Training sometimes feels like a necessary evil. But, if done right then it helps employees and benefits your company in many different ways. Doing training right is making sure it’s customized to the audience and their job.
What does customized training look like?
The best customization for 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 workflows to what theirs will be.
That’s where custom software training solutions come in rather than off-the-shelf solutions. It’s a great way to make training more engaging, useful, 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 job better. Employees need to use the technology with the right processes and such. So, training can’t simply be functional (click here then here, etc.), it must also be contextual to their job.
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 be specific to your organization.
Training employees to use the software is essential. But just like the software is made to be unique for the organization, training also needs to be made unique. That’s the only way to make it relevant and helpful. If training from the vendor is used, there’s a huge risk of employees not relating to the training, or even worse, the training simply doesn’t fit and feels useless.
Employees aren’t going to try to extrapolate the meaning of the training and how it fits their job from generic training. They’ll just be lost and not learn how to properly use the new system.
IT’s goal shouldn’t simply be to create systems for employees, it should be to make sure employees can use the system to be more effective at their job.
Your organization and employees’ work is 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
It may be that customizing software training means something different to each organization. But one thing’s clear, software that can be used by any organization will be used in as many different ways as there are organizations that use it.
I’ll use Salesforce as an example since it’s one of the most popular SaaS systems available and one we work with regularly. You can use it in as many different ways as there are organizations in the world.
It can be used as a CRM for sales-drive organizations, tracking for legal departments, and even for customer service. We also can’t forget a recent project where it was used to help social workers apply for transplants on a patient’s behalf. But, even within each method of using Salesforce, every organization’s process will be unique.
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 and therefore the training must be unique too.
Even someone familiar with Salesforce would have a hard time learning how to use it for any given organization since the process behind it is always different. While they may know from a high level how to use Salesforce, how to use it for your organization will be very different.
That’s why generic Salesforce training won’t help. While generic training for those completely unfamiliar with a tool should be available to those who know nothing, a custom software training solution is almost always necessary.
When we tailor software training to an organization, we build the training so it walks employees through how they need to use it in order to do their job rather than being isolated in terms of just using the software. That could mean specific processes to your organization, workflow, and other needs.
What Generic Software Training Gets You
Just as software is difficult or perhaps even impossible to use off the shelf, training is the same way. You wouldn’t get a training program that’s tailored to your workflow, processes, or needs.
How are employees supposed to relate their training to their job if it’s abstract training about the software itself?
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. You’ll find that consistently 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 not being used properly, employees not understanding how to use them, or having them poorly received.
Imagine if you were an employee and received generic training on new company software. The training doesn’t show them how to apply it to their job but rather just shows them how to use the system from a high level.
Not only is it difficult to connect generic software training to the job, but it’s also usually not engaging or interactive. When we build custom software training solutions for company tech, we make it engaging. That means employees get to see how it applies to their jobs and do the process themselves.
Doing is always the best way to learn.
If they’re not doing it, employees aren’t prepared for a new system. That means they aren’t going to be too happy once it’s launched or 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!
Just kidding, it doesn’t get much worse than that and is a great way for IT to get a bad reputation. Customized software training benefits everyone because it helps employees use beneficial company technology and the love is palpable when employees see their organization cares.
Good change management in IT is entirely dependent not only on good communication but good training. Good training is customized for the organization and employees’ workflow.
The Benefits Of Customizing Software Training
You already saw several benefits of customizing software training throughout this post. But, it’s always nice to see the details of them all 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.
How are employees supposed to 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 all that is 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 take a look into each one of these to make a case for the custom training that your organization can’t do without.
Increase Efficiency And Productivity
A big part of IT is to increase efficiency and productivity in the workplace. Custom software training helps make that goal come true. You can’t have employees become more efficient and productive magically, they have to know how.
Customizing training with processes and procedures will ensure the training will help employees become more efficient and productive. They will acquire the necessary skills to use IT systems in their job in the right way 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 being able to show employees how to do something while having them do it in a safe environment.
That means employees have the opportunity to be well-prepared and ready to go while doing things in the system they learned. A fake environment, but still 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
There’s nothing more engaging than a workplace that supports its employees and makes sure they’re prepared for changes they’re required to make. Employees are more likely to stick around if they feel cared for by their employer which means less employee turnover.
Training does exactly that. But not just any type of training, 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 job and do it well, they feel pretty happy. I know I do. Imagine if they have training that shows them exactly how they’ll need to perform their work in a new system.
It also helps that software training that’s customized to employee workflows can have them walk through the process in a realistic environment.
When we build custom system training, we don’t simply show them the process for their job. That’s not good enough and people won’t connect with it or remember it. We create engagement by having employees do the driving.
That’s right, they don’t get to sit back and be a passive observer of training. That only helps for short tasks in perhaps training videos which only work well for very specific and short software tutorials. Software training that is more in-depth needs engagement. That’s why we have employees do the process they’ll need to do for real.
We do this all while providing important context and information that helps employees know their jobs better.
The best part?
They don’t just know their job better. After taking a course, they will already have done their job for the first time using the new software they’re learning but in a safe environment. That first step has the magical effect of making a strong connection with the new software and a new way of doing work in it.
Because a single event doesn’t always help employees cement the connection in their long-term memory, we go a bit further. Performance support helps remind employees of the processes 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 to this but keep reading for more details.
Custom software training solutions are more effective in many ways including cost-effectiveness. Software training from the software vendor may be inexpensive or even free, but it doesn’t apply to your employee’s workflow. It only provides them with 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 apply it to their jobs. That’s because it’s 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 for their job. That will ultimately make them more effective at their job.
So, custom software training is more effective, much more effective. While it may cost more to have custom training built, it will pay itself back in spades if used by enough employees.
Of course, you wouldn’t invest $15,000 into custom software training for something used by 200 employees unless the value is there. 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 are performing their jobs at their highest performance, they’ll be doing their jobs more effectively for your organization.
For software that’s completely built for your organization from the ground up, custom training is required. But, for software from a vendor, you often have options. Hopefully, this has made the option to use custom software training one that you can’t refuse.
You can see how we were able to build a custom software training solution for off-the-shelf software from Oracle that saves the organization more than $20,000 every year. 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 the majority of employees to help the training fit their needs.
If multiple roles work in the software in different ways, 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 there’s a smaller group who 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 which is why our training design process always starts with meeting with you. We get to know 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. That included things like approval limitations, processes, etc.
- They then were able to walk through the exact process they would in the system with real products they’d see every day. That helped them learn the system exactly how they will use it on the job.
- After the order was made, they got to see the process of approvals to understand how it worked for their organization.
All of these steps helped them relate to the training more as well as 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 when they use the real system because they’ve been through the custom training themselves and essentially used the real system.
If you’ve done something once, you’re well on your way to learning to master 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 exactly what custom software training can reproduce.
There’s no better way to support your employees in their jobs and through changes than by providing good communication and training. The best training happens when it’s oriented to workplace tasks and your employee’s workflow.
We help organizations by creating custom software training that’s tailored to their employee’s workflow. That helps make company technology easier for them to use, more effective, and helps employees be more productive in their job.
With custom software training that’s built for how your employees use software, you’ll see several benefits. Those benefits include increased efficiency and productivity, and improved engagement and retention, all while making your 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 work with you to create a fantastic custom software training solution that will blow your employees away and help them prepare. But, we can help 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