We’re always looking for ways to enhance company IT training in the most efficient way. Through all of our testing and experiments, there’s no single right answer. Every project will dictate the best method for training. So keep that in mind while reading this post.
While we do think eLearning with realistic software scenarios and practice is a great way to train for company technology, other methods are great at supplementing it. For instance, while contextual help is a great solution for corporate IT training, it sometimes works best paired with eLearning. That also goes for any type of learning that happens on an enterprise social network.
As technology continues to advance at breakneck speeds, organizations must supplement formal training methods with more informal methods. That’s why enterprise social networks (ESNs) can be a good solution for training employees on corporate IT. This post will look at how companies effectively enable IT training on their enterprise social network to help increase long-term knowledge retention as well as enable self-help.
An enterprise social network can be a powerful tool for training when paired with formal methods. Its ability to connect individuals and facilitate collaboration within organizations makes it a powerful tool to enhance learning in any organization.
But can an enterprise social network be the best answer to improving company IT training? Can it offer a strategy that not only engages employees but also enhances their learning experience?
While enterprise social networks interest me as a great tool for enhancing learning, this post focuses specifically on how they can enable better IT training within companies.
What’s An Enterprise Social Network?
In case you’re not familiar with what an enterprise social network is, this section is for you! It’s common to not know what one is either because unfortunately many companies still don’t see the benefit of them and disable it even if they have access to one.
It’s a private online social network that allows employees to interact, share knowledge, and collaborate on projects in a secure and controlled environment.
The only people who typically have access to it are employees and it behaves similarly to social networks such as LinkedIn. Most of them are text-based but with the ability to post videos and pictures. So, it’s not like TikTok but rather more like LinkedIn for employees only.
There are lots of popular enterprise social networks available today and one of the biggest is Viva Engage. It was previously entirely web-based and called Yammer but Microsoft rebranded it to Viva Engage and brought it into Microsoft Teams.
There are others available as well and they’re usually part of a larger suite of tools. There’s Google Workspace, Workplace by Meta, and many others too. Google Workspace and Slack are more chat tools for the enterprise, though, and not true social networks for the enterprise.
Viva Engage is sort of the gold standard for enterprise social networks because it lets you connect with colleges, there’s an organization feed, groups, and more.
Unlike traditional social media platforms, enterprise social networks are specifically designed for internal use within an organization. They’re great tools for fostering communication and knowledge-sharing among employees.
You might be able to think of a few ways to harness the power of an enterprise social network to deliver IT training to employees. With the tools available in Viva Engage it’s easy for employees to learn from each other and share their knowledge with others.
With the right strategy, an enterprise social network can add a lot of value to IT training that fosters knowledge exchange and promotes continuous learning. There’s a lot of potential for using an enterprise social network as a powerful tool for empowering employees and optimizing their IT training experience.
The Benefits of An Enterprise Social Network for IT Training
Technology moves fast and organizations are moving toward a more digital world every day. Even if an organization is primarily digital there is still a constant digital transformation. That means employees need to keep up with it all.
While company technical training does help employees through the digital transformation, sometimes they need more. Employees will seek out help if they have a place to do it, and they will discuss best practices if they have the place to do it.
As technology continues to advance at breakneck speeds, organizations must keep their employees up-to-date with the latest tools and systems. But does an enterprise social network provide real tangible benefits for employees when it comes to company IT training?
Yes, and here are some ways it will improve how they learn and act as a great addition to the learning process.
On an enterprise social network employees can record a quick video and share a secret that only they previously knew about. They could create a quick screen recording to share a tip or just post a screenshot with some steps on it.
The great part is that it’s not a one-way conversation anymore. Now employees can share and learning can be enhanced with conversation. Replies with additional context or an even better way can be posted so the learning can further be enhanced.
Now a quick tip in Microsoft Word can spread like wildfire and maybe be improved upon to become even more efficient and better suited to your organization. Training can become more powerful when employees can actively participate in discussions, share insights, and collaborate with their peers.
All the different uses for an ESN play right into the benefits of microlearning for corporate IT training. Everything posted by employees is a form of user-generated microlearning content.
When employees learn about a new company tool they’ll likely go through some sort of formal training. If they have somewhere to discuss what they learned and share other ways they’ve found of doing things, that’s going to help a lot of people. With a good plan to encourage sharing and discussion, a lot of good things can come out of it.
But how do you encourage the use of sharing and conversation rather than employees taking training and then moving on with their jobs?
Encouraging Peer-to-Peer Learning
Face it, not everyone is going to chat about their new IT tools. Most employees simply don’t care nor do most tools warrant the need for sharing and conversation. Sometimes it’s perfectly fine for employees to take their training and carry on.
But sometimes a tool is complex enough and there’s a big enough change where a good plan for encouraging peer-to-peer sharing will benefit employees. In those cases, you should have a plan on how to encourage those conversations and have a place where they could happen.
Sometimes it will make sense to create a public group where employees can ask questions rather than simply sending them to an email. With the subject matter experts joining in the sharing questions can be answered more efficiently and more information can be made public rather than being hidden from other employees who could benefit.
By leveraging an enterprise social network, companies can create a platform where employees can connect with their peers, ask questions, seek advice, and share their insights and experiences. This peer-to-peer learning environment not only encourages active participation but also fosters a sense of community and camaraderie among employees.
While it can work for learning anything in the organization it’s especially powerful for technology When employees feel empowered to learn from each other, they become more engaged in the learning process and are more likely to retain the knowledge they acquire.
Fostering a Culture of Knowledge-Sharing
In addition to facilitating peer-to-peer learning, an enterprise social network also plays a crucial role in fostering a culture of knowledge sharing within organizations. In traditional training settings, valuable insights and expertise often remain siloed within individual employees or departments.
This lack of collaboration and information sharing can hinder innovation and slow down problem-solving processes. With an enterprise social network in place, employees have a platform where they can easily share their knowledge and expertise with others.
Whether it’s through posting articles, creating discussion threads, or uploading video tutorials, employees can contribute to the collective knowledge of the organization. This culture of knowledge sharing not only enhances the overall skill set of employees but also promotes continuous learning and professional development.
Something as scary as new technology can quickly become approachable when employees are encouraged to learn and explore.
Providing Real-Time Support
Another way enterprise social networks enhance company IT training is the ability to provide real-time support to employees. With formal training, once employees learn something they go back to their jobs and maybe never improve further.
There’s often limited opportunity for employees to seek clarification or ask questions.
With an enterprise social network, employees have access to a real-time support system where they can reach out to subject matter experts or even their peers for assistance. Whether it’s troubleshooting a technical issue, seeking guidance on a specific task, or clarifying concepts, employees can receive immediate feedback and support.
This not only enhances the learning experience but also ensures that employees have the resources they need to overcome challenges and succeed in their roles.
Enhancing Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is a critical factor in the happiness and success of employees. When employees are engaged and motivated to learn, they’re more likely to actively participate in training activities and retain the knowledge they acquire.
An enterprise social network can significantly enhance employee engagement in IT training by providing a platform that is interactive, and collaborative. Not to mention it makes it easier than ever to interact with other employees which is a big engagement factor.
How connected are they with colleagues?
While traditional training and digital training are the primary way for many employees to learn, an enterprise social network can take it further and encourage deeper learning. Now training isn’t a once-and-done activity but rather a continuous process of improvement.
Measuring and Tracking Progress in IT Training Using an Enterprise Social Network
One of the challenges organizations often face when it comes to IT training is measuring the effectiveness of the program and tracking employee progress. On an individual basis, this is almost impossible with any type of learning on an enterprise social network.
So, while an ESN can be a great supplement for employee training, it’s not ideal for tracking employees’ training. There’s not any tracking at all and instead would need to be done outside of the ESN. But learning and continuous improvement isn’t always about tracking and analytics.
Overcoming Challenges and Implementing a Successful Enterprise Social Network Strategy for IT Training
While the benefits of using an enterprise social network for IT training are clear, implementing a successful strategy can be challenging. Organizations need to overcome potential hurdles such as resistance to change, ensuring data security and privacy, and creating a culture of active participation.
To overcome these challenges, you need a well-defined implementation plan in place. This plan should include clear communication about the benefits of the enterprise social network, training sessions to familiarize employees with the platform, and ongoing support and guidance from a change champion.
By addressing these challenges head-on and involving employees in the decision-making process, organizations can successfully implement an enterprise social network strategy for IT training. No ESN is for simply socializing, though, which means there needs to be a decent plan to encourage its use for information sharing and learning.
Just like with anything else technology can be used to waste time or improve productivity. That goes for basic things like a water cooler too (are water cooler conversations truly useless?).
An enterprise social network has the potential to enhance company IT training by fostering peer-to-peer learning, promoting knowledge sharing, providing real-time support, and enhancing employee engagement. By leveraging the power of an enterprise social network, organizations can enhance traditional forms of training.
An organization with a culture of continuous improvement and learning can benefit as well and an ESN can help foster them. As always it’s important to note that implementing a successful enterprise social network strategy for IT training requires careful planning, clear communication, and ongoing support.
Organizations must have a real plan for how the ESN will be used to enhance company IT training. It won’t just happen on its own. There are potential challenges and employees need to be actively engaged in the process. They’re not simply going to see an ESN, get excited, and start sharing away. It takes a company-wide culture shift but the benefits far outweigh the effort.
With the right strategy in place, an enterprise social network can revolutionize company IT training (and any type of learning really) and empower employees to thrive in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape. We’d love to discuss with you how our instructional design consultants can work with you to enable company IT training on your social enterprise network.
Schedule a free consultation so we can discuss any company IT training and also how it could benefit from a little ESN boost. We’re all about helping companies succeed and helping IT initiatives improve employees’ work by helping them use technology better.