Technical employee empowerment
For decades the average professional has been able to get away with basic technology skills. If they could access the shared network drive and use Microsoft applications like Outlook, Word, and Excel, they would be able to perform their job well enough.
Sure, every workplace may have had an Excel genius or two who knew how to do some extra special things, but most professionals were not held back by their lack of IT skills.
Times are changing
These days a higher level of IT expertise is demanded of the average professional to fulfil their everyday responsibilities. So, how do we foster a business culture driven to embrace the necessary skills to perform at today’s standards? Two ways to empower professionals in business today are to:
1. Invest in tools that enable hybrid work and,
2. Offer varying levels and ongoing training and education to all employees
Microsoft 365: One ecosystem
For most small businesses, Microsoft is your runway. Consider how much technology is potentially available to you with something as simple as your 365 subscriptions. Tools like Teams, SharePoint, Power Automate, Power BI enable workers to get more out of their technology, automate everyday tasks (yes, save time) and collaborate with colleagues, whether they are in the office or a remote environment. But these tools are not necessarily straightforward for everyone so access to learning can help users get more out of their technology.
At a more basic level, think about the skills we need to work remotely. For instance, some days I work from home, other days I am at the office, or occasionally in a coffee shop. To be mobile, I need to be able to set up my laptop at my desk, reconfigure the monitors, adjust my webcam settings or troubleshoot my audio. I can then set up a Teams meeting with a coworker or an external guest. I can create a document and share it with someone, save it in the cloud and collaborate in real-time. Also, I can enroll myself in multifactor to protect myself from security threats (I have 20-plus multifactor applications at this point). The transition from home to work to just about any location is seamless.
Digital transformation is a journey, and we are all at various stages
Every business and each of their employees is on a technological journey. The level of IT maturity ranges from simple to complex. Technology adoption does not happen overnight; it requires ongoing planning, investment, and training. Employees will possess varying levels of IT skills; and that is why it is important that training is accessible, especially following the adoption of a tool.
Advancing our technology skills nurtures stronger workplace culture
This brings us to the question: how is your business enabling wider and deeper use of technology? How are you getting your employees the training and coaching that they need to level up their skills? Not everyone necessarily needs to be a technology wizard. But the reality is that the bar that is set should be a lot higher than it had been in the past.