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Providing good, focused IT training on the right tools can improve productivity, staff satisfaction and keep your business running smoothly.
There are a number of reasons to invest in IT training for staff. The right training leads to operations running smoothly and well-trained employees will be better equipped to use technology that is operational within the workplace.
The key to ensuring your staff get the right training is to develop a training plan that defines the skills required by the roles within your business. One you know what training is required for each role, identify suitable training courses. Make sure you keep this plan up to date as new technology or services are implemented within your company and as staff and their skills change.
How to develop an IT training plan
When developing a training plan, consider these points:
A needs assessment looks at the skills required for the role, the skills the employee currently has and identifies the skills and knowledge the employee needs to gain (the knowledge gap).
A needs assessment ensures there is a need for training or professional development. Make the opportunity you are pursuing, or the problem you are solving is a training issue. You should also look at what type of training will work best, one to one coaching, completing an online course or attending a formal course.
It's important the context of the training or skills enhancement is communicated. Make sure the employee understands the link between the training and his/her job. There is no point sending an employee on a course which covers Excel charts if they can't see the relevance to their data. You can enhance the positive impact of the training even further if the employee understands the link between the training and their ability to contribute to the accomplishment of the business plan and goals.
It's important to provide rewards and recognition for successful completion and application of the training. People appreciate completion certificates, for instance. Consider listing employee names and completed training sessions in the company newsletter.
It's important to recognise that training takes time, not just while the employee is receiving training, but time for them to apply their learning back in the workplace and convert the newly learned knowledge into a skill your organisation can benefit from. For example, learning about Excel charts in a controlled environment with pre-supplied data is very different to creating a chart based on data extracted from a company database. It may take time for the employee to work out how to 'clean up' the data and put it into a format that charts sensibly.
Reviewing training requirements and providing training or professional development opportunities isn't a one off event. It is worthwhile completing the process annually or when a change in business process or new technology is introduced. Staff's skills change as do staff members.