3 key points to consider when deciding on the type of training you need for your organisation and when it should take place.

Every organisation needs to invest in training for their employees to help their business grow and ensure their staff are happy, secure and confident in their abilities. This is especially important when staff are using new or existing technology to aid their job role. There are countless options when choosing specific training methods and many facets to consider, such as, who needs training, where and when the training should take place and the overall objectives of that training. All these elements will have a direct impact on how successful that training is.

No business wants to waste precious resources on providing training that either does not enhance the employee’s abilities or is quickly forgotten. Time, budgets and moral can come under strain if there is a perceived failure with the training. New technology of any kind can also face negative perception and even be seen as a failure if training is not deployed correctly.
Here at 1UC we have put together a useful guide to aid you in your decision making for your training. It’s aim is to help you identify and plan the training you need for your company, so that you are able to choose effective, timely and cost effective methods. It will also help to identify when and where eLearning is appropriate, whether you should invest in a dedicated trainer in a class room environment or have a blended learning approach.
 

1) Who?
The first and probably the most important area to recognise is who needs training within your company. There are many different types of roles within an organisation. Each role will have specific requirements for any new deployment. Depending on the role will determine what they need to be trained on. There are also many personality types and whilst it may not be possible to cater for individual needs, by taking a look at the culture of your organisation, you will be able to identify the best training solution for it.

Audience Assessment
So where to start? Our first recommendation is to recognise the different user personas within your company. What kind of users do you have and how will they use the technology? Key to ensuring your trainees get the most out of the training is to understand their different learning styles and the way in which they will use the application you are training them on. At 1 Unified Communications, we see the best results when training is organised into these three main categories:

• Departments
• Technology Ability
• How the staff use the application

By organising your training using these three rules of thumb you will find the training has maximum benefit to the trainee and ultimately your company. Looking at these categories is some detail:

Departments
Think carefully about the departments that need training, try if possible to organise the training around the different disciplines. The needs and learning styles of the HR department for example would be very different from the needs and learning styles of the Accounts department. By putting both departments in the same training session, the variety of questions and individual concerns are likely to slow down the training and those to whom the questions are not relevant are likely to switch off from the training. Boredom and non-relevance are the trainers worst enemy.

Technology ability
It can be said that across any given company there will be a cross section of age, ability and aptitude for learning. Discriminating against this cross section is never acceptable, therefore it is important the training you offer your employees does not put them in a position that is too far out of their comfort zone. Consider the everyday tasks the employee is asked to do and the equipment and software they use on a daily basis. To learn effectively the trainee needs to be confident and happy. If you place someone not accustom to using the latest software in a room of Tech savvy users you will increase their anxiety and the training is likely to be compromised for both the savvy users and the person who feels out of their depth. It is easy to get around this by grouping similar abilities together.

How the trainee will use the application
Lastly it is important to consider how the employee will use the application once they are back at their desk, not all employees have access to the same areas of a given system or need to use all aspects of the software. By understanding how the software is to be used it will enable you to organise shorter, longer or more complex training depending on how it will be used by the employee. This will not only enhance your training but may also cut costs as you may only need one or two complex training sessions.

2) How?
In addition, within your organisation structure and culture you will have employees performing very different roles. Some may be desk bound with a structured 9-5 working day. For them, classroom training can be scheduled in to their working week. However, others may rarely be in the office working remotely, which would make it either impossible or difficult to attend training. In these cases online learning may be more suitable. If the company has various shift patterns, where it is difficult for people to leave their desks for period of time, a train the trainer approach may be more suitable.

For example; if you have an engineering firm, the majority of your employees may prefer a more structured classroom approach to learning where the tutor is present and a set time is allocated for that training. If, however, you operate an agile creative company, asking your creative team to sit in a training room for two hours, is likely to elicit boredom and a decrease in the amount of information the team take in, this team may prefer a more flexible eLearning approach to their training. If the trainee is engaged and relaxed during the training, the success and learning will vastly improve, diminishing the need to repeat the training or invest in additional training.

By using a blended approach and identifying the best mixture of training methods will allow you to reach all your employees.

3) When?
The timing of your training is absolutely key and is often an overlooked or incorrect which can cause additional unnecessary stress within the organisation. What do we mean? To give an example of a system that is scheduled to go live within a few weeks, here are some example personas that will receive training;

• Back Office training
• Reception
• Supervisors
• Call Centre Agents
• IT
• Managers
• Personal Assistants

1 UC is often called in to train ‘Supervisors’ and ‘IT’ just prior to go-live, with the ‘Back Office’ trained after go-live. This may seem logical but it does in fact cause many problems. Firstly, before go-live the IT departments are usually under pressure, testing the systems and ensuring they function correctly and hold the correct data. To ask them to attend training sessions at this time is counter intuitive to them meeting their goals and priorities of the technology deployment. In addition the new systems often does not hold the data needed for the supervisor training, this information is usually only accessible after go-live, meaning that work arounds are needed, such as an introduction to the system rather than the full training.

Conversely the end user (back office & call centre agents) needs to learn the new system prior to go-live. By ensuring they receive their training just before the system goes live they will be prepared and ready to operate the system from the moment of cutover. Holding this training too far in advance, is also detrimental, as people will have forgotten all they have learnt by the time they come round to actually using the system for the first time.

Once go live is completed and successful, the IT department will then be available to ensure they receive comprehensive admin training in order for them to effectively maintain the new technology. Management will also be able to receive training on a live system with actual data allowing them to discuss more complex scenarios that the system is capable of.

It is especially important to take these 3 critical elements into consideration when planning your training as we move towards changing work environment with a lot more home based people than ever before. Therefore companies need to adapt and use a cross section of training delivery styles, essentially culminating into a blended learning approach which companies must adopt for these changing environments. By adopting this approach to training your staff and organisation will benefit from a more productive and efficient training programme.

1 Unified Communications offers a bespoke training service to companies looking for end user training, admin and management training.
If you would like more information or to discuss your training needs please contact us.