Have you ever sat in a training class and been so bored you would rather go through electric shock treatment? Science Magazine confirms it.
In fact the class that I am thinking of was for a software package that my company (in a previous career a looong time ago) was considering to purchase. I had not had a demo on it, and it turns out that the class was for current users and they were discussing topics that had little relevance to me at the time. In fact they were going into expanded functionality of the software. I really was just trying to get an overview of the basic functionality.
Fortunately for me, every attendee was provided with a “goodie bag”. The bag included some general “office supply” type giveaways and a small canister of play-doh. By the end of the training class, I had managed to obtain the play-doh canisters of all the people around me and had entertained myself so that I didn’t fall asleep. I had absolutely no knowledge of the software that was useful to me, but I had a zoo of play-doh animals to show for my time.
Professional? No. Where did I go wrong in attending this training class (or being forced to)?
It was the first time that I was part of a software selection team. At that time, there was a lack of information regarding software selection, and we had not hired a consultant, or dare I say it, even created a “must haves” list. We had a COO that was driving the purchase and did not even work with the software that we were replacing on a daily basis. It was cringe-worthy for those of you who have been through software selection and purchase.
My second experience with software selection was in a small firm that was experiencing steady growth. By the time I came on board, the software had been selected and purchased. I was tasked with getting data into the new software, as well as setting up procedures. The training with this software was excellent, and unlike my first experience, the software was actually going to work well for the firm. Not having been in selection process with the firm, I can’t tell you if it was a good referral, pure dumb luck, or a well researched purchase.
I have talked previously about demos and using your data in the demo process and having a list of necessary functionality before you make a software purchase. What I haven’t discussed is training. I recently read an article about how training is basically the dumbest idea ever, and that if your employees don’t have basic computer skills then they should have never gotten past the resume screening.
I agree that if you are hiring, and you are in a business environment, then computer skills are a must. Most people can use a mouse. I will say this, training on new software is a time and money saver. Software, particularly ERP software, has become more user friendly than ever. It is not the basic everyday functions that we are necessary training employees for. Training should be focused and relevant for those in attendance. It should have “Ahhhh” moments, where the employees are introduced to functionality they didn’t have or know about before. Wasn’t that the point of new software? Expanded functionality.
You hire different people, with differing skill sets to fill different positions. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. I think it goes without saying that training for your IT professional on ERP software looks differently than that of your Warehouse Manager. This is just another aspect of the software selection process and implementation to consider, and your ERP vendor can provide insight on.
So, don’t have employees looking for play-doh because they are in hours of training that is not relevant to them, provide them with training that places emphasis on the aspects of the software that are meaningful to them.