Reasons Technology Training Fails
Many organizations successfully integrate new technology, but what happens when the training fails? According to Forbes, it has never been more important for a company to improve technology user adoption than it is today.
With US companies spending over $70 billion on training annually, it may be shocking to learn that almost 90% of newly learned skills are forgotten within one year - "Forgetting Curve". It may also be surprising to learn that budget is not the key factor determining the success, or failure of the training.
Poorly implemented technology training can have a negative impact on productivity, morale, and revenue. Awareness of the common reasons that training fails will enable your organization to avoid it happening to you and to ensure successful implementation of new technology by putting an effective user adoption plan in place.
Common Reasons Technology Training Fails:
Lack of Implementation Plan
Not having a clear training and follow-up strategy in place before implementation makes it much harder to catch up after the software training is rolled out. It is important to establish a clear learning outcome and learning goals prior to training for any new initiative. It is more time-consuming for users to learn new programs or systems without proper training, and it makes it harder for learning to occur. Lack of a clear training plan also makes it more challenging for management to guide and support the training initiatives.
Employee Resistance or Disinterest
Surveys show that the majority of change programs fail primarily due to employee resistance and lack of support from the leadership team. Getting employees invested in the training program is a key factor to ensure the success of the training. It's important for learners to know the ‘WIIFM’ – that is, What’s in it for me? This is a great way to ensure employees are excited and will be more open to adopting the new technology.
Companies often provide intensive day-long training programs or instruction spread over several consecutive days. Some of the information taught in this type of crash-course style training is quickly forgotten. People simply can’t process and absorb large quantities of information in such a short time span. Permanent learning happens over an extended period of time through repetitive action with consistent feedback. This can also be exacerbated by training that isn’t engaging, or if there isn’t enough time allocated for hands-on practice incorporated into the training.
Inadequate Follow-Up Training and Support
Employees will quickly forget what they are taught if they don’t practice the new skills shortly after training. Without a clear plan for staff to immediately apply the newly learned skills, the new information is often lost. Employees may also struggle to find support specific to their needs once the training is over. Involving the learner's direct manager to support and coach the training is crictical. Also, consider assigning some coaches, power users, or Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to be trained ahead of the group training. This means your team has a point of contact for questions and concerns.
Benefits of Technology User Adoption
Technology user adoption ensures employees can use digital tools such as software, programs, apps, or websites, to their full capacity. Both performance and productivity are negatively impacted by a lack of user adoption.
Improves ROI on new technology: User adoption ensures the technology purchased is used to its maximum potential. Successful company-wide adoption is the key to getting the largest ROI on the organization’s investment.
Makes employees more valuable: Employees become more productive when they have digital tools available to improve their performance. Increasing employee effectiveness and efficiency increases their overall value to the company.
Improves employee retention and morale: Access to proper technology and training makes it easier for the employee to perform their job and simplifies employee training and onboarding. Employees are also able to work with more creativity which increases job satisfaction and employee retention.
Increases customer satisfaction: Employees are able to serve customers quicker and easier, improving the customer experience and enhancing customer relations.
Higher Profitability: A more effective workforce and higher levels of customer satisfaction lead to an overall increase in profitability for the organization.
How to Implement Technology Training
When implementing new technology, it’s critical to have an implementation plan that focuses on increasing familiarity and usage of the new tools. Your company must have a technology user adoption strategy in place to greatly improve the retention of information and the effectiveness of the training.
Step 1: Conduct Training Needs Assessment
Conduct a thorough training needs assessment before creating a user adoption program. Determine the process needs, identify the people who require the training, and conduct a technology and content analysis to ensure the training is correctly focused.
Step 2: Design an End-User Focused Solution
Create a training strategy that focuses on end-users. Think too about role-specific training, instead of training everyone for everything. You can also focus the training on tasks that will be done 80% of the time. Make it engaging for the users to stir up their interest and motivation to participate in the training. Interaction and collaboration from colleagues make training much more likely to stick, so the company should encourage peer interaction as well.
Instructional video content is a good method for organizations to implement training for large groups of employees. Online video training platforms can also encourage micro-learning in short, memorable, easy to consume videos that are easy to review as needed. You can also take this opportunity to practice in a simulated environment, so learners can take a hands-on approach.
Step 3: Implement Training with Management and Organizational Support
Communication between the organization and management teams is critical for effective company-wide adoption. Management’s support and positive leadership will help to create a more effective implementation program. Build a corporate community around the change with positive promotions and examples of the training program. Implementing organizational guidelines ensures the training is consistent and structured, supports follow-up activities, and reinforces the learning.
Step 4: Provide Customized End-User Adoption Support
Personalized support increases the effectiveness of the training efforts. A well-organized training library, easy access to support resources, and follow-up activities will reinforce the training and deepen the new skills. Power users or champions can also be a valuable resource for learners' questions or concerns. Ongoing access to training helps users learn what they need to know when they are ready to apply it. This also helps employees who weren’t able to attend the training and for creating onboarding training systems for new employees.
Step 5: Conduct Regular Usage Analysis
Periodically evaluate the usage of the new technology to determine gaps in implementation or productivity. Create additional support or guidance to supplement as needed. This step ensures that employees maximize the capabilities of the new tools and technology.
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