Technology, for all its benefits, can be one of the most divisive areas of use in the workplace. While you may not want to call out technology-illiterate employees for fear of getting accused of discrimination, the truth of the matter is that all of your employees need to be at the same level of technological proficiency in order for your workplace to remain a well-oiled machine. Here are a few ways you can instill technology awareness in your workers without driving them away.
Test for Skills
Before you can begin to improve your employees’ skill sets, you must first determine where those skill sets lie. Establishing a baseline test to determine which relevant skills are in use and which ones need improvement will give you a sense of where your employees stand; similarly, the employees in question will be able to address more adequately their individual skill sets after participating in your test.
Once you know which areas need further assessments, you can put together a list of mandatory skills and their respective baselines. This list will most likely include anything from basic tasks—emailing, using Google Drive, etc.—to specific skills on a departmental or individual level. Be sure to post this list in a public (or accessible) place so that employees know exactly what they should know how to do; you’ll also want to make sure that future job descriptions cover your list of skills to avoid confusion.
It isn’t a bad idea to try to anticipate the development of future skills, but don’t pour too much energy into predicting the future—like any field of expertise, technology is bound to improve and change in ways that you can’t necessarily foresee.
Improve Existing Skills and Foster New Ones
Actually improving your employees’ technology skills can prove to be a massive headache. Fortunately, technology itself has evolved to the point where offering things like individual training modules for specific programs or features is pretty commonplace, and most HR departments will include references for common technology-based skills (e.g., accessing employee work portals, emails, and so on).
If the skills which you’ve determined need improvement don’t include built-in modules, you have a couple of options: group trainings and individual trainings. Both have their merits:
- Group trainings allow you to address common issues in your baseline assessments at an available professional development session or inservice, meaning that you won’t necessarily miss out on regularly scheduled worktime.
- Individual trainings will usually take away from individual worktime, but they’ll also ensure that employees who are struggling receive customized feedback that fits their learning styles; often, individualized training assessments can take place on an employee’s own time as well.
If you’re completely strapped for time, you might consider hiring contractors to take over your trainings for the time being; just make sure that they leave you with enough residual materials to ensure that you can follow through with subsequent trainings.
It is worth noting that outsourcing your trainings to remote contractors is usually not a great idea—between language barriers and quality control, you may find that doing so both frustrates your employees and accomplishes less than you like.
Support Your Employees
Technology is fickle, and even your most tech-savvy employees will run into hiccups from time to time. One of the worst things you can do as an employer is neglect to support your employees when they run into snags; after all, the old “turn it off and on again” adage isn’t always the right solution, and every minute your workers waste on troubleshooting is money out of your pocket.
The easiest way to mitigate potential employee frustration is by ensuring that you have an IT department that is both well-educated on your current systems and easy-going with your staff members. You may need to invest heavily in your IT staff up front, but doing so will pay dividends later.
On the other side of the issue, you may need to make some tough decisions regarding who continues to work for you if you find that you have employees who are stubborn or completely unable to keep up with the technological rigors of their posts. Unfortunately, one toxic employee can change the dynamic of your entire staff, so removing such an employee could end up being a necessary—if unfortunate—solution to a technology-resistant department.
Technology is—and will continue to be—a massive part of any company’s infrastructure, so it’s incredibly important that your employees know how to keep up. For simple and modern payroll technology processes, call Abacus Payroll at (856) 677-6225 today!