As an Internal Communicator it’s likely you will have had a conversation at some point about ‘technology’. What ‘level’ of technology should we incorporate into our strategies. After all we have Twitter accounts for our customers, iPads for our sales people and QR tags on our products – why shouldn’t do the same for our colleagues.
It is likely that at some point you will have heard an argument against the use of new technology which goes something like ‘our people just aren’t ready yet’ or ‘the culture isn’t right’. Some of us may even hold these views ourselves.
Let’s put this into context. We live in a world where Facebook has 850 million users worldwide, 140 million Tweets are sent every single day and the internet glues our lives together in a way that we couldn’t have imagined 15, 10, even 5 years ago. Technology is endemic from the TV you watch, to checking your bus timetable – where used to simple, intuitive digital assistance.
The important thing to realise is that we as individuals, nor our colleagues, leave our expectations at home – we bring them (and our iPhones) to work with us! In a recent piece of research I conducted into preferred communication channels, the most poignant piece of feedback I received was:
“Our work technology doesn’t keep up with our home technology”
What a wake up call that was. Why should we settle for less at work? The colleague who shared this feedback with me gave me an example of how employees are ‘hacking’ traditional systems for the better with technology: “we have one manager who instead of saving updates up until an end of shift briefing (and running the risk of forgetting stuff), sends live ‘instant messages’ to his team via his personal Blackberry.
If we look closely enough its possible to see that technology does find its way into our systems, whether we embrace it or not.
Whilst I am not advocating we all introduce Social Media into our strategies, I do believe we have to really understand the needs of our businesses to ensure we do not underestimate our colleagues needs or equally over-complicate their experience.
Luckily there is a fairly simple solution to understanding these employee needs. Just ask them.