You will struggle to get much ROI (return on investment) if training is inadequate - the potential of your software can’t be fully realised without it!
Quality training will also minimise disruption within your business. If people have been well trained and know what they are doing, you will have a much smoother time transitioning to a new system.
Here are 7 ways to maximise the return on investment on your software through the management of staff training.
1. Select staff to act as "super users" or "power users."
Most businesses, or teams have at least one person who knows how to fix the printer, resolve technical issues and is the go-to person when these sorts of problems arise. Who is yours?
Consider asking them to become an advanced user of the system, able to help and support other staff.
Having internal super users reduces your reliance on external help. Multiple in-house experts can share super user responsibilities more easily, reducing the risk of you losing skills and knowledge when people leave your company. Allow additional time for super users to be trained and give them a head-start in learning how to use the product.
Super users may also be trained to manage configuration tasks (usually characterised by manual adjustments to data entry fields, label names, settings, menu options etc.) further reducing your reliance on your software provider. You may save money on fees and have changes made more quickly, but you will also need to consider the impact on super users’ "normal" duties.
2. Be prepared to offer refresher and mop-up training sessions to staff.
Don't attach any stigma to requesting refresher training. It's far better to allow staff to repeat training so they can be productive, than to have people unable to perform at their best because they haven't grasped everything the first time and are nervous about coming forward. Repetition is an important part of learning, so allow scope for refreshing staff’s knowledge and help them to reinforce the new information they have gained.
Repeat sessions will also be useful as a way to train new starters who had not joined your company when the initial training took place, or staff who were absent when others received their training.
3. Make sure training is contextual and relevant. Examples and scenarios provided during training should relate to the specifics of employees’ daily tasks and activities. Pointing out that “this button here does this, or that option will do that” without any reference to real-world scenarios is not necessarily good enough.
4. Make sure staff know exactly where to access training resources.
If there are self-service resources available, make them as easy to access as possible. The harder it is to access learning aides, the less motivated staff will be to hunt for the information, even if they need it. This may lead to people taking shortcuts or falling into bad habits.
5. Consider creating your own knowledge base.
This will help you retain knowledge within your business as existing staff leave and new employees join.
If all questions raised (and the answers to them) are captured, you will be able to build a very useful internal resource.
One page “cheat sheets” with reminders and tips and other easy-access training materials will be incredibly helpful for your staff. Depending on your policy about paper in the office and assuming there is no sensitive information on the cheat sheet, allow people to pin these up or put them in prominent places to help them as they work.
6. Set up a communication channel that makes it easy for staff to raise issues with a line manager, team leader or super user. Encourage staff to make suggestions and continue to fine-tune processes until they are optimal. This will have a positive effect on your ROI, will speed up your time to value (TTV, the time taken to derive benefit from your software), and increase staff’s morale and enthusiasm.
Make sure staff know who they should contact if they have a question, or issue. Set up an email mailbox for feedback and comments, or organise them in an electronic file, or desktop folder.
7. Be prepared to troubleshoot.
Be ready to chase the software vendor or service provider if necessary.
For best results, you’ll need them to provide answers quickly, so that staff aren’t inconvenienced, remain motivated and don't develop a negative impression of the product. It’s best to manage expectations - explain that a few teething troubles might arise early on, but this is no cause for alarm and confirm that you intend to deal with any issues promptly.
Support your super users in the event of any issues arising, and check that they are freed up and ready to help people, especially in the first few weeks after the new software has been rolled out.
Taken from the software survival guide - Don't Buy Software for Your Small Business Until You Read This Book, available now on Amazon.
Copyright 2017 © K.N. Kukoyi, Purposeful Products.
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