Although many businesses are increasingly turning to the latest IT technology and software to help bolster their service offering, an area that frequently gets overlooked is staff training. Often, a lot of effort goes into certification and advanced preparation for the specified IT team; however, the same can’t be said for other staff members.
Human error is inevitable in any company – whether that be due to ignorance, oversight or just bad habits – and even the best software or latest technology is of little use if employees don’t know how to use it properly. As such, I believe all staff members need to develop alongside the introduction of new technology.
Because the tech industry is so fast-paced, I think we’ve lost experience as technology develops. Proper and regular IT training is, therefore, essential to help minimise human error. Without it, businesses tend to become obsolete quite quickly.
Boosted engagement and productivity
If every member of your team doesn’t have a good understanding of how to use the software correctly or the appropriate precautions to take, productivity and workforce engagement will suffer – which, in turn, could leave your business vulnerable to sophisticated attackers seeking to target and dupe individual users.
This is why training is essential and I can’t stress enough how effective it is in helping staff to gain more independence and feel empowered to make informed decisions, without having to seek advice from higher up the ladder – saving both time and resources.
Technology also supports productivity, enabling employees to carry out tasks more efficiently and to solve problems quickly – assuming they know how to use it correctly, of course. As such, training is vital to ensure maximum output levels.
What’s more, technologies such as the Cloud and video conferencing allow your employees to interact with clients, customers or colleagues and carry out all their regular tasks without being chained to an office. Moving away from the standard 9 to 5 approach has been shown to have a number of benefits such as improved staff satisfaction and engagement, as well as boosted productivity.
Flexible workforces are unavailable to businesses using old, out-dated systems – which I feel is a real shame as remote working is much more scalable and cost-effective. Additionally, flexible workforces present less risk to your business as they are not limited by region, meaning you can employ the right person no matter where they are located in the world. However, for this to work, everything needs to be integrated so internal and external teams can work effectively together; this requires training to ensure employees are able to use (and enjoy using) the necessary technology successfully.
How to approach training
I think it is important that all staff members feel comfortable using the necessary software and actually enjoying doing so, in order to keep your workforce engaged and ensure maximum productivity.
IT training should, therefore, be extended to all users with access to your business systems or data and can be delivered effectively using a variety of methods. Classroom-based training or workshops offer a more familiar, comfortable environment for many people and can be highly interactive in the presence of an engaging teacher – while computer-based training can be delivered in modules and is designed to be accessible at a time and place that suits the employee.
To introduce new subject matter, I find presentations are useful – particularly if this needs to be taught across multiple sites. Demo or explainer videos covering various topics also provide a highly demonstrative training medium, while posters are a good way to reinforce generic company policies and procedures.
The best time to train employees is when they first join your company, as this will ensure using the software and tech becomes second nature to them. However, I believe IT training should be an on-going process within your company and needs to be conducted every time new technology or software is implemented.
Don’t become obsolete
There are multiple reasons why staff IT training is so important – but the future viability of your business is a major one. Progressive companies across many industries are increasingly ensuring staff are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively leverage the latest tech and IT software. So, if your competitors are investing in the right technology and training, then you better do the same – or else risk being superseded.
When you look at creative firms with a younger demographic, they are tech-savvy. The accountancy sector, on the other hand, has an older demographic and uses out-of-date tools. As a result, productivity drops and the pace slows down, which holds firms back and makes them more vulnerable to cyber-attacks and other issues.