The Importance of Training in Technology


Technology moves quickly. And so do ways to collaborate and communicate.

Ten years ago the iPad didn’t exist, Google maps on a smartphone was brand new, and Casey Neistat hadn’t even uploaded his first video to YouTube.

Last year your old desk phone could make calls, put people on hold, transfer a call, and maybe conference others in. But this morning you received a brand new Cisco phone and it is connected to your computer. Now your voicemail goes to into your email, you can answer a call from your phone or your computer, and your phone can make and receive video calls.

Cisco video phones used to improve communications with co-workers and others.

Feeling overwhelmed by your new desk phone, you head into a quiet conference room. The whiteboard is new and now digital, and displays “Good Morning, Karen”, when you enter. The lights come up to a nice easy level, and a camera on the wall begins to follow you. All of a sudden you hear your boss’s voice and the giant screen on the other wall wakes up and there is your boss’s face, smiling at you. “I see you found the new conference room.  How do you like it?”  

You think to yourself, “Like it? I am not sure what all this is!”

Fear of change can cause slow adoption (or in some cases, no adoption). And this Jetsons’ conference room is a change!

Today, technology can help us communicate faster, collaborate with people around the world, cut back on labor costs, and keep us closer to our families during the workday.  But people need to USE the technology before we can reap the benefits.

Whenever new technology is introduced, you could lose money in the beginning.

You lose money because, as with anything new, you have a learning curve for you and your teams.  Imagine an organization replacing their phone system after 25 years with a new Cisco Unified Communications Systems and New Cisco 8865 endpoints. 8865 IP Phones are the latest in communications, with an HD video camera, Bluetooth, and Cisco Intelligent Proximity. How long will it take for everyone in the office to learn the new phones and use it efficiently?  Days? Weeks? Maybe even months?

Training can help your team learn the new technology in a few hours, saving you time and money.

Have a plan for your training. What will be included? Will it be live hands-on training (kinesthetic), presentation style, or a lecture? Will you offer follow up individual training? Will there be mentors to support the changes? Once you have decided how you’re going to train your teams, you need champions to help support your initiative and goals.

Champions are typically the early adopters. These are the people in the company that love new technology and embrace it quickly. Make sure they are provided the technology first and receive the training before rolling it out to the rest of the team.  Then these Champions can help you promote the new technology, help socialize the benefits, encourage training and usage.

Training approach matters.

When the training begins, it needs to be engaging. Consider that each person will have different levels of knowledge and interest. Also, everyone will learn in their own way. Some people are visual learners. These people like to see someone show them how to do something. Others will be Kinesthetic learners that prefer to be hands-on; they want to try it for themselves;  auditory learners just need to hear the training, can listen to recordings of the live training.  Finally, you need to make sure you have a room or rooms to host your training sessions.

The training environment is just as important as what is being taught and how it is being taught. The room you use should have everything your team will need for proper training.  It should be free from distractions and away from the chaos of the office. It should also have all the equipment that will be needed for the training. For example, if you are teaching your teams how to use their new phones, have enough phones for everyone to use and ensure they work. The equipment should be able to perform the tasks that your people will have to use in their roles. Once the training is complete, don’t forget the follow up training, reminders and reference materials. And acknowledgement and praise is always appreciated.

Champions are champions!

The Champions mentioned before will help support the training your staff just received. They should be the individuals that encourage usage, and evangelize the benefits of the technology. They can also be a resource when someone has a question, to help troubleshoot issues or just to provide reassurance. Have a website, intranet site or shared asset repository that can host the recorded live training sessions, so that the teams can review them any time after the training classes. Remember to be patient. A new system can take time and will need patience from everyone to be successful.  Most importantly, know that you don’t have to do this alone.

Training offers support, increased ramp up time and reduced cost to you and your company when rolling out new technology.  You can also partner with the company providing the technology to see what collaboration tools they have available to you.  It is worth the extra money to have experts provide training so you can focus on the business, while ensuring your teams can ramp up quickly, and your organization benefits from your new technology as fast as possible.  Remember to have support in place with Champions, a proper training environment, and know the types of learning options you can deliver. The company providing the technology can be a great resource for expert training and knowledge of your new products or systems.

Training is essential to everything we do. Learning how to do the job well and efficiently can save a company time and money. Give your staff the right environment and support to learn new technology, partner with a company to provide expert level training, and hopefully your next roll-out of a new system will be fun and fast!