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Systems & Resources - Investing in Technology

Technology affects all aspects of our lives. It changes the way we learn, how we communicate, and is completely altering the workforce as we know it. With technology ever-evolving, it can be challenging—and expensive—to keep up with the latest trends. This is especially true for larger organizations.

Goal


Gain an understanding of how investing in technology can boost organizational productivity and employee engagement.

Why invest in technology?
Keeping up with technology helps improve productivity, processes, and even your bottom line. Good organizations don’t shy away from new technology — they embrace it. Employees are more motivated when their employer invests in systems that make their jobs easier and more efficient. TalentMap research shows that many employees, especially younger ones, are more engaged when their organization is considered a leader in technology. Just think: “Apple” or “Google”. Even small tech start-ups have highly engaged employees because they equate technological prowess with pride in the organization, optimism in the future, and personal accomplishment. Conversely, when organizations are perceived as falling behind in technology, employees lose that sense of pride. (And while “shame” is a strong word, their emotions move in that direction.)

Of course, decisions to invest in technology need to consider operational efficiency and effectiveness first. But there is also an “employee engagement dividend” if your organization is at least considered up-to-date

Finding the right technology solutions
There’s no denying that investing in technology can be expensive. Before taking the plunge, think about your short- and long-term needs. Then assess your business reality. What areas or functions of your organization would benefit most from technology upgrades? How workable is this with your current budget? Start by taking an inventory of your current technologies. Research what your competitors or other companies are using, and see how your organization measures up. Choosing which areas to invest in first will depend mainly on your organization's size and budget.

Action


Find The Right Tech, Invest In Training, And Measure The Results

Automate time-consuming tasks - Leverage technology to allow employees to focus on more challenging tasks. Let's say your organization spends a lot of time reporting project status to customers. You can automate this task by bringing in a tracking tool and giving your customers access.This will free up more time for employees, and allow customers to check the project status on their schedule. It may also offer more opportunities for future process improvements.

Get rid of repetitive tasks - Analyze your tasks and determine which ones can be partially or wholly automated. For example, if a customer has to fill out a form for a service, consider installing kiosks so they can enter their information themselves. This allows the data to go right into your organization's IT system, eliminating the task for employees. It also helps lower error rates.

Identify and phase out old infrastructure - Generally, newer solutions for older problems are more cost- and time-effective. For years, those who worked in academia had to use acetate projectors in the classroom. Nowadays, these are being replaced with Chromecast and a projector, eliminating the task of writing lesson plans by hand.

Consider outsourcing certain tasks - Determine if there are any tasks your organization can outsource. Often, using a dedicated service provider is better and more cost-effective than trying to perform certain functions in-house. A great example of this is servers. Many organizations now host in Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure rather than maintaining their own.

Perform a cost-benefit analysis of major organization functions - Even if your technology up-to-date, switching to newer or more advanced providers can improve responsiveness and productivity. For example, platforms like Slack can help boost the efficiency of internal communications as opposed to just using email.

Get employee feedback (change management 101) - Unfortunately, many organizations don't replace equipment until it breaks. This leaves employees stuck with old systems that are frustrating to use. Talk to your employees to see if there is any technology they think needs updating. Periodic refreshes will lead to happier employees and increased engagement.

Implement change management - Don’t underestimate the implications of changing work processes on employees. You need to give careful consideration to the change management aspect of introducing new technology. The next set of tasks address how to get your employees on board with and understand the benefit of these changes.

Demonstrate the urgency of the situation - Employees need to be convinced that changing their work process is both urgent and necessary. They will not adapt well if they feel that change is being made only for change’s sake. Just because it is new does not mean it will be well accepted. (See the attached link about the burning platform.)

Consult with your employees - Consider your employees to be the expert at doing their jobs. Make sure you get their input on how to adopt and implement the new technology.

Invest in training - Train employees on how to adopt the new process and use the new technology. Do not assume the technology is intuitive and easy to use. Also, make sure training is adapted to different learning styles. While some employees are perfectly comfortable learning from online tutorials and videos, others (mostly older) learn more effectively from “show me” approach.

Conduct a pilot test - Don’t roll out the new technology all at once. Isolate a part of the organization to implement the technology and learn from it.

Communicate, communicate, communicate - Make sure all employees, customers, and possibly also vendors are aware of the rollout and how that will improve the business.

Monitor the implementation - Do not assume that once the technology is rolled out the job is done.People need approximately three weeks to develop a new heuristic (which is a simple mental shortcut we use to make decisions). Convene meetings and check-ins to see how things are going and continue to address issues and provide solutions.

Reference Material
Why Investing in the Best Technology for Your Team Will Skyrocket Productivity
Using technology to improve efficiency
Create a burning platform

Updated on: 08/31/2023

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