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Age and New Landscape Business Management Software Adoption: Some Surprising Revelations

Posted On Jul 11, 2019 7:00:00 AM By Nanette Seven, Vice President

tablet with landscape imageTechnology is part of our everyday lives—and becomes more so every day. From online shopping to using devices to remain informed or connect with others, technology is used daily and that’s no different for those age 50 and older. Over 90 percent of adults over 50 own a computer or laptop, 70 percent have a smartphone, and more than 40 percent own a tablet, according to a national study.

So, why is there still so much concern about age and technology? 

When talking about the adoption of landscape business management software, oftentimes the questions circle back to teaching new software to older employees. But the truth is, so many people have already adopted technology in their everyday life. Therefore, it won’t be as difficult as it seems to encourage them to adopt it in their workday.

Even so, there are certainly some ways to make the process easier. Understanding that this is a concern for many who are considering landscape business management software, we’ve talked to some of our clients and rounded up some advice that may help ease your mind when it comes to computer literacy by age. There’s no reason to assume that only your young employees will adopt technology. 

It simply doesn’t have to be that way.

The Pushback is Dying Down

First and foremost, before getting too up in arms about assuming your older employees are going to give you a lot of grief for adopting landscape business management software, consider the fact that we’re hearing pushback is dying down. It’s a message that we’re hearing again and again.

We’ll admit this hasn’t always been the case. Include Software has been around since the 1980s and there was a time when software (and technological advances in general) were incredibly overwhelming to some. But in those times, even regular computer use was new.

We can honestly say that technology use is becoming more prevalent irregardless of age. When people are used to it being part of their daily lives, it’s not that unusual for it to be part of their workday, too. 

In talking to our clients, they’ve shared similar sentiments. They’ve told us that even when hiring older employees who are coming from companies that didn’t utilize software, there has been a lot of acceptance and limited pushback about getting used to the software. In fact, many employees, even older ones, appreciate the fact that a company has adopted software to automate so many of the company’s processes. There are more positives associated with it than many realize, even right off the bat. 

Of course, there are always going to be some employees (particularly those long-time employees who have been with you from the start) that might want to know why they have to change the way they’ve always performed certain tasks. We’ve talked about some of those questions quite honestly in our case studies, in which companies have openly discussed the learning curve in adopting landscape business management software. 

The prevailing message from those who have dealt with employee pushback has been to “focus on the positives,” which is our next big point.

It’s Essential to Demonstrate the Benefits

landscaping-crew-meeting-1There’s no question that the companies who have had the most success with the adoption of landscape business management software have been those that have focused on the ways in which the software is going to benefit their employees. As soon as employees can see that the software will make them more efficient and eliminate the risk of mistakes, they are much more likely to get them on board. 

The message you need to stress: Ultimately, this is going to make your life easier.

They’re going to get home from work faster, they’re going to sell more work, and they’re going to have fewer errors. These are the types of real-life benefits that you need to be talking about when it comes to getting your employees on board. When we talk to existing clients who have had great success with their employees embracing software, one of the first things that they tell us is that focusing on the benefits made all of the difference in the acceptance process. As soon as employees could see how the software could help them personally, they were more willing to use it. 

Of course, keep in mind that “personal impact factor” is important, maybe more so to your older employees than to your younger ones. 

Sure, they want to see your company perform well. But if they know they only have so many years left working there before they retire, they are going to be more invested in how software helps them personally than how it helps the company as a whole. 

Keep that important point in mind as you talk to employees. Use specific examples and spell it out in clear language that the software is going to make their job easier (and tell them exactly how it will). Don’t leave it to chance that they’ll understand this. Make it obvious and talk about it openly. In the end, it will pay off with better acceptance and ideally faster adoption.

YOU Must Lead the Way

Landscape Software Buyer's GuideThat brings us to a final and very important point—the fact that you (we’re speaking to owners and top-level managers, here) must lead the way. We have worked with companies that have older owners and managers and they’ve understood the benefits of landscape business management software and therefore adopted it, however, they have remained hands-off as they didn’t want to learn it. 

Unfortunately, that can be problematic. 

It just doesn’t set the right tone for the rest of your employees, particularly your older ones. If you don’t want to learn the software, then they might start to question: Why should I have to?

As an owner, we’re not saying that you shouldn’t delegate the training and implementation to a manager. It’s okay if someone in your company is really great at technology and you delegate the role of handling the software to them. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, for a good number of our clients the person who knows the technology the best is not the owner but instead an appointed person within the company.

However, we are saying that you should not be completely hands-off when it comes to the software because that sends a negative message. We believe that owners and top-level managers must lead by example with everyone participating in software use to at least some extent. 

In other words, you don’t have to be the person that knows the most about it, but you should remain involved as much as possible. You’ll find it makes a huge difference. 

Landscape Business Management Software Adoption is Possible for Any Age

Though it’s easy to assume that your older employees are never going to be onboard with adopting landscape business management software, that simply hasn’t been the case when we’ve talked to our clients. Our clients tell us that irregardless of age, adoption can be embraced—but you have to approach it the right way.

By implementing some of these ideas and learning from those who have gone before you, you’ll be able to find success when it comes time to go down this new road.

Don’t let fears about computer literacy by age hold you back. You deserve to get the most out of software—and your employees do, too. As soon as they start to see how much it can benefit them, you can rest assured they’ll be interested.

If you’re ready to see how landscape business management software can make your business (and its employees) stronger, let’s explore and see what our products can do for you.

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Topics: Production & Operations, Sales & Estimating, Technology, Accounting & Financial Reporting, Human Resources

Nanette Seven, Vice President

Written by Nanette Seven, Vice President

As a child, I was tasked with summer chores like weeding the rose garden, and helping to plant and harvest the vegetable garden. These childhood “chores” evolved into something I enjoyed. I have a passion for being outside, whether it is getting my hands dirty gardening, coaching and watching sports, or being on the Chesapeake Bay. Outdoors is where I would prefer to be. So, when the opportunity to work for a high-end residential design/build company presented itself, it seemed a good fit. I never imagined that almost 25 years later I would still be working in the landscape industry. I feel fortunate to have worked for Include for the past 20+ years. I wake up every day and do something that I truly enjoy, and with people I honestly like being around. I travel quite extensively to industry events to stay current on the changing needs of the landscape industry. Learning from our clients, consultants, and peers is also a focus of mine; I want to know what they need to help their businesses grow and thrive. This valuable information is used to help build and improve the software and services Include provides. I personally get great satisfaction knowing that what Include Software does as a team is unmatched in our industry. We provide leading edge software with top-notch customer service, and make a positive impact on people and their businesses every single day.