What to Do If Your Employees Don’t Use Your New Technology As Planned
When you implemented a file management structure or a software program hoping to streamline workflows and make everyone’s job easier, you probably thought it would put an end to mishandled files and confusing data sets. But now you might be stuck with a variety of technology policies, resources, and tools that nobody knows how to use or uses incorrectly. What do you do now?
Have an assessment done to review your current technology stack
It can be difficult to tell what’s wrong from inside your own organization. When you fall into habits of using systems and processes incorrectly, even if you know you shouldn’t, breaking that habit and finding a way to help others do the same is hard to do. It may help to have someone come in from outside your organization and assess all the technology and systems you have in place. They can take time to talk to leadership and staff, find out what the frustrations and needs are, and make recommendations on how to better utilize your IT.
Your IT consultant may find that your current tools aren’t optimized for your work. Your file storage system may not have all the security and access features you need, and you may be able to streamline your customer/donor management software and communications tools, or you could benefit from moving to cloud-based productivity tools to increase collaboration and communication internally. This investigation can also find some holes in your security, like permissions settings, or missing Bring Your Own Device policies.
Determine what to keep, get rid of, and replace
After you’ve had an assessment done and recommendations made, work with your internal team to decide what you want to keep, let go of, or replace. There is no single “best” software for mission-driven non-profits and companies and these decisions will rely largely on your needs, size, and what you can afford.
Your consultant may not be familiar with all the software options available to you, but they can help assess costs, features, and attend demos with you to help select the right tools for your organization. They can also make recommendations for file naming conventions and training, and policy documents to ensure your staff is prepared to transition to new tools.
This review can also help set you up for more long-term strategic planning around your technology. By understanding where your systems currently stand and where your organization wants to go over the next few years, you can make purchasing decisions that will help you scale and grow without costly upgrades or migrations. By investing time and resources early, you can prevent stress, or higher costs in the future.
Training, training, training
Once you have a plan for what your organization is going to use, you need to create official guides for how you will use it. Create detailed documentation outlining what each system does, how your staff should use it, and how it will interact with other systems in your technology stack. Once this is complete, share these guidelines with everyone in your organization. It is best to keep them somewhere easily accessible, like your company SharePoint or Google Drive, so they can be referred to when needed. You should also take the time to train your staff on these policies and make training a part of your regular onboarding process for new hires. This will help your staff understand why any changes have been made and will make it easier for them to correctly utilize these systems.
Getting your team aligned with how to use systems is essential to running your organization effectively. If you are disjointed in how you use communications tools (like email or chat), how you name important documents, where final document versions go, or who is in charge of updating contact records, you run the risk of miscommunication, confusion, and lost records or time. Taking the time to review how your organization works and what needs to be updated or refreshed can help you make decisions that work across your organization and positively impact the way you do business.