Monday, August 16, 2010

Train people only when needed

It went like this:
- Sorry, I’m late for the meeting. There were a lot of cars on the streets today.
- Wait, do you drive here?
- Yes, of course. It takes me only 45 minutes most of the times
- You don’t live in 1234 Grand Avenue anymore?
- I still live there. Why?
- Well, have you thought about taking public transportation instead? When I lived close to your home I preferred that, it was a consistent 20 minutes commute, and way cheaper than driving and parking
- I do not know the public transportation system, but do know that schedules change a couple of times a year, so I prefer to drive
- Well… you can learn it pretty quickly and save time and money
- Look, if my car breaks or there is a definitely good reason to study such mode of transportation I will learn it and use it
- Saving time and money is not a good reason?
- I’m comfortable driving my car, alright? If a new law or the company requests I use any other means of transportation then I’ll research it; that time has not come yet, right? By now I’m fine this way
- Well… let’s focus on business then…

And so it is with our computer systems. Some people have shortcuts on their Desktop to get to what they need to open to be able to work. If the shortcuts disappear for any reason they do not know how to get from point A to point B anymore. Some others have a step-by-step document they follow on those tasks that are not a daily routine and forget easily. So, a device, and address or a name changes and the instructions or shortcuts have to be recreated for those users.

Training anyone? When I touch on the subject to decision makers -incredibly- most of them speculate that those employees that get the training will go to the competition. Others do not see the business value of having more IT-literate staff because; well… they already count on those instructions and shortcuts on their Desktops.

I do not know how much productivity is lost by people doing things the way they are used to, instead of knowing and applying different methods to get to their destination. However, I’m sure businesses would save lots of money (and most importantly, time) if personnel simply knew other ways to do such tasks. No need most of the times to pursue certifications or diplomas or titles; a very basic and/or introductory course can take care of most company’s wants.

Any way I see it, I prefer the 20 Vs. 45 minutes ride.

We could argue that “…that time has not come yet…” or anything similar. I might be totally wrong under your company parameters, but independently of field and size, somehow I strongly believe that time is here now.

What's worse than training your workers and losing them? Not training them and keeping them.
-Zig Ziglar

1 comment:

  1. Good point, there, training on the basics will keep people happier in their jobs, more productive and if they're happy in their jobs then they're also less likely to move to the competition. Access to training shouldn't be jealously guarded and dribbled out as sparingly as possible.