When it comes to technology spending, most organizations tend to put most of the money towards the actual technology investment and very little towards training. But if you don’t make a concerted effort to ensure your employees can use that technology to its full potential, you aren’t going to get much of an ROI. When it comes to getting the most bang for the buck with technology purchases, training and learning play a crucial role.
PricewaterhouseCoopers noted recently that companies are continuing to make significant technology investments, but many of those investments have yielded disappointing returns. Though new technology holds the promise of huge gains, many enterprises don’t reap the full benefits due to poor implementation A significant reason is that most organizations don’t put sufficient emphasis on the training component of technology investments.
This is clearly a mistake. Integrating new technologies into the workplace has less to do with digital transformation and more to do with changes in culture and ways of working. It is human nature that the prospect of change can lead to feelings of anxiety, worry and confusion. Change can also threaten our personal and professional comfort, forcing us to adapt to something we might not fully comprehend.
Training helps employees more fully understand new technology, yet the largest contributing factor in low user adoption is not enough training. Even when it’s built into their budget, some IT decision-makers still don’t authorize training. Global Knowledge found that 41% of these leaders had formal training available but decided not to use it. Nearly 20% of IT professionals reported that management does not see a tangible benefit from training. This is a significant logic gap, particularly when IT staff strongly desire to learn and grow their careers. Without the support of leadership, however, this is rarely possible.
Not all training is created equal. There are a few, specific areas that leaders should focus on to be confident that the training they’re implementing will be the most useful to their employees – and effective for the organization overall. These include:
- Embrace user feedback: A true collaborative workspace is one where users can go and learn about a solution but also provide feedback on how they think the solution could work better for them. Learning is not a one-way street. Organizations need to be open–minded and receptive to what users are requesting. This creates a continuous feedback loop of what users are actually looking for, how they’re using the systems and what improvements they’d like to see.
- Develop internal champions: To create awareness, you need some internal marketing. Find champions within the organization who are passionate about the tool and will spread the word to others.
- Create content to help promote adoption: Generate content about the new solution that showcases how it will help employees in their day-to-day work. It’s important that organizations use the communication tools and training tools that they have in order to spread the word about the tools that are available and how to use them – before a wave of negativity comes in from those who haven’t been properly trained. (Think about the example of restaurant review sites like Yelp – people are more likely to voice negative opinions than positive ones, so it’s important to get out in front of this.
- Understand how users interact with the technology: It’s important to understand the expectations of a digital workplace. In such a collaborative scenario, users generate a lot of content: chats, uploaded documents, video calls and so on. And over time, it grows organically. All the information that’s being generated in the digital workspace needs to be searchable. People want to be able to go back and see what someone told them three months ago, for example.
There are three best practices to keep in mind when implementing a new technology. First, consider using a learning platform. Learning platforms can be key to helping ensure you have the right training in place to maximize technology investments. These platforms store, manage and deliver the training components that people need in order to effectively use the technology you’ve invested in. Typically, this would be a learning management system – an adoption tool that delivers and targets the right users with the right information so they can be successful using the new technology.
Second, choose a learning platform that can adapt and grow with your business rather than just fitting today’s needs. Look for a platform that is mature and for which there is a strong roadmap backed by a strong organization, one with a track record of keeping up with the latest technologies. For example, with respect to collaborative workspaces and learning environments, two of the big buzzwords are AI and virtual reality. Find out which learning platforms support or plan to support technologies like this.
Third, listen to your employees. As noted above, it’s extremely important to pay attention to the needs, wants and expectations of those who will be using the learning platform. In fact, this is the key to success. The importance of ensuring you’re addressing employees’ needs from the start when choosing a learning platform cannot be overstated.
Onboarding new technologies is crucial to ongoing business success – but so is training in those technologies. Investment in new tools fails if employees don’t know the tools exist or don’t know how to use them. IT decision-makers can use the recommendations noted above to spearhead training, enlist others to help and find a learning platform that will undergird the successful implementation of new tools.