I want to use a feature in my software, but I never received training

George Washington said, “We ought not to look back, unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors and for the purpose of profiting by dear bought experience.” For many businesses they don’t know what failed about an implementation until they realize, looking back, that they didn’t receive good basic training or training on how to perform proper analysis on the software before purchasing.

Don’t let the details overwhelm you. Purchasing new software can feel like you’re in a black hole when it comes to understanding which features your company should utilize. Have you ever set up a company one way and then realized that you should have done it differently six months down the road? It can really be daunting at first and what’s crucial to your company is getting your employees the training they need and deserve. Would you want a doctor performing heart surgery on you without first being properly trained and licensed? Why should you settle for anything less when it comes to your company? Employees need better training, not more training. Did you know that on average 11 days are consumed before managers and key personnel are notified of events that are affecting their business?

Employees who are properly trained, whether it be on human resources or on back end accounting procedures, are better aligned to the company’s goals and mission statement. If you’re investing in their knowledge, an employee is going to understand that their job is important and thus perform better and cultivate loyalty to your company. All of that seems easy enough right? Wrong. The type of training an employee receives is just as important. You need a proven, qualified and certified trainer that is not running through simple “101” coursework. You also need management to be on board with the goals and direction that the company is making with the software they are implementing. Instilling the word “quality” in your employees is only going to be obtained by a reputable and proven track record of an excellent educator.

You will also need to develop coursework specific to your company’s operations and goals. This requires educating the educator on your business. You can start by allowing them to analyze your existing employee base and their job duties. This is imperative to developing courses of training that will enhance your employees’ use of the software and bringing about those famous words, “productivity improvement”. It is impossible to measure productivity increases if you don’t know where you started. Asking your employees what would help them most is also putting you on track to start understanding what works and what doesn’t work in your company. Asking these type of questions will produce a return on your training investment that might just be immeasurable. You should also be setting goals with your educator for the employees attending training. If your employees are a part of creating the goals, they are obviously aligning with the objectives of the company. How can that be a bad thing? It can’t!

So who is training for? You might be thinking that training is only offered when you first implement your software or when new people on board at your company. That’s a bad idea. All software evolves or sunsets. If your software is on the evolving side that means new features and functionality are available with every release. Ongoing training continues to motivate employees and keep their interest in the software investment your company has made. Follow-up training a few months after a go-live is vital to the success of any new implementation. We already know that people don’t retain everything they learn in training, so evaluating the steps people are taking to use the software after a go-live will ensure they have understood training. You want your employees to use the software properly or follow the directions in a manufacturing process or follow through with developed workflow for new employees for example.
Did I mention that investing in your employees’ knowledge can significantly reduce employee turnover? For instance, additional training in your customer relationship management software can lead to more efficient employees who perhaps don’t require as much supervision (sounds like lower cost and increased productivity to me) which will lead to financial gains for your company, which leads to better salaries, which can lead to happier employees. If your employees are knowledgeable of how to drill into your data and analyze trends on the business performance, this makes your company more competitive in the marketplace.