The digital workplace as a term might be old news, or a strange concept from 2016 for some people, but others still don’t get it… Either way, more and more companies are choosing to go digital, some out of necessity. However skilled the project leader is or how perfect the brand-spanking new intranet is, the end-users are the focus group that must have significant investment if a digital change is to be successful. That is how you reach end-user success.
I want to address some of the common questions and attitudes that arise when considering how to roll out a training program for the digital processes you will be asking of your employees
Why the end-user?
End users want context and direction for their role. If they aren’t accustomed to the digital workplace, online courses have the potential to confuse them.
Some end users need some one on one time to be shown through a new system, patience is needed. Some need to be sat in a room with other colleagues to ‘play’ with these new digital tools and some need to be shown the tools in the situation that they are being asked to use the tools. But it is proven that all learners need time to use the tools in their work situations and move forward together. Just paying for a series of online courses is not and will never be enough if they are not adapted to the context.
“Why should I care?”
An inconvenient truth for those trying to implement a change… Some end users just don’t care. As long as they can do their job and go home, they are happy. This attitude also says, ‘it was fine the way it was, why can’t I just keep doing it that way…’ These people will care if they see a potential improvement to their own roles and their own work-day. I like to show the improvement a change will make to get people on board.
At the end of the day the whole reason many companies are changing is to keep up and be more effective with new tools that are cost saving in the long run. You need your users to be on board, or they’ll be left behind…
So what’s the solution? I believe it is to create a culture of change in your organisation and get everyone one on board over a longer period.
“So what does this mean?”
Sending people on an online course to learn some functionality will only take them some of the way. When they return, you still need to help them contextualise their new skills into their tasks.
With a training package, all your employees have a better understanding of the tools in front of them and get to explore them together in the same room, and you as the project leader get to decide how you use the tools and what they need to know. In past experience, a course leader can help a project leader overcome obstacles. This can and should be consider before rolling out your training.
“I don’t get it”
This needs to be included in this new culture. Allow end users to say ‘I don’t get it’. Allow the space for stupid questions and have someone they can go to get some one on one help. When your employees know they can say, ‘I don’t get it’, and can receive help without being judged, they are more likely to embrace the change.
If you hear someone say “I don’t get it”, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t finding that end-user success, but you are starting to learn more about where the users are at, and how you need to reach out to them.
Only recently I sat with an course participant who was having trouble with OneNote notebooks. As I was trying to explain, they kept saying “I don’t get it, I don’t get it.” I gave her a little patience and she came away with some understanding.
Stupid questions don’t exist and should never get stupid answers. Just more helpful guidance.
“But how do we use it?”
One of the great things about Microsofts offering is that there are so many tools. However you can’t just ask someone who isn’t a carpenter to go into a shed with every tool ever invented and ask them to build a chair. Yes they have the tools, and they may even have seen a chair before, but without some direction to the right tools they should use for that task, you will be wasting valuable time.
A well sought out project aimed at specific training goals will allow you to be effective in your training process. You may skip over features, but they will either discover them via the foundation you give them, or not need them anyway.
I worked on a project last year where we spent time teaching different ways to the same task, when the most common question I was getting back from the participants was ‘Thats great, but how should we use it’.
End-users don’t just need to know the function of the new tool, but they also want guidance for the right way. Collaboration and productivity, the purpose of these tools, is successful when everyone decides to use them in the same way.
To reach end-user success:
- Any digital literacy or training program must have the end user as the focus.
- Have patience with the end-user. They are not stupid. “I don’t get it” is not about stupidity. You are asking then to change how they have always done their job.
- Give context to any new tools or processes.
- Decided how you want to use the tools early on.
- Build a training portal where end users can find information and ask those stupid questions. Here you can also communicate any changes as the tools are developed.
- Be on top of any changes, and plan how it will change how people work. You don’t want to have to start from scratch with the end-user training. Microsoft are very public about their roadmap.
This is where we come in…
Last month we released our 2019 training catalogue, specifying individual courses that we offer. This is also here on our website. As I have put time in developing our courses I would like to spend a moment explaining how our offering works.
We also offer a training partner package where we partner with the customer to bring an extensive program, or as our partner Wizdom describes it, digital literacy. The package is adaptable to how you want to work but includes any of; project manager and course leader, investigation workshops, courses adapted to your need and use of the tool, a training portal built on the customers intranet, an evaluation with user stats and advice on how to move forward. We of course have the means to deliver the courses on site or online via a series of webinars.
In short, the advice that Wizdom, our intranet partner, gave in their blog post on digital literacy is a service that we can provide.
We can also offer an Office 365 user support package for after the training program to help follow up.
Please get in contact if you are interested or would like a demo of one of the courses. You can contact me direct (yes, I speak Swedish) but you can also leave your details in this form and I can contact you.