No Tech Left Behind, Part 2: Streamlining Email

Where we last left off, I was espousing the benefits of taking time to review and implement technology updates to improve business operations. Continuing to reflect, I realized that the root of the problem stemmed from the habit I adopted when I implemented some of my business solutions almost four years ago. Those habits stood in the way of leveraging my tech investments.

Old habits die hard, and sometimes you have to turn the whole thing sideways to gain a fresh perspective. Recognizing dependencies on certain solutions, including my emailing technology, I took on the challenge of trying to migrate technologies. With six different email accounts, sometimes emails were delayed, calendars didn’t sync or contacts were deleted, not to mention the amount of time I spent checking both the Web and email clients. So in July I embarked on an experiment to cut myself off from Outlook for a few weeks and only use the tools Google provided.

The first few days I adapted to the new solutions, they worked as intended and the time I spent going back and forth was eliminated, but the change curve was steep and I felt my productivity wasn’t as high. I longed for my Outlook frame of mind. Over time I discovered better ways to use Google accounts for email, calendar and contacts. I tested new settings in Google Labs, changing how my email was filtered and messages were sorted, for example – all of the things that I already mastered in Outlook. I even consolidated several thousand contacts – something I never thought I would get around to – because Google offers an awesome find, duplicate and merge feature.

Still, after almost three weeks, I opted to go back to Outlook. This wasn’t truly a defeat, but rather a victory. Even though I still gravitated toward the Outlook mindset for managing my email madness, I could now identify with several new features in Google that applied directly to my Android smartphone, helping better manage my email accounts to the effect that my challenges with Outlook were diminished. I reconfigured several settings so time initially wasted between the two technologies was free for maximizing investments in other ways.

While today’s talent acquisition and recruiting technology platforms offer plenty of opportunities to adjust and improve user experience, consider the following questions to assess your current habits, before you invest in adding anything new:

  • How does the technology support the organization? What work would be accomplished if the Internet went down or a key team member left suddenly?
  • What features do users use most within the current system? How are those features laid out?
  • How is the data presented? What is the user preference? How does the technology compare with new solutions?

Tip No. 2: Turn the technology sideways and see if it – and you – can work better.