You may be surprised how many organisations make the mistake of focusing too much time and attention on deploying their brand new technology platform. The problem is that an overriding emphasis on the system, software and tools undercuts something far more important – the people who will be using it in their day-to-day working lives.
Implementing a new technology platform within an aged care facility will almost always impact how your employees go about their daily tasks and responsibilities. It will also require varying degrees of change to take place. The real challenge here is to enable the people within your organisation to be as adaptable as possible when the shift happens. Therefore, it is critical that the implementation of new technology should begin and end with a focus on ‘adoption’.
But what exactly does this all have to do with tracking down internal information technology (IT) champions? When you’re trying to facilitate organisational change and encourage the uptake of technology, one of the most effective ways to do so is to identify and leverage your biggest influencers.
Characteristics of an IT champion
An IT champion is not necessarily a technology expert or a computer power user. Instead, IT champions refer to those people open-minded and optimistic when it comes to technology. They understand how technology is being used to simplify and solve a number of challenges in business and in life. Typically, they are fairly confident with their computer skills and enjoy using various technology-based platforms such as email and social media outside of work and in their personal lives. IT champions are also often patient and enthusiastic when it comes to learning new things.
Embracing change from the bottom-up
It has been said that the best kind of organisational change is that in which occurs so naturally, people never even realise it is happening or being directed.
When it comes to new technology, IT champions can help by organically spreading the desired messages to peers and colleagues via their day-to-day communications. Using a bottom-up approach, your IT champions can also help to reduce any uncertainty that may arise when changes are announced directly from management.
Importance of adoption
For an aged care organisation, adoption may involve getting staff to use new online tools software. It may involve encouraging them to participate in more efficient processes and workflows. Or you may just be working to develop a new mindset throughout organisation.
Regardless of the end-goal, IT champions are the ideal early adopters who can lead by example. Leveraging your IT champions in this way will operate like a domino effect – once your influencers enthusiastically adopt the changes, others in your organisation will soon follow.
Along the way, IT champions can also assist in lowering training costs and relieve support and troubleshooting request, as they willingly impart their knowledge on others.
Are there IT champions in my organisation?
You’ll be pleased to know that every aged care provider will invariably have access to a pool of IT champions that can be found at any level throughout your organisation. As a start, consider how many of your employees may be using computers, smart phones, tablets, social media and other online tools for personal use, outside of work.
To help you get a more accurate perspective on who your potential IT champion candidates are, we suggest conducting a staff survey. Below are a few ideas on the types of the questions you might like to ask in your survey however, feel free to tailor this so it’s appropriate for your own organisation.
- How would you describe your level of confidence in using a computer, keyboard, mouse, mobile phone and other similar tools?
- How would you describe your level of confidence in using the internet?
- How often do you use a computer, mobile phone or tablet to access the internet?
- For what purposes do you use the internet? (Eg. entertainment, social media, emails, etc)
- Where would use a computer and the internet the most – at home or at work?
- How do you rate your overall IT skills?
- Have you ever received computer or IT training? Would you be interested in receiving training?
- How interested are you in learning about using computers and technology in the workplace?
- How would you feel about using a computer and related software to action and access progress notes, assessments, forms, resident details, care plans and handover sheets?
- Do you see computers and technology playing a major role in the future of aged care?
- What do you believe are the advantages and disadvantages of using computers in the workplace?
What methods have you used to track down your own IT champions? How have these people helped you to influence change throughout your organisation? Please share your comments below.
(Image credit: Adamr)