The IT support team is not always painted in a favourable light. They are often thought of as a generally unapproachable lot who emerge from their lair to confuse unwitting staff with technical jargon and unfathomable demands for a swift changeover to a new and confusing piece of upgraded software. This may be true in some organisations, but it shouldn’t be. As with any changes within a company, upgrades to IT need to be communicated to non-tech-savvy staff in a way that not only helps them understand what they need to do, but how to do it, and why it will be helpful in the long run.
While we all use technology on a daily basis at work, most people would prefer to be left to their own devices (no pun intended), and only have contact with IT when they need something fixed. Adopting and getting used to a new technology, whether that is a hardware or software overhaul or a switch to cloud computing, can be a scary prospect. On the other hand, it can be frustrating for the IT team, who immediately see and understand the benefits of upgrades, to encounter resistance or a lack of understanding from those very people they are trying to help improve their efficiency.
A proper means of engagement and communication regarding any upgrades or changes to the IT infrastructure of the business therefore needs to be implemented. Not only will it make life easier for both the staff and the IT team, it will also bring benefits to the company.
In fact, according to UK think tank The Work Foundation, organisations that put an emphasis on increased engagement between IT and regular staff by even 10% see improved efficiency that results in an average increase in profits of £1,700 per employee per year. That little extra effort can bring a lot of benefits.
The average staff member simply wants the technology the need to do their job to work when they need it, and have little time for tech failures or downtime needed for maintenance or upgrades. Engaging with them, therefore, requires putting yourself in their shoes to give the answers to the following questions they will have:
What will happen and why?
Explain fully but clearly what changes are going to be made, and why they are necessary for the ongoing or improved efficiency of the business. Avoid using over-technical jargon, and try to put it in a context staff members will understand.
For example, if you are preparing to move from a traditional server to online back-up or cloud storage, point out the volume of data the organisation is currently processing and the number of devices with access to it, to underline the strain this has on the network and why this needs to be changed. Outline the benefits of the new data storage system for the company, from more effective business continuity to easier access to and collaboration on business-critical files.
What’s in it for me?
While the benefits of upgrades or changes in technology for the company are one thing, staff members are more likely to want to know how this will benefit them specifically. Outline how the upgrade will reduce the risk of downtime and maintenance, so staff can be more confident that their devices will work when they need them to, and how they can more easily access the files they need, and recover lost data in the event of any technical hiccups they may encounter.
Again, keep the jargon out of the conversation unless specifically asked for more technical details, and focus on how it affects staff, rather than how it will all be done.
What do I need to do?
Each staff member will want to know what exactly they need to do themselves in order to get up and running on a new system or piece of software or hardware. Most of the leg work will be done by IT, but wherever and whenever a staff member needs to perform a simple onboarding task on any device, be it company computer or mobile device, be clear and reassuring about it.
Provide timelines and schedules, task lists and simple checklists for each team member to follow so that they know what they need to do, and when they need to do it. It is also important to keep staff constantly updated regarding each step of the upgrading process as and when it happens.
If training will be required to use new technology, outline when this will happen, how long it will take, and how it will fit into the normal working week of staff. It is also worth considering the different ways in which training can take place in order to suit different levels of tech knowledge. This can range from online tutorials to one-to-one guidance.
The key here is to assure team members that getting to grips with the new technology or processes for using new systems, etc, will not affect their workload, and will in the end, actually reduce it.
For the most part, people don’t like change and uncertainty, so proper, helpful communication regarding any upgrades or innovations the business plans to make is essential to getting everybody on board. While the steps needed to implement these changes should be clearly outlined in an understandable way, the most important message to convey to staff is how the new technology will enable better efficiency and ultimately improve their working lives.
Planning and implementing upgrades in technology can be difficult for any business, which is why hiring an IT consulting service can be a great investment. The team at Optimity bring a friendly approach to IT services and technology upgrades, and can advise on and help you implement all of your IT upgrades, including the creation of an effective communication plan to ensure all staff members understand what needs to be done, why, and how it will help them in their daily working practices.
Find out how we can help your business by getting in touch with us and booking an IT audit.