Employee Training and Development in a Technology Age

While advances in business automation and technology can create many efficiencies in an organization, it can also create a challenge when it comes to staff training and development.

Business technology is not only changing what types of training and development employees need, but also the delivery methods.

We’re diving into how to create the employee training plan your business needs for the digital age.

  1. Make Training and Development Part of the Business Technology Project Implementation Process

Deciding what business technology to buy and how to implement it might seem like the CIO’s responsibility, but it should involve the HR department, too. Any new software or automated process brought into the company will require training, not just for current employees, but also for future staff members. Without training, you will not realize the full benefit of the technology for your business.

The HR department should (ideally) be included in discussions about new technology, or at least brought into the loop when it comes to training and development. They should also be involved in talks about project implementation as user training is an important part of that.

Some software providers have training readily available online which helps introduce the new technology to your team but understand that there is still a need to show them how you will specifically use it in your business.  Your training and development strategy should include a process to incorporate your company’s standard operating procedures into training videos or reference documents that you can either develop in house or work with an outside provider to create. These can then also be part of your onboarding strategy for new hires.

The HR department may be involved in other ways, too, such as organizing refresher courses, posting training videos to the Intranet portal, or training on soft skills needed to make the most of the new technology.

  1. Don’t Omit User Acceptance Testing

The goal of user acceptance testing in a new implementation project is to ensure that the new system works as expected but also to ensure that employees know how to do their day-to-day work using the new system. As such, it is a key part of the training plan when implementing new technology.

The UAT process can be a good one for HR to be involved with as it will highlight common issues with the new software, frequently asked questions, and potential future uses for the software — points that should be addressed in developing training plans, especially with new staff.

Frustration from not knowing how to use the business tools is a common source of employee dissatisfaction and subsequent disengagement. Training and testing are therefore not just important for ensuring that your technology investment is achieving your business goals, but also to help with employee retention. Getting employees involved in UAT is the best way to achieve buy in and also ensure they know how the new tool will be used in their day-to-day routines.

  1. Consider Business Goals and Priorities

Many companies do not do a very good job of communicating business goals and priorities, let alone supporting them with an employee training strategy. But if you are to achieve your goals and have an aligned workforce, then some kind of training is required. For instance, if the executive team has determined it’s a priority to move to an agile business model, there should be a plan to get there that includes training staff on how to do work differently.

On a smaller scale, even business goals such as “increase sales by 10% this year” might require more focused training on specific ways the company hopes to achieve that goal. If the HR department knows what the company’s priorities are, that information can be used in developing an employee training plan.

  1. Consider Skills When Hiring

While it might be ideal for your business to find an accountant who is fluent in Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Dynamics GP, predictive analytics, cloud security, financial forecasting, and more, filling that user profile may not be realistic.

Instead, in the business of the future you may need to cast a wider net and look for a more versatile skillset. For example, technological literacy — being able to quickly learn a new program — might be one such skill. Analytic capability might be another one. Business automation tools can remove a large part of the traditional data entry and calculation tasks. As such, many organizations are moving people who used to perform those jobs to more analytic roles: looking for patterns and trends, interpreting the data, and putting it into practice in the organization.

The emphasis may also shift from recruiting to re-training current staff if automation is replacing or consolidating jobs. Keeping good employees could be more beneficial in the long run, both for company morale and for cost effectiveness.

  1. Consider Training and Development Delivery Methods

Business technology isn’t only changing the systems a business uses, but also the way training can be delivered.

Traditional, hands-on classroom learning is still an option, but so are webinars (live or recorded for later watching) or e-learning opportunities, such as an electronic employee handbook, or a video training series. Mobile apps are also becoming a popular choice. Someday soon, we may even see AI enter the workplace for training opportunities.

Depending on the organization, your HR department might also need to consider how to train remote employees, how to extend team building across a wide geographical distance, and  how to create an ongoing development strategy for digital employees.

  1. Choose Training and Development Software to Help

Just as business software transforms the modern workplace, it can also transform employee training. Certain tools can provide more training options (as mentioned above), allow for online course creation, deliver cloud-based learning, and more.

SHEA Global can help your business evaluate training options to find the right one to suit your goals. We also offer custom training and development programs designed not only to teach staff how to use business technology, but also on general functionality, specific business processes, business intelligence, and more.

Contact us today to see how we can help build your employee training plan. Call (905) 470 6830 or visit SHEAGlobal.com

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