I recently attended an industry trade show for one of the markets we serve that uses our web-based operations platform to help manage building maintenance and other related tasks.
The facility manager of a fairly large organization expressed interest in hearing how we might be able to help them improve the efficiency of their maintenance operations. Before a member of our sales team could finish demonstrating the options for the prospect’s maintenance staff to more efficiently manage maintenance related tasks either from a computer or a mobile device, the prospect exclaimed:
Oh, no! Our maintenance staff would never use a computer or figure out how to do this stuff on a smart phone. This just wouldn’t work for us.
There were a couple of things that immediately bothered me about that statement:
- Generally, it is just not true. We work with thousands of maintenance personnel across the country, and in the vast majority of cases we find them to be extremely competent and capable of using any part of our application. Often, they are the most knowledgeable users! It is important to remember a key fact about professionals in the maintenance field; they are excellent problem solvers. They are tinkerers, fixers and people who excel at figuring out how things work. Who better to use a software application? In fact, we have had several experiences during our training sessions where a member of the maintenance team has had to explain to a member of the management team how to use the application.
- If it was true in this particular manager’s organization, isn’t that really representative of a deeper problem? We are all aware that it is a manager’s responsibility to hire the best people possible to do a job given the resources that are available. But isn’t it also a manager’s responsibility to help his/her employees improve by providing access to the further education and training opportunities? A company that empowers employees to learn the necessary skills to achieve success in today’s technologically oriented world is both increasing its overall value and engendering an environment of loyalty and commitment.
I have seen many examples of companies that are committed to employee training and ensuring that all of their employees are capable of utilizing any technology that might help them improve their business. To wave your hands in the air and state dejectedly that your team isn’t capable of utilizing technology is really an indictment of your own skill as a manager.
Apathy only guarantees one thing: that your employees will stay exactly where they are, and your organization will as well.