Appello guide on engaging staff with digital telecare services image

Technology-enabled care (TEC) specialist Appello has published a free guide for organisations and housing providers planning a move to digital telecare, which highlights the importance of engaging staff with new technology.

Entitled ‘Managing the Transition to Digital Telecare: A Guide to Engaging Your Staff with the Technology’, the guide can be downloaded for free from the Appello website.

The guide covers why staff have a crucial role to play in the successful rollout of new digital telecare systems within an organisation. It details why staff need to be part of the drive to go digital, overcoming barriers to engagement, generating staff buy-in for digital TEC, and planning a staff engagement programme.

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With the analogue telecare switch-off date in 2025 fast approaching, digital telecare is firmly on the agenda for many organisations. Housing providers are looking at how they can use digital to offer better, more joined-up services that enable and support people in how they want to live their lives, the guide underlines.

Below, AT Today has detailed some of the key points from the guide for TEC organisations and housing providers to consider as digital telecare services become the industry standard.

Why staff engagement is important

As staff play a key role in delivering telecare services, it is essential that they are engaged with a move to digital services, as replacing traditional systems will have a significant impact on their everyday role, Appello notes.

Having engaged staff members means they can better support clients with changes to services. Staff will also be able to make better use of the new technology if they are engaged.

Therefore, having engaged staff members that understand the new digital telecare offering means that they can raise awareness of the benefits of this technology to service users, and assist service users with any queries they might have about the new technology.

In addition, Appello says that engaging and involving staff with the digital transformation process early on delivers a number of key benefits.

These include getting crucial insights at the research stage from staff about their requirements and any challenges they might have with current telecare services; gaining their insights about service users to help shape the digital offering; and identifying any potential issues surrounding rollout of digital telecare services, so that there is more time to tackle these problems early on.

Overcoming barriers to engagement

The guide identifies different ways in which organisations can overcome certain staff barriers to engagement with new digital telecare services.

It states: “Introducing new technology is a big change for any organisation, whatever sector they operate in. Yet the success of new systems very much depends on the people who will be using them.”

Potential barriers identified in the guide are a lack of awareness among staff of the new technology and the benefits of it, a lack of confidence in learning the new technology, and a lack of buy-in to introducing new technology.

A lack of awareness or knowledge of the new technology can lead to disengagement among employees about the prospect of going digital. Appello suggests that organisations educate employees on what going digital means in practice to improve staff engagement.

To overcome barriers surrounding a lack of confidence with new digital technology, the guide says that staff should: be supported to see how digital telecare works, receive hands-on demonstrations of the new equipment, and given reassurance that they will receive full training and support.

If staff members are suspicious about the promises of digital telecare, have concerns that it will mean less personal contact, or not see the relevance of undertaking such a large project to change the way they work, there are ways to overcome these barriers, according to the guide. Being open about the reasons behind the move to digital, and what this will look like in practice, helps staff to see the value of the new technology.

Appello also recommends that organisations explain to employees that the analogue switch-off in 2025 necessitates the move to digital telecare services and ensures continuity of services.

Generating staff buy-in for digital telecare

The guide states: “Getting your staff excited about the possibilities of a new digital telecare system is a fundamental element for creating engagement.”

Appello advises that organisations use a person-centred approach to encourage adoption of digital technology. This includes explaining to staff how the new digital service will deliver more benefits to users and how the technology can make their jobs easier. Finding what motivates staff in their job and relating to that is a powerful tool, the guide says.

Benefits of digital telecare

To highlight the tangible, positive differences that going digital will make to staff members, Appello recommends discussing how digital telecare will help staff in in their day-to-day jobs. Digital telecare systems, for example, can make tasks more efficient and easier for staff, such as dealing with faults remotely. It is also straightforward to add new users to digital systems, and employees can access the systems off-site, giving them the flexibility to manage multiple properties.

Digital telecare systems can further bring about numerous benefits to service users, according to the guide. This includes much faster call connections, introducing a priority system based on user needs, video calling options, and data insights to see how the system is working and how service users engage with the digital service.

Moreover, digital telecare offerings can bring about more independent living enhancements for service users than their analogue counterparts, Appello notes. Integrated features such as video door entry, video calling and Wi-Fi mean that individuals are better connected and feel safer and more in control.

Planning a staff engagement programme

The staff engagement programme should, according to the guide, raise awareness and inform, reassure and instil confidence, ensure that the process is open and transparent, and prepare teams for the installation and launch of new telecare systems.

Appello says that using internal communication channels to keep staff in the loop about project updates and resources is a helpful tool. Resources could include case studies of real examples where digital telecare is working for other organisations, relevant FAQs for employees, and video explainers.

The guide also suggests using a programme of events to address different elements of going digital. For example, organisation could hold lunchtime sessions for staff to ask any questions or raise concerns, offer technology demonstrations so staff can get to grips with new systems before it is rolled out to service users, and giving system training.

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