In a fast-paced world far-far away technology is changing every day. Nope, not very far away at all. If you’ve ever spent a day at a company then you know technology is changing every day and you have a lot to learn to get up to speed.
Cutting-edge technology being adopted by companies typically means increased productivity and effectiveness. At least it seems that way since there’s always new technology being adopted. Either something’s working or someone in IT is very persuasive.
That’s where technical enablement comes in. It’s the process of providing employees with the necessary tools and knowledge to use technology efficiently. Essentially enabling people with technology. We wrote a post about technical enablement if you want to learn a bit more.
One essential part of enabling employees to do their job better with technology is training. It helps ensure employees can do their job with standard company systems as well as anything custom. It may not be the applications that are custom, either. It could just be that the processes within the company are custom in which case employees still need to learn that.
Training is often seen as a one-time event, yet its importance should not be underestimated. Only companies that provide sufficient professional development opportunities for employees will reap the benefits of technology launched to help the business perform better.
The importance of training for technical enablement is even more evident when it comes to larger companies. They have multiple departments and teams working together and without proper training, employees across departments might not be able to work together cohesively.
Training also helps to ensure that employees are aware of the technical capabilities of their company’s systems, and how they can use them to maximum effect. I can’t count how many times I see missed opportunities for improved communications and efficiency because employees aren’t trained properly.
Training plays an integral role in technical enablement, which is why it’s so important for companies to invest in it. In this post, we’ll dive deeper into the role of training in technical enablement. You’ll also get some practical tips on how to make sure you’re getting the most out of your training program.
Let’s get started and explore the crucial role of training in technical enablement.
Understanding Training’s Connection To Technical Enablement
Just like training is a critical part of sales enablement, it’s also essential for technical enablement. How else are employees supposed to know how to use the tools that IT delivers? It provides employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively use technology in their roles.
No matter if you’re dealing with nurses, social workers, salespeople, customer service representatives, or any other role the need to use technology is inevitable. By investing in training, companies ensure employees are equipped to handle the latest developments in the field and maximize the potential of their technology capabilities.
Employees can’t gain their full potential without training. Not everybody is in IT and it doesn’t matter what age group you’re dealing with, people need training for most workplace technology. If companies want to achieve value in their tech investment, employees need the tools, resources, and knowledge to excel with the tech.
Training in technical enablement means no employee is left behind because they can’t figure out the technology. It also means no employee is left feeling lost and unsupported by their employer. With better training, the organization will likely have less turnover.
Assessing Training Requirements
Before implementing any training program for technical enablement, it’s essential to assess the specific requirements of your organization. Every company has business goals that the leaders outline. That’s what steers the ship or keeps it steered toward profitability and growth.
So, every assessment should focus on identifying employee skill gaps with technology and filling them when it helps lead to meeting business goals. There’s always a way to connect necessary training with business goals. If it’s not possible then the question should be whether training or even the technology is needed.
A thorough assessment should consider factors such as:
- Business goals or even IT goals that are connected to business goals.
- The current skill levels of employees.
- The technology tools and systems currently used within the organization and what is changing.
- The specific roles and responsibilities of employees and how that ties into the technology they’re expected to know and use.
By conducting a comprehensive analysis you can tailor corporate technical training programs to address the specific needs of your organization to achieve better technical enablement. This ensures that the training provided is relevant, impactful, and aligned with the business strategy.
Tactics For Implementing Technical Enablement Training
Implementing effective technical enablement training that provides value requires careful planning and execution. Here are some strategies to consider:
Identify Key Training Objectives
Determine what you want to achieve through each training program. Not everyone needs to be made an expert on every technology in the organization. Often it’s not even necessary to make people an expert in the software they use for their job.
It’s all about finding the right objectives and goals so it’s just what’s necessary but not too much. This will also help you determine the right type of training. It might not be necessary to provide a full-blown eLearning course but rather quite sufficient to provide performance support that’s available if employees need it but doesn’t waste their time if they don’t.
Are you aiming to improve overall employee proficiency or enhance specific technical skills? Clearly defining your objectives will help guide the development and delivery of your training initiatives.
Figure Out What Needs Developing
If you did a proper needs analysis and know your key training objectives then it should be easier to know what needs to be developed. Not all employees will need the same resources and not every project needs comprehensive training.
The goal isn’t to provide full coverage just in case somebody wants to learn it all. The goal of training is to provide only what’s necessary and when it’s necessary. That’s where a user guide may be a complete waste of time but rather performance support or a short self-paced course is a better option.
It’s essential to always identify the specific technical skills and knowledge that need to be developed and pair those with the goals of the project. That’s when you can choose the appropriate training method.
Develop Engaging/Relevant Training Content
Engaging content to us means content that is relevant and useful to employees. If it’s not relevant and useful then it will be boring and useless to all employees no matter how exciting you try to make it.
It’s like putting lipstick on a pig. Adding interactions, quizzes, and other fun activities won’t make irrelevant and useless training more engaging to employees.
Connecting real-life examples and scenarios while giving realistic practice is always helpful. People engage with real experience rather than content that’s removed from reality or just theoretical. The more relatable you can make the content, the more engaging it will be.
If relevant to the goal then it could also be engaging to incorporate interactive elements such as quizzes or activities to promote active learning.
Provide Ongoing Support
One of our favorite things to do for any course our performance support we develop is to provide additional methods of support should the resource not answer all questions. It could be a person to reach out to, an email address, or a phone number.
Every training intervention should end with a way to get additional support or ask specific questions. Training shouldn’t end once the initial sessions are completed.
There’s also the option of offering ongoing support through resources like knowledge bases, online forums, mentorship programs, or simply providing a hashtag that can be used on the company’s social media network such as Viva Engage. Social learning is an important way for employees to learn things that might not be in the official training and pick up tips from other employees.
Every training strategy should encourage continuous learning by providing access to additional training materials or opportunities for professional development.
Foster a Learning Culture
No matter what you’re developing training for, fostering an ongoing learning culture is the job of every L&D professional. Providing ongoing support and the means to find answers or ask questions is a great start to fostering a learning culture.
The more you enable employees to support their development the better off your organization will be. L&D should be seamlessly paired with many resources and the encouragement for employees to seek these resources out.
A great learning culture can also be encouraged with the company’s social media network. That’s a good way to encourage employees to seek out learning opportunities and share knowledge with their peers.
Another great option is to recognize and reward individuals who actively engage in training and demonstrate a commitment to professional growth.
Measure Training Effectiveness
Just like all training as well as all technical enablement, measuring the effectiveness of both is essential. If you don’t measure it then does it really happen?
The only challenge with this one is a new launch for training. You can measure employee improvement from old to new but it’s difficult to know if the technology or training helped make the improvement. The best you can sometimes do is assume that both contributed to employees improving their performance.
Early in a project, it’s necessary to define key performance indicators (KPIs). Once defined it’s easier to evaluate the impact of your training initiatives by measuring the KPIs. This could include metrics such as employee proficiency levels, productivity improvements, or customer satisfaction ratings.
Use this data to identify areas for improvement and refine future training programs or the measured program accordingly. If you have the opportunity to iterate to improve based on feedback then that’s great, do it.
Challenges of Technical Enablement Training
While technical enablement training offers numerous benefits, it also comes with its fair share of challenges. Some common obstacles include:
Finding time for training can be difficult, especially in fast-paced work environments where employees have multiple responsibilities. This challenge alone is one reason we’re a big proponent for eLearning rather than instructor-led training (we don’t even create any type of instructor-led training) which can be a huge time sink.
If the training folks weren’t brought into the project early enough, time constraints put on creating the training can be debilitating also. It’s essential to give sufficient time for the training department to create training.
It’s also essential to strike a balance between providing adequate training and ensuring minimal disruption to daily operations. Sometimes it’s not reasonable to ask employees to take an hour or more to step away into a training session that they can’t pause, step out of, or take care of important business.
Resistance to Change
This is why change management is essential to every organization in general and especially for technical enablement. Change management is essential to technical changes, training, and training is also essential to change management.
It’s a symbiotic relationship.
Some employees aren’t comfortable with change or flat-out resist it. It’s typically due to fear of the unknown or a preference for the familiar. Overcoming resistance requires effective change management strategies that address concerns and highlight the benefits of technical change.
Keeping Up with Technological Advancements
Technology evolves rapidly, and it can be challenging to keep training materials up-to-date. We’ve developed courses that for many reasons weren’t launched when they should have been. With rapid changes in technology, what do you think that meant? It meant that the training was outdated before it was even launched.
While we do everything to avoid this scenario, due to some corporate red tape occasionally it does happen. Technology moves fast and keeping training in line with changing tech can be a challenge.
Regularly review and update your training content to reflect the latest advancements and ensure that employees are equipped with the most relevant knowledge. It’s also necessary to rapidly develop training and keep up to date with development as things change during the process of training creation.
The Future of Training For Technical Enablement
Just like technology, training for technical enablement has a bright future. As long as innovations in IT don’t let up, neither will the training.
The future of technical enablement training looks promising as technology continues to advance at a rapid pace. Here are some trends that are likely to shape the future:
Training programs will become more personalized, catering to individual roles and requirements. Maybe some people in a role require training while others do not. It would be great to understand these requirements so not all employees are treated the same and have the same requirements.
Adaptive learning technologies will enable employees to learn at their own pace or to their own requirements. Training could then focus on areas where they need the most improvement.
Virtual Reality (VR) Training
VR technology will play a significant role in some types of technical enablement training. It will provide immersive and realistic learning experiences where you can see somebody performing certain tasks. We’ve seen some amazing examples of teaching people about mechanical processes using VR environments.
For high-stakes jobs, VR will save a lot of expenses as well as lives. Employees can practice using complex equipment in a safe virtual environment, enhancing their skills without real-world consequences.
Just try not to have too much fun with this one.
Continuous Learning Platforms
This one is already picking up pace in 2023 and will continue to gain steam. These learning platforms offer a wide range of training resources and opportunities for continuous development with resources from within the organization as well as without. The great thing is there can be fully curated learning paths for employees to achieve larger goals.
These platforms may include online courses, webinars, microlearning modules, and collaborative learning communities. It’s likely that they integrate with learning platforms such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy and provide a seamless learning experience.
These are likely known as learning experience platforms (LXP) which are a more advanced and complex platform than the traditional learning management platform (LMS).
Without training, there is no technical enablement. Training plays a crucial role in technical enablement by equipping employees with the skills and knowledge needed to leverage technology effectively and add the necessary value to the organization.
It bridges the gap between technology capabilities and employee proficiency, leading to improved individual performance and overall organizational success.
To ensure successful technical enablement training, companies should assess specific requirements, implement effective tactics and best practices, and address common challenges.
By investing in ongoing training initiatives and embracing emerging trends, organizations can stay ahead in the ever-evolving technological landscape. One of the best methods of delivering valuable training for technical enablement is through digital training solutions. That’s why we prefer to do the job in an effective way for a distributed and busy workforce.
If you’re looking to increase technical enablement in your organization, training is an essential piece of it. We’ll work with you to create the right strategy to help you meet your technical enablement goals with superior corporate IT training, just schedule a free consultation.