Competitive businesses can get ahead of the curve using technology to save on costs, improve employee and customer communication and prevent expensive errors. Getting and keeping the staff up to date on all of the changes is incredibly difficult, but failing to do so can hurt employee productivity and customer satisfaction—two areas that need a competitive edge.
Staying up with the latest technology is not the sole domain of the IT department, in fact it should be driven by C-level managers. Why? Because technology changes work best when strong management leaders show no fear of them. This leads to faster improvements for the rest of the staff as they are reassured things will go well. Many businesses find they can’t count on the IT staff to lead the way as they often lack the ability to explain technology in a way that everyone can understand.
So how can a growing company achieve staff buy-in and comfort with technology changes? Here are some suggestions:
Have a working knowledge of technology.
They don’t need to know how to fix servers or reconfigure firewalls but they do need to understand the big picture ideas about how, for example, Cloud and Software-as-a-Service differs from purchased on-premises approaches. They also need to understand and prepare for any security risks—not just within the IT department but on all levels of employee engagement with technology. Lastly, they need to embrace the disruption that comes with change and paint a vision that leads to a stronger, more profitable company.
Communicate with the staff.
When adding new products and services requires changes in procedures, managers need to participate in the in-person training sessions and online tutorials so they set an example for those who learn more slowly. They need to support standardizing the training for new employees so they learn exactly what the others are taught.
Security is the number one priority for many businesses—especially those that handle sensitive data including credit card information, client records and intellectual property. The IT department can only do so much with their tools, the rest is up to the computer users who receive emails and are connected to the web. Top management needs to communicate about specific risks such as ransomware, viruses and new security threats rather than issue general instructions like “don’t click on any strange websites”.
Encourage employees that aren’t “getting it” to ask for help.
There should be no stigma attached to employees who are slow to adapt or understand changes in technology. But neither should there be a dismissal of their lack of comprehension; everyone needs to drop the eye roll and the “you know how the gals is the office are” attitude. The important message is that the right approach will help anyone who is having trouble with new systems and procedures by increasing their confidence and thus productivity–not to mention improved customer interactions. This is where HR or a department head should take a role in finding the learning method that works best and making sure that training alleviates the problem.
Foster an open door policy.
The staff should never be afraid to approach management with improvement suggestions. They also should never have to say things like “I asked for a fix about 5 times and nothing has changed.” Technology is a constant of business life today and needs to be viewed as every employee’s responsibility. This is where, once again, upper management can play an important role by encouraging a free flow of ideas and concerns.
How can NPI help?
A Technology Management company can either serve as an entire IT department—complete with a friendly helpdesk—or as a supplement to in-house staff who find it hard to manage all the complex systems and still help with the little daily issues too.
NPI, for example, works closely with management to create a technology environment that accomplishes the business goals and simplifies processes at the same time.