Dealing with staff with different IT abilities - checklist

Close up of female office working typing on a laptop

Not every member of staff in your organisation is likely to be utterly comfortable with IT - and more often than not people suffer in silence. Here's how to offer support to everyone.

  • Every new employee should be offered thorough training in the systems they will be using. New staff can often feel overwhelmed by the amount they need to know, so spread out training to give them time to settle in.
  • Offer refresher IT training. If an existing employee doesn't use a system regularly, they may forget how, but be too embarrassed to ask. Rather than allowing people to struggle in silence, encourage them to ask for help. Put together a short reminder course for those who need it.
  • Keep details of which IT packages each member of staff uses regularly. If they make basic mistakes or spend comparatively long periods of time doing simple tasks, it could be that they are struggling with IT.
  • Provide support for IT use. Employees may not need a full refresher session but will occasionally need answers to small queries. Assign this role to someone with a good knowledge of all IT packages your company uses.
  • While younger members of your team have grown up using computers and the internet, more senior staff might have difficulty adapting to new systems. Be on hand to offer advice if needed.
  • Cloud computing services tend to be updated much more regularly than traditional software. New features are often added, options are moved and sometimes whole interfaces change. Be aware that staff may need help adjusting to the change when this happens.
  • Make use of your in-house IT experts. At some stage, staff with in-depth knowledge of your systems may make the leap from being an IT-savvy employee to become someone with valuable specialist knowledge. If you currently outsource your IT management, use these employees as contact points or to troubleshoot small problems before calling in the supplier.
  • Access external IT training. If your IT management is in-house, your IT manager should regularly attend external training sessions. Look on them as an investment, and budget for them accordingly.
  • Horses for courses - remember that there's a role for everyone. You wouldn't expect a finance manager to have the same ability to sell as someone in your sales team. Different IT abilities are not a problem as long as everyone is comfortable using the systems their role requires.

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