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Five Questions to Ask Staff About Their IT Experience

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You don’t use technology for technology’s sake—you use it to support your organization’s mission. If the tools are difficult for your team to use or not working as expected, you won’t make much progress toward your goals.

How do know whether your tech stack is working for your staff day to day? You may see red flags, like rising numbers of tickets in your IT helpdesk. But even if everything seems to be running smoothly, it’s wise to occasionally check in with employees about their IT experience.

Here are five questions to ask employees to help your organization better understand if technology is doing what you intend and helping, rather than hindering, your team’s productivity and efficiency.

Are our software tools easy or difficult to use? Carlos Cardenas, CAE, director of information technology at the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists, said he asks this question to identify gaps in NBCRNA’s technology. “It could be separate systems not talking to each other. It can also let me know if there are any gaps in process,” Cardenas said. “The third thing that will come out of that conversation is if there are any gaps in training. If you tell me that software is difficult to use, and I ask you why it’s difficult, you may unveil, ‘I don’t really know how to use this particular software.’”

Has the technology hindered you from doing your job? “Our professionals have a value they bring,” said Max McCarty, director of enterprise architecture at ISACA, an association that represents IT professionals. “The technology is simply a catalyst for them to apply that value to the betterment of the organization.” If the technology gets in the way of staff delivering value, “that becomes an issue.”

How do you know whether your tech stack is working for your staff day to day? You may see red flags, like rising numbers of tickets in your IT helpdesk.

What processes are lacking or need improvement? This question can help you determine whether you need to automate processes, rather than have staff spending their time and talent on menial tasks. “That’s the same sort of question you’d be asking when it comes to looking at the types of technology you can bring in to increase output, to increase value, the ability to do the job better,” McCarty said. “It’s really how they can improve either their individual or team efficiency.”

Is the information you need readily accessible and comprehensive? Associations are famous for holding large volumes of information and data, often in places and formats that are less than intuitive and user-friendly. “If you think about fielding a support call from an end user, and you can’t get to the answer right away, that could be a problem,” Cardenas said. “Version control could also be an issue. If you’re getting outdated information, that could be a problem in today’s environment.” This question can surface these issues and others that need attention.

What technology tools are you using in your remote office, and are there others you need? While, by most accounts, remote work in associations has gone well during the pandemic, that doesn’t mean every organization has a handle on everything an employee needs to be successful in their remote office.

“I can see where, for organizations, there would be a gap they have to cross in trying to understand how people work remotely and what they need,” McCarty said. “I don’t think leadership can identify everything off the bat without getting that feedback.”

This question allows IT staff to see what people are using—including, perhaps, tools not formally sanctioned by the organization—and create a comprehensive list of what resources staff need to work best remotely.

Rasheeda Childress

Rasheeda Childress is a former editor at Associations Now.

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