Posted on 16 Jun 04
In the past several years, I have consulted with over 100 agencies. In a vast majority of those agencies, the staff has complained about the need for additional computer software training. I have also found a majority of staff members have never been schooled in Windows or Microsoft Office.
Agencies that are on the Leading Edge of Agency Management realize that their automation must be maximized. More importantly, they realize the only way to truly maximize their automation system is to maximize their employees usage of the system. The only way to accomplish this is through an ongoing Automation Training Program.
I am sure none of our readers will disagree with the above statement. However, as the saying goes, “Its easier said than done!” Well, lets make it easy. First of all, I must assume your agency has formally named a Systems Manager. Someone must be totally in charge of, not only the day-to-day operations of your system, but also the maximization of it! This person must be given the authority and responsibility to train all, and I do mean all, agency employees. This can be done in conjunction with CD or on-line training done by the vendor.
The training program starts with an analysis of all of the functions and tasks your system can do. I suggest you go through every screen format and your users manual to develop a thorough list of all functions and tasks. These are then listed down the left hand column of a “Training Analysis” form.
Once all tasks and functions are listed, all employees names are added across the top of the form, thus you now have a “grid” with all of the various tasks and functions your system provides, and all the employees names listed.
The next step is to rate each employee in each task or function. You rate them numerically as follows:
1 - Thoroughly understands and has mastered the task
2 - Partially understands, needs additional training
3 - Applies to job function, but not currently using
4 - Not applicable to job function.
At this point, you have a grid with all employees rated in all functions and tasks. This graphic representation will point out obvious training needs within your organization. An easy way to create and update this grid is to create it on an automated spreadsheet such as Excel.
I suggest you start your training with the functions rated as a “2.” These are the areas your employees “partially understand,” which means they are attempting to perform the function, but dont thoroughly understand it. This equation equals errors! Eliminate these errors by training in these tasks first. The role of your Systems Manager is to create this analysis, identify the critical training needs, and set up specific training classes and times.
A key to making this ongoing training program work is that the Systems Manager must have the authority to schedule the class and demand attendance from the appropriate employees. Attendance at Automation Training Sessions must be considered “non-optional behavior” within your agency.
Automation training should be held at least every two weeks within the agency. This may seem like a lot, however, I cant imagine winning a batting title by only taking batting practice once or twice a year.
You have a tremendous investment of time, money, and energy in your automation. Make a commitment to maximizing it through the utilization of an Automation Training Needs Analysis and ongoing automation training within your agency.
Dont complain about your employees not using your automation system!.. . Do something about it today!.. . Take action!
Fries & Fries Consulting