Unified communications can benefit your business operations and move you closer to achieving your goals – which is why so many organizations are investing in better communication and collaboration tools. But without adequate training, your new unified communications tools can turn from a solution to a problem. If you’re thinking about implementing a UC platform in your business, how do you make sure that your employees get the most out of it? The answer is a focus on training.
Here are five things you can do to get your employees up to speed on new communication technology:
1. Get employee input
If you really want your employees to utilize new UC tools to their fullest extent, you’ll need to start before you even begin shopping. In one survey, 77% of employees reported that they weren’t consulted about UC tools before implementation, and 58% weren’t even consulted about the usefulness of the new tools after implementation. But when new communication technology affects the day-to-day lives of everyone in the organization, how do you know if you’re achieving your goals for implementation if you don’t ask?
Depending on the industry that you’re in, your employees may hate making calls, or don’t even know how to send a fax. If people aren’t going to use it, is it worth the investment to implement that tool in the first place? By talking to your employees before and after you implement your UC platform and tools, you can get people on board from the start and your investment will be that much more valuable.
2. Make training interesting
For many businesspeople, training means slide decks. Not unrelated, for many employees, training means boredom. Making sure that employees are excited and knowledgeable about new tools is the best way to get people to use them, and therefore give you the best return on your investment. Naturally, it follows that you should make training as useful, informative, and interesting as possible.
Keep in mind that people learn differently. Getting entire departments – or even the whole organization – in the same room to learn about a newly implemented UC tool may be the most cost effective approach to training, but it’s likely not the best one to get people engaged. Depending on the people in your organization, you may want to use videos, online resources, demonstrations, one-on-ones, or any number of other training strategies that work for you and your employees. While this takes time and money, it can greatly increase adoption and widespread use of time-saving collaboration tools, allowing you to reach your goals faster.
3. Don’t overwhelm people
There are so many tools that can be integrated into a UC platform, from VoIP to instant messaging to video conferencing, and it can be tempting to get as many up and running as you can. But while the promise of convenient, technology-enabled collaboration may be exciting to you, everyone else in your organization is probably pretty settled in their current methods, and change doesn’t occur overnight.
If you’ve gathered input from your employees before implementing tools, you’re already one step ahead and have been able to choose only those tools that people really need. Even so, you may want to start training employees on one or two tools at a time to avoid overwhelming them with choices and information. It’s true that our workforce is getting younger, but younger doesn’t necessarily mean more comfortable with technology, and even the least tech-savvy employee should be able to use your UC platform for best results.
4. Leverage fast learners
That being said, there are plenty of people in every industry who live and breathe technology, and who may be able to pick up on tools with little or no training at all. These people are valuable assets in promoting widespread adoption of new communication solutions because they can help train coworkers who aren’t as quick to understand, troubleshoot issues, and provide valuable insight into the usefulness of the tools.
Be careful, though. Not everyone likes being the tech-savvy one in their department or team, and you don’t want to tell everyone to talk to them if they’d rather not fill that role. You may want to incentivize assistance with implementation by offering a bonus or special recognition.
5. Follow up after training
However long your training program is, be it a day or a month, you’ll always want to follow up with your employees to see how the new tools are working out. Ask what works for them and what doesn’t, if they have any gaps in their knowledge, and what communication needs may still be unmet. You may identify new solutions that need to be implemented, and you’ll already have the data from the previous tool to support your investment.
While a great unified communications platform can help your employees save time and work better, they need to know how to use it first. With a great training program and attention to their needs, you can implement new communications tools knowing that you’ll see a fast return on your investment.