Monday, February 26

Quick And Easy Ways To Prepare Your Workforce To Use Any Type Of Business Software

Tech team.

Despite most business leaders acknowledging that digital literacy is key to surviving in the modern day, only 25 percent of all workers are confident in their computer skills, according to the Harvard Business Review. Any seasoned manager or business owner is all too familiar with the growing pains of expanding or updating operations, and having to transition to a new suite of business software. And digital commerce is now more or less the new reality for businesses of every stripe, be it a hospitality and leisure business or a fabrication and manufacturing one. Hence, it’s much more imperative to ensure that your entire workforce is digitally literate, and ready to take on whatever type of business software you throw at them. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure this. 

Identify Your Digital Leaders and Task Them to Educate Everyone Else 

The first step to transitioning to a competent level of digital literacy is to take stock of which members of your staff can help the most in that endeavor. This typically means tapping the youngest staffers to help foster a more digital culture in the workplace, but anyone who has a decent amount of skill with computers and such can be of help. Remember, these individuals can be drawn from every department or team, not just BI or IT.  

As you’re assembling them, mark out the areas of digital literacy in which your staff struggles the most. This could be a particular piece of business software or a more extensive digital process. Doing so will inform your decisions about which skills to tap and how best to leverage them. Ideally, you will end up with small teams of 1-3 individuals good at a certain thing to handle educating all other staff members who need it. For example, those in your marketing team can teach other departments the best practices in data analytics, the IT team can give everyone a primer on good OPSEC and digital hygiene to minimize cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and so on. 

Cement Knowledge Through Live Drills 

Once your staff has been primed on all of the digital know-how they need to develop, it’s time to move to “live fire drills,” so to speak, where they put what they’ve learned to practice while still receiving lessons. These should encompass every real-world situation in which they’ll have to use digital literacy, and every tool you need them to master. That means everything from navigating the ins and outs of your company’s business management software, right down to things as simple as how to put together reports and text publications. The true test of any education is experience, after all. 

One thing that many businesses have had particular difficulty in is Word Online, as well as the rest of the Office 365 suite. Microsoft has done several updates to the interface and overall user experience, which have been great for some, but unfortunately left others having difficulty in keeping up. Things as simple as how to wrap text in Word Online have been moved to menus that may not be intuitive to those who have only memorized the procedure. Hence, things like this need to be taught through practice.

Plan out new workloads that incorporate digital tools and methods, and have your digital ambassadors go around and assist anyone that needs help. The key here is to find digital solutions for each of your teams’ working styles. For example, accounting is going to want forecasts and projections, but a tech-led business model primarily works similar to the software development cycle of build-measure-learn or BML. As a business leader, you will have to find a way to reconcile the methods adopted by a highly technical business model and the needs of each of your departments.

Capitalize on Updated Digital Skills by Fostering Collaboration 

Most business leaders fail to see that making the entirety of their staff more digitally literate introduces a fresh batch of eyes to problems previously limited to a single department. Now, every member can provide valid input towards formulating solutions that can affect the entire company. Depending on how much of your operations were bottlenecked by your teams not being digitally literate enough, this development could be revolutionary, or at least could make the day-to-day much more efficient. Not to mention that each team will also become much more self-reliant. The age-old disconnect between IT and everyone else would be much less glaring – now IT will just handle all of the highly technical stuff, and not be bogged down by other teams’ difficulties that take only a few minutes of navigating menus to fix. 

All this requires out of you is to make operations much more of a collaborative effort between departments instead of relegating them to this team or that. Primarily, this means that every department will be working more closely with IT in order to achieve better results in a shorter amount of time, rather than IT putting together a solution and the team having to work with it. But it can also open up the possibility of departments that formerly worked separately to work faster and more effectively together, thanks to things like data transparency and real-time data logging. 

A vital thing to remember when preparing your workforce to onboard new business software is that a digital mindset is more generalist than specialist. This is what some experts are calling the “30 percent rule.” As long as you can achieve what you consider to be 30 percent fluency in a certain thing, you’ll be able to handle it proficiently. Do this with the right set of technical subjects and you can take on virtually any digital need with a reasonable amount of competency.

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