5 Ways to Manage Your Company with Today’s Tools

February 14, 2015

10:00 am

If your team is still only using email for team management and to coordinate projects, you might be a little behind the times. It’s 2015. It’s time to replace old, outdated software and methods with apps that can help your team work better together. Here are a few old programs it might be time to ditch, in favor of some of sweet new apps:

What’s Old: Email

Make it New: Real-time chat tools like Slack, HipChat, Flowdock, and Campfire

In the world of business communication, email has been our longstanding friend, eliminating excess time and paper waste prevalent in older communication methods. At the peak of its use, email helped shorten delays in communications, but we now have the opportunity to eliminate that gap in communication altogether.

Apps like Slack, HipChat, Flowdock, and Campfire are all real-time chat tools that teams can use to remain in constant contact, from virtually anywhere, and using a mobile or desktop/laptop device. You no longer need to be at a computer to check your email, and you no longer have to check your emails either — if your team uses an instant messaging platform to communicate.

These programs offer the same features as email, including file sharing, but provide the addition of group chats. The chats allow for easier conversational flow than the often disjointed chains found in email.

For example, using Slack, teams make channels to discuss specific topics in groups, so all members involved can be a part of the conversation.

What’s Old: Microsoft Office

Make it New: Google Apps

Remember the days when you’d create an assignment in a Word document, manually save it, open your email, compose your email, attach the Word document, and…you get the picture. Google has created a much more efficient way to share content.

Google Apps make documents and other materials easily shareable, receivable, and organized, which means no more attachments that could be edited and saved as multiple versions, getting lost in the download shuffle.

Unlike Word documents, cloud-based Google Apps like Google Docs support collaborative editing. Each team member can jump right into the document, view, and edit in real-time. The best part is everything automatically saves to your cloud-based Google Drive as you go, so no need to worry about losing all of your hard work. Then, you can access your work from any device with an Internet connection.

What’s Old: Project Management

Make it New: Basecamp, Asana, JIRA, Sprintly

Let’s hope your project plans eventually make it into written form, as opposed to bouncing around your project manager’s head. If you haven’t tried project management apps like Basecamp, Asana, JIRA, or Sprintly, you’ve been missing out.

Basecamp, for example, allows you to “wrangle people with different roles, responsibilities and objectives toward a common goal.” These apps help you keep all project communication in one place. Team members can organize their days with task lists, update with comments, share files, and post important information, all without the need to meet in-person or send an email blast.

What’s Old: Face-to-Face Meetings

Make it New: Google Hangouts, Skype, Join.me

There’s no need to physically go to a meeting anymore when you can see and chat with everyone from your phone, tablet, or computer screen. Using video chat apps like Google Hangouts and Skype allow a team to communicate remotely, or even on-the-go. There’s no need to waste extra time commuting to meet in a specific location, or print and gather documents to present at the meeting. Files can be shared digitally through these apps, and screen sharing helps everyone see what the speaker is talking about.

Replace in-person meetings with video chat apps or an app like Join.me, a presentation tool that can be used to demonstrate new products, websites, and digital tools through screen sharing.

What’s Old: Annual Reviews

Make it New: Small Improvements

No one looks forward to annual reviews. Managers need to compile data and decide what feedback to give. Employees dread what managers might say or await possible pay raises, hoping not to be let down. Engagement peaks around this time, then drops off quickly after, leaving no incentives to sustain motivation year-round.

The truth is, annual reviews are a stone age method that are no longer as effective. We need a system to provide us with ongoing performance data which can help managers recognize employees all year.

Small Improvements, for example, is a performance management system that takes much of the hassle out of traditional performance reviews. With interactive self-assessments, 360-degree feedback, and goals and objectives, the platform streamlines the internal feedback process.

You can even integrate the program with many other team collaboration apps like Yammer or JIRA, or a recognition platform that uses micro-bonuses for employee rewards, so data for feedback and rewards can all be seen in one place.

Still missing something? Build your own.

One way to ensure a return on investment in purchasing software for your company is to choose programs with open API. That way, down the road, you may choose to hire developers to build your own apps to integrate with your software and you’ll have access to all digital functions in one place.

What apps does your team use? How has your experience been so far?

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Raphael Crawford-Marks is the co-founder & CEO of Bonusly, a Web platform that helps companies reward and motivate employees by using peer-to-peer bonuses. Connect with Raphael and Bonusly on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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