone can and will learn.
Senior technicians are used to being more knowledgeable and competent at most of their tasks by virtue of the fact that they have more experience. It may have been years since they were a novice at something, so when they express frustration, be sure to validate the difficulty of learning technology for the first time. Reinforce that learning something new is always hard but that with practice they will advance. It may also help to share any difficulties or confusion you’ve experienced when learning technology in the past. Remember that any starting point is a valid starting point – rushing into a new concept when someone isn’t understanding will only result in headaches down the road.