Technology training. Sounds like a boring topic, right? Some might say so, but we say no way! We look at the opportunity to train and be trained on the latest technology issues and tools should be a critical part of every business, large or small. The importance of training at employee onboarding and ongoing throughout the employee’s tenure is an important factor to the success or failure of the business. Here’s why we think this is so important:
- Maximize your technology investment. We see this time and time again. A company will invest in a suite of tools, only to fully utilize a fraction of the potential. With training, employees have an understanding of how to best use the tools and apply the knowledge they learn in real-world applications. The content may warrant repeating a number of times to ensure they are grasping the concepts and putting them into practice but without training on the tools, the employees won’t have a shot at maximizing the potential, creating an expense that isn’t worth the value.
As an example, recently we partnered with Centriq Training to bring a webinar to our clients but also the general public about Microsoft 365 and how to maximize productivity. Several tools within the suite were covered to highlight some ways to utilize these tools more efficiently. Many companies use Microsoft 365 but much fewer are harnessing the power of the full suite of tools.
One way to help bring this training to fruition is to think about your company training plan before you invest in new technology and not after you’ve purchased it. How will you help ensure that your employees not only are trained initially but ongoing to ensure they are applying their knowledge in real-world scenarios? These are considerations that should be a part of every technology purchase.
- Expertise. Depending on your industry and product offering, technical expertise can set you apart from your competitors. But even if you have been knowledgeable about the ways technology can move your business forward in the past, it changes, and sometimes rapidly. Making a concerted effort to commit to training your employees on new technologies regularly can help ensure that you remain an expert in your field and you stay competitive in the marketplace
- Productivity. When we don’t use technology to its full potential, we are less productive. We take longer to perform the functions of our jobs and we operate at a slower pace. This slower output can affect our products and services and ultimately our customer experience. Training can help mitigate this because if we are able to show our employees how to be more productive and also hold them accountable to those practices, we will produce more efficient output. The key is to reevaluate this on a regular cadence to ensure you’re staying ahead of the market.
- Risk Mitigation. When training is provided on an ongoing basis, employers can identify areas where there are gaps with the intended processes and the ultimate execution. These gaps are what can lead to inconsistent experiences, misuse of tools, and inefficiency. By training regularly on technology and processes, employers can work to correct the behaviors and lower the long-term risk to the business.
One area in particular that training can lower risk is related to cybersecurity. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began and even before, cybersecurity has become a critical focus in the information technology (IT) space. Consistent education and training related to the most up-to-date information on ways that hackers will compromise your systems will keep employees on alert. One area that is more vulnerable than others is for new employees. Cyberattackers will target these vulnerable new employees and often they will comply as they aren’t as familiar with company culture and practices. Including training upon employee onboarding is critical to lowering this risk. After employees are established, refresher training on ways to identify cyberattacks is important to keep this topic top of mind for employees. If this investment in training could save your business from just one targeted attack, it could pay for itself in dividends. If you aren’t sure how to train your employees on cybersecurity, look for external help. These methods are changing frequently and having a third party who understands the latest methods could help you in this topic in particular.
- Employee Retention. Most, if not all, employees want to perform well in their roles. They seek to do better and many will be open to learning. Investing in their futures by training on the latest technologies will illustrate a commitment to their growth. When employees feel valued in this way, they are likely to stay longer as they are still challenged and learning. Adopting this principle of consistent training will also be an asset to the culture of learning. Being nimble and focusing on growth is critical for businesses today. By implementing a commitment to training, employees will also look for new ways to utilize technology for their and the company’s benefit.
Another way that training can keep employees engaged and retained is to identify a subject matter expert (SME) for each technology purchase. This can be a growth and leadership opportunity for an employee to be the expert and resource for other employees related to that particular technology. The SME can lead the ongoing training and be responsible for staying up to date with the latest advancements.
- Consistent Customer Experience. When employees interact with customers, training on technology and beyond can lead to a consistent and expected customer experience. This consistency and delivery of expected results will lead to greater customer satisfaction and retention. When employees are not trained consistently, the customer will recognize it and not expect the same result every time. Committing to a consistent customer experience through employee training can be upheld through documentation, quality assurance, and SMEs as discussed above.
Overall, the investment in technology training can be high from a cost and time perspective but the benefits far outweigh the costs. We, at Firefly, encourage our clients to continuously train their employees and we also employ these same tactics for our own employees.
If you need help strategizing around technology training initiatives that could be helpful in your organization, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d love to hear from you.