When New Tech Means Tension, Try Taking It Step-by-Step

When New Tech Means Tension, Try Taking It Step-by-Step

By Kayla Crowder, CDAL 
Executive Director
Commonwealth Senior Living at Hillsville

Integrating new technologies into your community brings new opportunities, but it can also be challenging.

As executive directors, we need to have a clear understanding of every tool being utilized by our team members, so that we can be more effective in our positions. That means undertaking training on everything from marketing and sales systems to new nursing eMAR systems.

As a rule, I’ve always taken a proactive approach to introducing technology into the community. Here are four tips I recommend to make it smoother:

Know the program before your associates do.

At Commonwealth Senior Living, we take great pride in providing technology workshops for department heads before any new programs are rolled out to our communities.

Usually, this means an off-site meeting where department heads learn the new program inside and out. Ensuring that the head of each department has a strong understanding of the program is critical to its success.

Be creative and confident with training at the community.

Creating a positive, fun, and welcoming environment for team members is always important. It is especially important when launching new technologies.

As you roll out your on-site community training program, make it a fun experience by introducing games or allowing plenty of time for hands-on training.

For instance, during on-site community training, you could have a few laptop stations set up, and have associates in groups of no more than three share a laptop.

Walk through the system step by step and make your goal to have 100 percent engagement and participation.

Prepare well for execution “showtime!”

The day a new system is launched can be stressful. Preparing for that date through positive encouragement and question-and-answer sessions is important.

On the day a program goes live, the appropriate department head and I are on site about 45 minutes prior to launch. When we go live, we are on the floor with the team, providing real-time coaching, feedback, and troubleshooting assistance. This is particularly important if it is a system used by our front-line team, such as an eMAR system.

Typically, this assistance and shadowing is offered for the first 72 hours of a new program, around the clock. In the event it is a system that is used until 8 p.m. each evening, we are available and on-site with our team during the startup process.

Program in your follow-up.

Follow up is always important when introducing anything new to a senior living community.

Prior to our launch date, I schedule out follow-up meetings two weeks after a new system has been implemented. This allows time for associates to meet, compare notes, and talk about the pros and cons of a program. Take note of areas of opportunities where your team may need more help and prepare to provide that help at the follow-up meeting.

A very important part of follow-up: Recognize and show appreciation to associates for implementing the system and for their hard work.

Remember: It’s worth it.

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in senior living communities across the country. These new systems and platforms can help us provide better care for our residents as long as we make the implementation process a collective experience for all associates.

Team members will only be excited or enthusiastic about something if they feel their executive directors are as well—that is something I take to heart. Follow these steps and I know you will be successful in launching new technologies within your communities.