These days we’re increasingly time poor and, as a result, impatient. For businesses, therefore, time is ALWAYS of the essence. The customer demands a speedy response, or they’ll quite simply go elsewhere – probably straight to your competitor.

Managing time efficiently is a serious competitive advantage, and by using technology, organisations can provide this key benefit.

BUT, at a recent WasteMINZ conference, keynote speaker Steve Tighe warned of an emerging social epidemic: People without the twenty-first century skills or knowledge that enable them to cope or prosper in times of dynamic change are the new illiterates.

In other words, there’s an ageing workforce out there – particularly in back office roles – and some of them really struggle with new technology, which can lead to productivity loss if it’s not dealt with properly (not just on their part, but on the part of those who are tech savvy and are diverted by a steady stream of questions!). In fact, the cost of ignorance can be far more expensive than managers realise!

How do we fix this?

One sure-fire way of dealing with technological illiteracy is to EFFECTIVELY integrate technology into daily tasks. This has to be done in a controlled, uncomplicated manner to get those whose instinct is to immediately shy away from it to ‘buy in’. Start from the basics – few ever get trained in browser usage or Excel pivots!

Continual internal IT education for staff and field operatives is, therefore, a must – not just for the ‘illiterates’ but for the more savvy staff too so that they can take advantage of new technologies. But training has to be carried out efficiently. There needs to be a plan, and it needs to get team members where they need to be in an acceptable timescale.

Using the RIGHT technology

And this is not just about being able to use technology full stop, it’s about training staff to use to right technologies and implementing Business Process Management (BPM) systems to make task management as efficient as possible.

This could be as simple as implementing an intra-company user task list that gives staff the ability to queue a task or pass on a customer service request to its next worker or stage in the business process so that no requests fall through the cracks. Or it could be a fully integrated task management system that works with your admin and operational systems to support all the steps in your business process.

The digital age is here whether we like it or not, so all businesses and all team members must accept it. Encourage staff to embrace technology because, not only will it improve their working life, it’ll seriously improve YOUR output and profitability.