Too many organizations have made substantial investments in IT only to see those initiatives fail spectacularly despite their potential. Whether it’s a new ERP system, a cutting edge SaaS solution, or just a routine system refresh, your investments will be wasted if your staff doesn’t know how to best utilize the tools provided.
Here’s three things to consider about training:
1. Invest in Training Up Front
The ROI on training shouldn’t be hard to understand but there’s always someone who doesn’t see the value or claims they can’t spare the time. An investment in user training can give you:
- Increased employee productivity & morale
- Increased customer satisfaction & revenue
- Reduced support costs
Make sure when you’re briefing a future IT project that training is included in the budget and that executives and managers elsewhere in the business understand why you’re insisting their folks participate. IT needs to support the business - simply rolling out new solutions is not helpful.
2. Don’t Be Average
Your training isn’t going to be effective if it isn’t tailored for the range of users across your organization. Aiming down the middle for the “average user” might seem like an easy solution, but it’s a trap. Break your users up into ability groups instead.
Novice users often can gain the most from training. Not only are they not getting the maximum utility from your IT solutions, they’re often frequent flyers when it comes to helpdesk tickets, and a liability when it comes to IT security. If you’re delivering training content that’s over the heads of your novice users, they won’t retain the knowledge. You don’t want this group to remain unengaged.
On the other side of the spectrum, when looking at power users with significant experience, training designed for the “lowest common denominator” is going to frustrate them. They’ll ignore you and see training as a waste of time. You can’t afford to let this group train themselves either – they’ll know just enough to be dangerous. Make sure you have resources available so they can be fully engaged too.
3. Refresh, Refresh, Refresh
Learning is a continuum. IT is constantly changing. There’s no reason to ever think that training is a “one and done” evolution. Periodic refresher training on policies, procedures, and best practices is important to your overall success. You need to have a way to deliver that knowledge to your users.
Refresher training is also a great opportunity to leverage knowledge from outside of the IT department. Your IT staff may be responsible for implementation and maintenance but they’re probably not subject matter experts on how every information system is being used on a daily basis. Make an effort to involve savvy end users in developing content when it comes time to do refresher training.
Failing to properly train and educate users is a well-worn path to disaster, but there’s no reason you have to go that route. It is time to make a change and start fully realizing the investments you’ve made.
If you’re ready to make a change, we can help. SAI not only provides IT Strategy and Operations Consulting but also has a new platform for policy management and just in time training. Let us know when you’re ready to get started.