Date: May 13, 2016 | Topic: 4 Steps to Educating Your Team
In these times of rapid technology advancement, it is important to keep your team and end-users educated in order to increase profitability and decrease productivity loss. Whether it is training on avoiding phishing emails or education on your current hardware/software – it is important that it happens! Today, our senior management team is sharing 4 steps to keeping your team educated.
1. Keep your team caught up with the speed of change.
Mike Estep | President: The decision to use the tag line “The IT Brain Power Company” was very intentional! We have always focused on employing the very best and continually focused on improving our education and certification as a team. What I didn’t understand at the time was that an already fast paced IT environment was going to begin to move at a completely different pace – 3 to 4 times faster than ever before. Office 365, Azure, Windows 10, and many other applications are changing the face of how we educate our team.
BECA has committed 2016 to the year of developing a new education paradigm for our team. We have partnered with some of the very best training companies to build a system that allows our team to be constantly training. Our goals haven’t changed. We continue to employ the smartest and very best, but our methods have evolved to handle the pace of change. Training is now happening every week and every month as revisions of software evolve and change. For Microsoft Azure, there were over 500 versions in a 12-month period. You can’t just count on “on the job training” to stay caught up!
2. Provide an education path for end-users.
Branden Smith | Vice President: “How do I do this in Word?”… “What is a URL?”… “I need to create a Pivot table in excel!”. These are everyday questions your end users might ask, and without an employee education plan they can cause you major productivity loss! Computers and software have been in our business lives for several decades now. Everyone is assumed to have basic computer skills, but the fact of the matter is that we all learn only what we need to complete our daily tasks… it’s human nature.
If your team has to call their help desk every time they have a how-to question, it creates a disruption to the workflow. Investing in training for the software your business functions on is time and money well spent. At BECA, we use and recommend Clip Training. It is web based training for Windows and Office (plus many other software packages that you use every day) that is delivered in easy to follow 5-10 minute video clips. Most of us don’t have the time to sit and watch hours of training, but carving out 5-10 minutes per day is easy!
3. Train your users on new products.
Sean Barron | Chief Technology Architect: The pace of change in IT is accelerating. It’s important as an IT Professional to constantly be in a mode of learning and keeping up-to-date with new technology so you can deploy the right solutions, not just the ones you are familiar with. As I look back in my career to just the last decade, there is a tremendous amount of knowledge and skills that are no longer useful in today’s IT environment. The cloud makes bringing new technology solutions to market easier, and this has quickened the pace of change. Personally, this is what makes Information Technology an exciting industry to be in, but it also makes keeping your knowledge and skill level up-to-date a challenge. On a personal level, it’s important to schedule regular time to train and learn new things. Set monthly goals to learn a new technology or skills. We all have really busy schedules between work and family, and I find that by scheduling the time for training, I am more likely to follow through.
With new technologies such as Office 365 and Microsoft Azure, it also important to keep up-to-date with all the feature additions and changes in these platforms. Take for instance Azure. Although it is a fairly new platform, it has gone through a tremendous amount of change. Just recently, Microsoft rolled out into production the new Portal and the new Azure Resource Manager deployment model. So I went from one Azure project (creating a VM infrastructure in what is now known as the Classic Portal) to the next Azure project (having to use the new Portal and the Azure Resource Manager model). I knew exactly what I wanted to do on the project, but had to learn some new ways of getting them done. By the way, I love the new Azure portal and Resource Manager deployment model!
The pace of change in IT is only going to continue to increase. It’s up to us as IT Professionals to have a plan in place to continue to learn and adapt to better serve our clients.
4. Educate your sales team to understand new technologies.
Robert Rivers | Account Development Director: On the sales side of BECA, our team must continue to stay on top of technology changes and additions along with the direction of the manufacturers. Since this is so important, we have scheduled training twice a month on Monday evenings. This training allows us to have group learning and discussions on a regular basis. Some of this training time is spent accomplishing the required training from our manufactures so we can have their elite dealer status. The rest is understanding the movements and advancements in what we recommend to our customers. We feel that this training time is very important in being a true VALUE to our customers. It is validated when they tell us that what we are explaining now makes sense to them and they can now see the business VALUE.