Digitizing Your Office: Engaging With Employees
Jul 19, 2017
Hello everyone – welcome to today’s Digitize Your Firm webinar on Digitizing Your Office! We’re running the gauntlet today, from talking about digitizing your firm, to employee engagement and the best practices that tie it all together. If you’re a fan of digitization or have a question along the way, simply click the green speech bubble at the top of the screen to open the chat and either type out your comment or ask to speak.
As with all Digitize Your Firm webinars, this will be recorded for later playback in case you wanted extra time with a certain section or for listening on the go. We encourage you to review our past webinars which can be accessed from the webinar schedule on the Digitize Your Firm page.
Now, let’s dig in!
For today’s webinar, we’re going to start with ways you can digitize your office (making it more efficient, productive, and more secure) and how to use this to engage employees. After that, the best practices you need to succeed, our lessons learned, and what is on deck for next week. So let’s talk digitization and your office…
Digitizing Your Office
The words ‘efficiency’ and ‘office’ seem to be showing up more and more together. This is because efficiency goes hand-in-hand with productivity and nothing feels quite as good as having a productive day at work. But what makes an office productive? Is it the time you spend on tasks? Spending less time gathering information? Completing a certain number of tasks a week?
These are goals that I think every office strives for every day, and digitization can help with every one of them. For example – have you ever wanted easily pass around documents, receive edits, and track different versions? There’s a solution for that.
Shared Drives and the Cloud
Have you ever wished that all your documents, and those of your department or team were in one central place? The answer is using shared drives and using clouds. If this is your first time hearing these terms, a shared drive or a cloud is essentially a digital file cabinet that everyone can access and edit – as long as they have permission that is.
Using shared drives has become an increasingly common part of office life as it provides a digital place to not only store sensitive and important documents, but can even allow multiple people to edit the same files without starting email threads or losing track of versions. In fact, when it comes to some shared drive platforms, you can even edit documents with other people in real time. They can also help you to better share large files as you can often create specific ‘shared’ folders (after acquiring the right permissions) that require a password to access as opposed to trying to compress files.
What also makes shared drives and clouds so attractive is that the data can be stored on either an internal server, or in a remote location under guard, lock, and key. This way if something unforeseen happens, such as a flood ravaging your office, all of your important documents and sensitive materials are safe and sound.
Another great tool is a task tracker.
What is a task tracker? Quite simply, it’s a digital to-do list that allows individuals and teams to track the progress of objectives, collateral, and any on-going business. What separates them from a traditional paper to-do list is that different staff can comment on the task, update it with edits, upload files, assign it to certain people with due dates, and organize tasks by priority. You can even create large projects with sub-tasks that must be completed to ensure the success of the project. This not only allows you to better organize your day and keep you working towards specific goals, but you’ll also have a history of progress made and be able to gain feedback without having countless lists littering your desk.
Another trend appearing across many modern offices are IMs, otherwise known as instant messengers or interoffice messengers. These are programs that allow you to communicate with colleagues across distances and tend to be quicker than email. As oppose to opening a new email, writing out your message, attaching documents and then sending it – you simply click the name of your colleague, write a salutation, and begin messaging.
Another great aspect is that messengers track your activity, i.e. when you are typing on your keyboard or working on your computer, allowing others to see when you are at your desk or unavailable. You can also write messages or select statuses letting others know that you can’t be distracted at the moment.
Finally, many newer messengers allow you to create group chats between individuals to send messages, as opposed to emails with different contacts where some may forget to click Reply All. They can also allow you to share your screens with other individuals, easily looking up phone numbers, and automatically dial your phone for you.
Digitization doesn’t just apply to aiding in productivity and efficiency, it also has a place in office security. If you’re seeking to secure your building but can’t fit an ID Card system into the budget, key fobs are a great alternative. Much like ID and keycards, they are a physical piece of hardware that are used against scanners to open locks. Most are small enough to fit onto a keychain, providing an efficient but effective way to secure your office.
Engaging With Employees… Digitally!
Now that we’ve talked about how you can help your office become digitized, let’s talk about how it can help engage employees. Whether you are a large organization with multiple branches, or just starting out with a small crew, employee engagement matters.
If your organization doesn’t already have a newsletter in circulation, a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly newsletter is a great way to engage employees by offering a selection of content. Whether it is internal human interest stories about employees, the latest corporate news, or internal contests for employees, newsletters allow you to connect with employees and allow them to keep up with all aspects of your business.
While traditionally they’ve been created and printed, today’s technological advances allow you to use online programs to create dynamic newsletters. You can add photos, embed multimedia such as photos and video, and link to other content. The best innovation is that, unlike traditional newsletters, this software often allows you to track clicks, successful sends, the open rate, and more, letting you know what interests your employees, which adds another layer to your engagement strategy.
Another great tool is using digital polling or survey software to gain opinions and feedback from employees around the office. As opposed to sending emails or canvassing around the office, using polling and survey tools can be a great way to gain feedback and compile results – and like everything else we’ve mentioned, they are paperless but keep up-to-date records.
What makes this software so great is its versatility – you can farm opinions on the next company excursion, collect feedback on new designs or plans, brainstorm ideas for a marketing campaign, use it to gain updated information for emergency contacts, or simply ask everyone their choice for pizza.
While it may seem obvious – videos are a fantastic way to engage your internal audiences and convey information in an interesting and visual medium. Your first thought may be that making videos can often be too time-consuming, too costly, and involves the use of a lot of resources from script writing to video editing, but for many organizations that simply isn’t the case. You can easily make quick and simply videos using mobile phones in a quiet space, or with the use of a company camera if you have one. Scripts can take time to write, but the best scripts are short and concise (and can often be manufactured from previously created speeches). Finally, editing can take time, but many phones can download editing applications (or have them previously installed) and many computers come with basic video editing software.
If you try recording and releasing a few internal videos and see success with it, definitely look into investing into a basic camera kit, including tools such as a video camera, lapel mike, and small attachable boom mike.
Now let’s talk about a special piece of internal technology that can tie all of our previous points together.
If you haven’t already, investing in an intranet is a great place to start to offer your employees an online space to grab information, learn about internal services, track pay, see the latest information, etc. It can be made to supply almost anything under the digital sun. Essentially, it is a website that only those inside the organization can access through implemented security procedures and with the correct login credentials.
You can upload the latest video of the CEO going over this quarter’s wins, a poll asking about what employee position they would like to hear about next, provide a copy of the latest newsletter, and more. Intranets are a great investment and can really be a one-stop shop for a lot of employee resources and a common place to share and store information.
Now, let’s talk best practices.
Digitization Best Practices
Now that we’ve talked about digitizing your office and ways to engage with employees, let’s talk about the best ways to do it.
We often repeat this but being concise is key to clear communication. Remember – the people you wish to engage with are busy too. Lead with the facts and provide a clear path between how the article, video, or story connects to your employees. Part of employee engagement is making it easy for anyone in your organization to understand and become part of the story.
No matter what software or protocols you end up going with, be sure to train not only yourself but your new staff as well. Much of what you will find comes with onboarding, tutorials, and FAQs to prepare you to use the platform in its full capacity.
Connect to Company’s Principles
In everything that you do, ensure that it connects back to the principles that your company is built on and the strategic direction you are going in. If one of the top pillars of your organization is to deliver unparalleled customer experience – show how you’re making them happen in company updates, success stories, and more.
Trial Different Solutions
Finally – test out different solutions and see what works. Some solutions will require payment, some are free to use. Look for areas of opportunity to improve productivity and ask employees would they feel would help them on a daily basis.
To review, let’s go over what we’ve covered today:
1. We started off discussing how different types of digital technologies can help improve your office’s productivity, and enhance efficiency. Shared Drives, messengers, and task trackers are all possible solutions for anything from file management, to file sharing, tracking project progress, having an understanding of a team’s capacity and more. Shared Drive specifically can help protect your sensitive data by storing it in often guarded and safe facilities and keep those files safe should anything happen to your physical office. Don’t forget that digitization can also help to secure your office by investing in key fobs that rely on hardware as oppose to passwords for enhanced security.
2. Next up was employee engagement where we covered a few ways you can engage employees digitally. If you don’t have one already, consider developing an internal newsletters – and if your organization already has one, consider taking it digital (if only to save a few tries). Many programs and software exist that allow to create dynamic newsletters with embedded media that gives you analytics to track progress and provide strategic insight.
You may also consider investing in polling or survey software to better farm opinions, brainstorm, or just keep contact information and more up to date. If you’re able to, video is a great medium to use to engage employees and share news while involving a small amount of dedicated resources. You can wrap this all up in a bow with an intranet, which can store all of these potential engagement tactics not to mention be a one-stop shop for employees seeking more resources or information.
3. Lastly, we looked at the best practices surrounding office digitization and digital employee engagement. Remember to be concise, train staff effectively on new software, and connect all of your news back to your organization’s principles and objectives. When looking to digitize, trial different solutions and ensure they are looked at by your IT services, if you have one available. Don’t forget to never stop listening for feedback because no one knows your employees’ jobs quite as well as them – if they see an opportunity to enhance their productivity, hear them out and see if it will benefit others as well.
Next week, we’re going to be talking about making sales digitally with our very own Alex Wickwire, Associate Director of Education Solutions. We’ll be exploring:
1. Digital Reconnaissance
2. Connecting with Decision Makers
3. Closing the Deal