One of the biggest secrets to a successful organization is confident and satisfied employees. A few weeks ago, I discussed the importance of user training in your technology spaces and how empowered users can save organizations money. Now that we’ve established the benefits of user training, the next step is implementing a program that works for your organization.
Some of our clients think that all it takes is a lunch and learn to bring employees up to speed, and they’re done. However, it depends on your company’s culture, the specific hesitations your users have, and the technology in your collaboration spaces. Considering all the variables relative to your unique situation will ensure a successful training program. First, however, organizations need to understand the different types of training and how to use both of them to your advantage.
Active and Passive Training: Abandon the “Either/Or” Mentality
There are two primary ways to train employees. The first is through passive training, which consists of providing FAQs, in-room posters, group training sessions, or short instructional booklets. The second is active training. In a small group or one-on-one situation, an expert works directly with an employee to fully train him or her on using the technology in the collaboration space. Generally, active training also includes maintaining and tracking metrics and checkpoints.
More likely than not, your company is already doing passive training of some kind by including quick-start guides or in-room cheat sheets. At the same time, you’re not likely to provide active training. It can be challenging to spend the time needed for active training. Not only do your trainers have to take the time to plan and prepare, but the employees themselves also have to be willing to participate. Combined with effectively tracking key performance indicators (or KPIs), a lot of companies don’t want to put in the effort.
However, active training is very valuable in creating comfortable, confident users. Instead of considering either passive or active training, consider how to combine both training styles to create a unique and truly valuable experience for your employees. When you do, your company will experience the money- and time-saving benefits we’ve previously identified. In our experience, we find that these five steps can create success in your conference rooms and other collaboration spaces.
Step One: Analyze Your Technology and its Utilization
Before you can develop any training plan or in-room materials, take the time to talk with and listen to your users. If they are saying that the technology is broken or never works, don’t take it at face value. Often times, frustrated or intimidated employees will indicate that “this conference room never works” when they simply can’t figure out how to optimally utilize it for their needs. Investigate the technology with your helpdesk or service team. Is the technology actually broken, or do your users instead not know how to use it? If the technology is fully operational, it’s time for training.
Step Two: Identify What Your Employees Avoid
If you haven’t started tracking ticket volume or utilization trends, now is the time to start. By looking at utilization trends or IT requests, you can start analyzing where your big problem areas are. If you notice a particular spike or pattern relating to a certain piece of technology or collaboration space, create a short and easy survey for your users. Ask them about the space they don’t like or have trouble with. Whether you pursue a survey or another investigative route, the key is to remove any guesswork from your training program. As a result, you will identify exactly what your employees have problems with and address them in future training programs.
Step Three: Provide Passive Training Materials and Active Training Sessions
Perhaps you already have passive or active training materials developed. Determine if they truly address the issues identified in Step Two. Keeping your passive materials relevant to your users will ensure they have easy access to help when they need it. Whether it is a tent card poster, or more detailed like the PCIP process, relevancy will allow you to build confidence in your users.
Furthermore, start hosting active training sessions. Hold monthly or weekly open hours for users to come to ask questions or be trained in a particular space or technology. The more one-on-one nature of an open session, the less intimidated your employees will feel than a mandatory training event.
Step Four: Find and Arm Your Champions
Every organization has at least one subject matter expert or SME, that knows how to use a technology space inside and out, especially when it comes to more high-end or complicated systems. For every SME, there are dozens of employees who feel daunted by those spaces. This is where passive and active training truly converges.
Encourage the most beginner of users to utilize technology by arming your SME with the tools they need to be your champion. Once your SME recognizes the importance of utilizing a technology space, they can help encourage, assist, and train their fellow colleagues on how to use a space. Instead of forced training requirements that most employees dread, the users feel encouraged and supported in their learning process.
Step Five: Don’t Stop Following Up
Once you select and implement your user training elements, don’t let that be the end. Follow up with your employees to understand if the user training worked. Are they comfortable with the technology? Is it easier to use? Are they utilizing the rooms more? If not, make adjustments to your training schedule. One good way to do this is to track satisfaction metrics or service desk KPI’s. What you see may surprise you.
If you’re curious about how to start developing active and passive training materials or need additional help implementing your training program, contact Mechdyne’s technical services experts today.