Maximum productivity Featured

1:11pm EDT May 25, 2006
Technology in the workplace is changing quicker than the time it takes to make change at a cash register. Every day, new versions of computer programs, applications and systems arrive in the marketplace and, most likely, at workstations throughout your place of business.

Are you and your employees ready to maximize the promises of “faster, better, smarter” when it comes to hardware and software programs ranging from basic office tools like Lotus Notes and Microsoft Office to more advanced applications such as Cisco, Oracle and Linux systems?

A common mistake many organizations make after investing in new technology is failing to provide the right kind of training for the right users.

The good news is that — because of technology — it is easier than ever to train the right people for maximum productivity.

Getting immersed
“Rapid e-learning, immersion training and distance learning models are the trends in IT training and more organizations are seeing the value of these types of training because their employees don’t have to travel away from the office,” says Chuck Mackey, executive director for the Technology Solutions Institute at Tri-C’s Corporate College.

Mackey says his clients get huge benefits from immersion training. It involves taking a selected number of workers and turning them into internal experts so the company won’t continually need to look for outside help. “Immersion training is a big value-add for all parties. The new expert trainers increase their role and responsibility. Employees get a real internal resource, and efficiency and productivity improve,” Mackey says.

Distance learning models make it easier than ever. Instruction is delivered to desktops or laptops at home or the office and use the Internet, multi-media presentations with video clips and classroom-style question-and-answer sessions along with testing modules.

Rapid e-Learning or REL is generally considered to be e-Learning that is designed, developed, and deployed as quickly and inexpensively as possible without losing critical content. The REL model uses tools and techniques that decrease the overall development cycle time from months to weeks, or even days. The faster turnaround and lower cost of REL is often attractive to an organization with a large number of people to train and very little time to do it.

Mackey suggests companies consider the following when developing a customized IT training solution:

Understand where you are now. Get a sense for what tools, applications and systems are in use today. How are they being used to forward business efforts?

Conduct a high-level review that reveals where people’s talents lie. There are very detailed qualitative and quantitative surveys you can use.

Prioritize based on your investment and the critical nature of the application.

Where do you need to focus foundation training for critical or daily use?

What does everybody need to know? What are the immersion levels that people need to know?

How is training reinforced as new employees come in and jobs change?

After addressing these issues, many organizations wonder how to find a qualified training consultant to help with the process.

Choosing a vendor
“If you look at some of the most efficient and well-run organizations in the world — for example the military and the medical establishment — you’ll see that they are in a constant state of training their people every single day,” Mackey says. His recommendations for engaging an IT training vendor follow.

  • Ask prospective training vendors to point to success stories with companies like them or organizations who have the same issues and concerns.

  • Investigate the breadth and depth of training they perform. Are they well-versed in the tool sets you use?

  • Are the instructors certified for training in the applications and can they demonstrate effectively?

  • Do the trainers have real-world experience with the tool set?

  • Do they have the proper instruction media, classrooms, technology and equipment?

  • What is the staying power of the organization? How long have they been in business?

DENISE READING is president of Corporate College. For further information on Corporate College, visit www.corporatecollege.com or phone (866) 806-2677.