Training sometimes feels like a necessary evil. But if done right, it can benefit employees and the company in many ways. One way to do training right is to customize it to employees and their jobs.
What does customized software training look like?
The best customization for software training is when it’s relevant to an employee’s work. That means the training is tailored to their workflow (or as close as possible) and has relevant examples and scenarios to what theirs will be. Scenario-based learning is essential to quality software training that’s relevant and impactful.
That’s where custom software training solutions come in. Rather than off-the-shelf learning, which has its merits and limitations, custom learning is ideal for custom company software. It’s a great way to make training more engaging, practical, and effective for employees.
IT doesn’t implement any technology just for the heck of it. They do it for a specific purpose: to help employees do their jobs better. Employees need to use the technology with the right processes. So, training can’t simply be functional (click here, then click here, etc.); it must also be contextual to the employees’ jobs.
No system is ever taken from the vendor and delivered as is. It’s customized, processes are created relevant to the organization, and even within the constraints of the software, everything is tailored to your organization.
Yes, most vendors provide training, too. But it’s not customized for how your employees use the system, which makes it functional on a fundamental level but horribly dull, ineffective, and thrown together to say they provide it when they’re providing something harmful at best.
Training employees to use the software is essential. But just like the software, training must be unique to the organization. That’s the only way to make it relevant and helpful. If training from the vendor is used, there’s a considerable risk of employees not relating to it or, even worse, the training being completely ineffective and useless.
Employees aren’t going to try to extrapolate the meaning of the training and how it fits their job from generic vendor training. They’ll just be lost and not learn how to use the new system properly.
IT’s goal shouldn’t be simply to create systems for employees but to ensure that employees can use the systems to be more effective at their jobs.
Your organization and employees’ work are unique; therefore, their training should also be unique.
But what does it mean to tailor software training to your organization?
What Does It Mean to Tailor Software Training
Customizing software training may mean something different to each organization. But one thing’s clear: software that any organization can use will be used in as many different ways as there are organizations using it.
I’ll use Salesforce as an example since it’s one of the most popular SaaS and one we work with regularly. Salesforce can be used in as many different ways and purposes as there are organizations worldwide.
It can be used as a CRM for sales-driven organizations, a tracking system for legal departments, a customer service platform, and even a transplant referral platform for hospitals (we built training for all of these!). But even within each method of using Salesforce, every organization’s process will be unique and customized to work uniquely.
It’s almost like a unique platform for every different implementation. Generic Salesforce training is practically useless in most cases.
We’ve built training for organizations that use Salesforce in several different ways. One thing that consistently remains true is that you only know it’s Salesforce from the overall framework of Salesforce. The way each organization uses it is unique; therefore, the training must be unique, too.
Even someone familiar with Salesforce would have difficulty learning how to use it for a specific organization since the process is always different. While they may know how to use Salesforce at a high level, the specifics of using it for your organization will differ.
That’s why generic Salesforce training won’t help. While generic training for those unfamiliar with a tool should be available to those unfamiliar, a custom software training solution is almost always necessary.
When we tailor custom software training to an organization, we build the training so it walks employees through how they need to use it to do their jobs rather than being isolated in terms of just using the software. That likely means specific processes to your organization, workflow, scenarios, and other needs.
What Generic Software Training Gets You
Just as off-the-shelf software can be difficult or perhaps even impossible to use, the same is true of training. You won’t get a training program tailored to your workflow, processes, scenarios, or needs.
How should employees relate their training to their job if it’s abstract training about the software rather than using it to do their job?
They are different.
Generic software training is strictly about the software and nothing else. The training doesn’t necessarily follow the flow needed for how your employees will use it. Generic software training is structured and built around the software, not your employees and their workflow.
That puts your company’s technology at risk of improper use, of employees not understanding how to use it, or of it being poorly received.
Imagine being an employee and receiving generic training on new company software. The training doesn’t show employees how to apply the software to their jobs; it only teaches them how to use the system at a high level.
Not only is it challenging to relate generic software training to the job (irrelevant!), but it’s also usually not engaging or interactive. We make it engaging when we build custom software training solutions for company tech. That means employees see how it applies to their jobs and do the process themselves.
Doing is always the best way to learn (if possible).
Employees aren’t prepared for a new system if they’re not doing it. That means they aren’t going to be so happy once they have to use it. They will feel ill-prepared, unsupported, and like the organization doesn’t care about them.
You’re essentially throwing them to the wolves.
And those are some of the better parts of what generic software training gets you!
I’m just kidding. It doesn’t get much worse than that, and it is an excellent way for IT to get a bad reputation. Customized software training benefits everyone because it helps employees use company technology, and the love is palpable when employees see that their organization cares.
Good change management in IT is entirely dependent not only on good communication but also on quality training. Good training is customized for the organization and employees’ workflow.
The Benefits of Customizing Software Training
Throughout this post, you already saw several benefits of customizing software training. But it’s always nice to see the details consolidated in one place.
One size does not fit all when it comes to software training. Generic training may provide some high-level knowledge about the software, but it doesn’t compare to the depth and benefits of customized software training.
How should employees apply abstract, generic, and poor-quality training to their work? You’re asking too much from employees who are pressed for time, stressed, and have more on their plate to deal with than learning new software.
This section explores the benefits of customizing software training and why it’s essential to your organization’s growth and success.
Employees are unique, their jobs are unique, and your organization is unique. Generic software training can’t cover everything unique in your environment. including the processes. That means employees need software training that’s also unique to the uniqueness of their day.
There are three major categories of benefits we came up with for the benefits of custom software training.
- Increased efficiency and productivity.
- More employee engagement and retention.
- More effective training that gets employees excited.
Now it’s time to investigate each of these and make a case for the custom training that your organization needs.
Increase Efficiency and Productivity
A big part of IT is increasing efficiency and productivity in the workplace. Custom software training helps achieve that goal. You can’t magically make employees more efficient and productive; they must know how to be more efficient.
Customizing training with processes and procedures will ensure that it helps employees become more efficient and productive. They will also acquire the necessary skills to use IT systems correctly in their jobs for your organization.
Good custom training doesn’t just show employees how to use new software- it has them do it. Learning is doing, and doing is learning. Training has the unique benefit of showing employees how to do something while allowing them to do it in a safe environment.
That means employees can be well-prepared and ready to go while using the system they learned. It’s a fake environment, but it’s real to them. That’s why software simulations are so important to the organization and why we specialize in this essential type of software training.
If safely learning and doing doesn’t increase efficiency and productivity, I don’t know what will!
Efficiency and productivity in IT systems also increase when employees are comfortable with new tech. Allowing them to adapt and become comfortable during training makes change easier.
Efficiency and productivity are great, but there’s more! Custom training also improves employee engagement and retention.
Improve Employee Engagement and Retention
Nothing is more engaging than a company that supports its employees and ensures they’re prepared for the changes they must make. Employees who feel cared for by their employer are likelier to stick around, which means less employee turnover.
Training does precisely that. But not just any training; it must be custom training that helps them do things at their organization. Generic soft skills, software training, and other generic training don’t truly add value to an employee’s experience at your organization.
When employees can do their jobs well, they feel happy- I know I do. Imagine if they had training that showed them exactly how to perform their work in a new system.
It also helps that software training can be customized to employee workflows, allowing them to walk through the process in a realistic but safe environment.
We don’t simply show employees their job processes when we build custom system training. That’s not good enough; people won’t connect with or remember it. Instead, we create engagement with relevant training where employees do the driving.
That’s right; they don’t get to sit back and passively observe training as they do in video software tutorials. That only helps for short single tasks (microlearning) in perhaps training videos, which only work well for very specific and short software tutorials.
More in-depth software training requires engagement. That’s why we have employees perform the process they’ll need to do for real. And not just that, there’s more in-depth context and scenarios.
We do this all while providing meaningful context and information that helps employees know their jobs better.
The best part?
After taking a course, they don’t just know their job better; they’ll have performed their job for the first time using the new software they’re learning in a safe but realistic environment. That first step magically connects with the new software and a new way of working with it.
We go further because a single event doesn’t always help employees cement the connection in their long-term memory. Performance support helps remind employees how to do what they need to do.
That level of support and an organization’s caring works wonders for engagement and retention.
But does it translate into something useful, like being more effective at their job? I think you already know the answer, but keep reading for more details.
Custom software training solutions are more effective in many ways, including cost-effectiveness. While software training from the vendor may be inexpensive or even free, it doesn’t apply to your employee’s workflow and only provides a high-level overview of the software, not how they need to use it for their job at your company.
With custom software training, employees understand precisely how to use the software in their jobs. That’s because the training is made for them and requires no extrapolation on their part. When they learn the system for their workflow, they know exactly how to use it, ultimately making them more effective at their jobs.
So, custom software training is much more effective. While it may cost more to develop custom training, it will pay off in spades if used by enough employees.
Of course, you wouldn’t invest $15,000 into custom software training used by only 200 employees unless the value is there in the long term. But it would be unwise not to do so for something used by thousands of employees.
It all comes down to cost/benefit, and for custom software training, with enough employees who use the software, the benefit is clear.
When employees perform their jobs at their highest performance, they’ll do their jobs more effectively for your organization.
Custom training is required for your organization’s software built from the ground up. But you often have options for software from a vendor. Hopefully, this has made the option to use custom software training one that you can’t refuse.
You can see how we built a custom software training solution for off-the-shelf Oracle software that saves the organization thousands annually. Generic software training simply can’t do that.
Custom software training is consistently more effective, engages employees better, helps retain employees by supporting them more, and increases efficiency and productivity.
Custom Software, Custom Workflow, Custom Training
When we build custom software training for your organization, we work with you to understand the software and how it fits into your employee’s workflow. We’ll work to understand the most common workflows for most employees to help the training fit their needs.
If multiple roles work in the software differently, we’ll work with you to decide the best approach for each audience. It could be that the majority of employees get a self-paced course. If a smaller group doesn’t need to do quite as much in the software, they may get a handful of job aids that support their process.
Each project is unique, so our training design process always starts with meeting with you. We learn your needs, requirements, and how your organization works.
Here’s how we customized the training process for a project we worked on helping ordering techs learn the Oracle iProcurement process for a medical organization.
- Ordering techs first learned the procedures specific to their organization and were provided resources they could save for later. These included approval limitations, processes, etc.
- Then, they could walk through the exact process they would in the system, using real products they’d see every day. That helped them learn precisely how to use the system on the job.
- After the order was made, they saw the approval process to understand how it worked for their organization.
These steps helped them relate to the training more and perform better in their role.
Why It Helped Employees More
Once the ordering tech goes through the training, they’re given access to the system. They’re well prepared for using the actual system because they’ve been through the custom training themselves and essentially used the real system in a safe environment.
If you’ve done something once, you’re well on your way to mastering it and much better prepared than if you only observed how to use a system. While the saying that you learn 10% of what you see, 20% of what you hear, and 80% of what you do are 100% bogus, doing is still more effective.
Employees will always be happy to have the opportunity to practice a new process before being required to do it for their job. A low-pressure practice environment is ideal, and that’s precisely what custom software training can reproduce.
There is no better way to support your employees in their jobs and through changes than by providing good communication and training. The best training is oriented to workplace tasks and your employee’s workflow.
We help organizations by creating custom software training tailored to their employees’ workflow. This makes the company’s technology easier and more effective and helps employees be more productive in their jobs.
With custom software training built for how your employees use software, you’ll see several benefits. Those benefits include increased efficiency and productivity and improved engagement and retention while making employees more effective at their jobs.
How cool is that!?
We’d love to learn about your organization and any technology being implemented. We can help you create a fantastic custom software training solution that will blow your employees away and help them perform better in their jobs with what they learned. But we can assist with more than new system launches; we also can help improve current corporate IT training or build new training for old systems that you’d like employees to use better.
When you’re ready for a better way to do custom software training, schedule a free consultation so we can discuss your project and how custom training can help it succeed.