During a business review I recently completed, one of the areas identified was the need for additional training to take full advantage of the features of their meter reading software.
This wasn’t an office with staff turnover, rather just the need for additional training to take advantage of more features of the software. However, the need for additional training reminded me of an analogy I used back when I was doing software demos. My example was a funnel, as shown above, which I call The Funnel Effect.
The Funnel Effect
Imagine a funnel which gets narrower as it nears the bottom. If you will, think of the full width of the top of the funnel as the complete knowledge of a software application. Part way down the funnel, as it begins to narrow, represents the knowledge level of the initially trained employee. This knowledge is a considerably less than the full knowledge of the application.
It should come as no surprise that, no matter how gifted the trainer or how astute the trainee, the trainee won’t initially retain everything the trainer knows about the software. Due to time constraints and the focus on the day-to-day activities of a business office, many areas of the software are only briefly touched on, if at all, during the initial training.
Now imagine, a few years later, due to staff turnover or promotions, the initially trained employee must pass their knowledge on to a new hire. The knowledge gap from trainer to trainee will manifest itself again, leaving the new hire with even less knowledge of the software than the originally trained employee. Imagine this process repeating itself a few times and how much does your staff really know about the application?
What is the solution?
Actually, there are two potential solutions, depending on your situation. If you are, or soon will be, in the process of purchasing new software, negotiate additional follow-up training to take place six months to a year after the initial training. This will allow your staff adequate time to master the day-to-day tasks with the new software and they will be ready to learn more of the additional features of the software.
If you’ve had your software for a while, especially if your current staff is a few transitions removed from the initial training, schedule some refresher training with your software vendor.
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© 2023 Gary Sanders