Someone I know recently told me that her co-workers are so behind on tech that they’re impressed when she tweets on their company handle. When she included a photo in a recent tweet, their brains almost exploded.
If your company’s still Flintstone-ing away in the tech Stone Age and driving you crazy in the process, don’t lose hope. You can help them—and your career—move forward pretty easily. All you have to do is follow these four steps to get everyone up to speed.
1. Pick a Specific Problem to Solve First
You might feel like you want to change everything about the way your company works. But you’ll have the most success (and the least stress) if you choose only one issue to tackle at a time. You’ll make a lot more progress that way than you would by throwing a bunch of apps and services at people who will be overwhelmed by them.
For example, instead of asking the whole company to go paperless immediately, set a goal to switch from printing the minutes of meetings to sharing them online. (Start with Dropbox or Box.) Or, instead of eliminating internal emails completely, try moving one project team to a live chat service like HipChat for quick messages—and then having them report on how it’s working out communication-wise after a few weeks.
2. Check Out All the Options
After you decide what digital dilemma you want to solve, you might think you know the right solution. But there are likely a lot of different options worth looking into—especially if your company has a tight budget or a lot of not-so-tech-savvy people. Plus, what works for you personally might not work for an entire company.
To save money and major commitments, look for free services or trials, like Google Drive for cloud storage, Buffer for scheduling social media posts, or MailChimp for email marketing. Be sure to to get all the details about what’s included before bringing them up to the team. And don’t forget ask your friends what works best for their companies. Your idea will likely go over much better if you can present a few options with different price points and features to your manager.
3. Make the Benefits Clear
One of the main reasons people resist change is because they don’t understand why it’s needed. If you’re reading this article, odds are high you’ve heard, “The way we do it works, so why change it?”
That means you need to help your superiors and colleagues see how bringing more tech into your workplace will make their jobs easier, help get more customers, or save the company money. Once they see how useful (and ideally free) it’ll be, they’ll probably be happy to support your idea. Sell them on the idea that the new system doesn’t just work, it works better.
Here’s a sample email script to use when you’re pitching the idea to your supervisor:
“As you know, we spend a lot of our day exchanging emails and planning meetings. I recently discovered a new group chat tool that I think will make communicating with each other much easier, as well as more effective.
I actually started using it at my volunteer organization, and I can attest to its benefits (free, easy to use, works on phones). I’d love to schedule time to sit down and show it to you.
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and questions!”
4. Arrange for Training
Tech might feel like it’s everywhere now, but not everyone is so comfortable with it. Include clear instructions for new systems or tools. Or, if you think it’s needed for anyone at all, offer online training in digital skills. That way nobody has to figure anything out on their own or feel stupid for needing to ask. Plus, when everyone knows how things work, they’re not only more willing to use the new tools, but also more likely to use them efficiently and effectively from the start.
It’s time to stop feeling like you’re stuck with ancient tech just because your company still uses it. You have the power to help your company join the 21st century. Not only will you get to enjoy the benefits of working with the latest and greatest tech tools, but you might even become your office’s new digital hero.