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How managers can use technology to get the best out of their teams

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John Sherman
2016-09-13

In a world where technology is ingrained into almost everything we do, it makes sense that it should be incorporated into every successful workplace as well. The powers of technology are immeasurable, and every day their benefits only continue to grow in number.

A recent study conducted by the MIT Sloan Management Review and Capgemini Consulting found that although managers might be willing to adopt digital technologies and transformations in the workplace, staff are sometimes reluctant to take these on themselves. This is one glaring reason why, as a manager, you should be able to teach staff exactly why these technologies are beneficial and demonstrate how they can improve the overall output of the team.

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Whether it’s to add to the bottom line, train up your staff, or provide a more cohesive workspace, a good manager should understand the benefits of technology and how they can use it to get the best out of their teams.

Provide the Tools and Infrastructure to Succeed

A common mistake made by managers looking to incorporate technology and digitization in the workplace is that their intentions and plans don’t often meet up with reality. Simply put, before you can implement any type of technology, you need to ensure your infrastructure can handle it first!

Whether you have a dedicated IT team on hand or use an outside specialist for advice, you’ll need to have a clear discussion about capabilities. If you don’t and you try to introduce a new system that doesn’t have the software or connections available to achieve it, your staff are going to feel let down by the entire process and then problems arise.

Implement New Training Initiatives

Gone are the days when the entire team would take a day off and workshop ideas in the boardroom under the guise of training. The modern world of corporate training is best performed with e-learning and mobile learning initiatives that allow your staff to train at their own pace and at a time most beneficial to them.

The benefits of e-learning have been proven time and time again to not only save money for the company but teach the information to employees in such a way that helps them to retain it better and for longer.

Use Technology to Break Social Barriers

Especially in large teams, there can be a tendency to have a separation of staff members into their selected divisions and small groups. This may be unavoidable sometimes due to remote staff or a larger office that divides employees into their own areas. Thankfully, technology can be a useful way to break this barrier and promote collaboration among all of your staff.

With technology resources in place that allow for all staff members to communicate, whether it’s on a joint project or regular day-to-day tasks, you’re removing the boundaries that can often lead to tension and disharmony down the line. Having a task-based system in place that allows employees to visualize the progress on certain projects, even if they aren’t directly involved, can create a more cohesive workplace where everyone shares the same goals.

Reduce the Unnecessary Tasks

Here’s a common scenario in most workplaces that highlights the need to reduce unnecessary tasks, and one that most can relate to:

A meeting is scheduled by a manager that requests all staff to attend. Perhaps the date and time are changed once or twice. Countless emails and reminders are sent out to employees, and when it comes time to have the meeting most are disengaged or busy with other work tasks.

It could have all been solved with a more streamlined process that cut the unnecessary steps straight out.

Ask yourself:

  • Was it really necessary to have a meeting?
  • Is there a better way you can use technology to communicate to all staff members?

A good manager should continually review the processes in place and question the necessity of these smaller steps. Technology provides a fast and efficient way to achieve this.

Consider Business Productivity Software

When you consider the above scenario and countless others which take place through a regular work day, you can begin to see how many wasted hours there are in the typical workplace. Thankfully, business productivity software is a quick and easy fix to many of these types of bureaucratic problems.

There are quite a few benefits to implementing business productivity software in your workspace that will allow you to get the best out of your teams:

  • Motivation – With online performance evaluations and progress trackers, managers can see what areas employees might need to train in or if they’re suited for another department better.
  • Communication – These systems allow staff and managers to communicate more effectively by providing a space for them to share ideas and progress on various projects.
  • Analyzation - This software allows you to create reports and enquiries on customer trends, market activity, and business performance so you can get a clear picture of your company’s activities.
  • Productivity – The main goal of this software, and what it’s most effective at, is monitoring the productivity of staff and companies as a whole. By tracking each individual you can see exactly where and how they might need improvement or praise.

Be Open to Change

As quickly as technology changes and improves, we need to be just as quick to open our minds to the possibilities. As managers, it’s your duty to be a leading force in embracing new ideas and changes with open arms. When a new technology comes along that might be beneficial to your team, don’t dismiss it until you’ve researched the facts completely.

As we welcome the new generation of employees into our workplaces, we need to ensure we’re ready to adapt with them and embrace the emerging trends and technologies. There will always be room for traditional business practices and common sense, but for a truly successful organization, you need to find the link between the two worlds and make them work together.

 

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