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Four Key Characteristics Every Internal Training Program Needs

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Resistance to adoption is one of the biggest barriers organizations must overcome when adopting new recruitment or talent management technology. Let’s look at a couple of examples to understand why.

In the case of recruiters, operating under high stress is a daily occurrence. In the face of talent scarcity, candidates have more power and there’s pressure to attract new hires. Asking them to drop their familiar tools to make time to learn how to use a new solution is likely to cause pain and be seen as a hindrance to their ability to work effectively.

The same can be said for employees. When switching to a new performance management process, for example, if it’s not simple or intuitive and if employees can’t see the value it delivers to them, they are likely to feel discouraged and adoption will probably fall short of expectations.

Just like new hires need onboarding, companies need internal training when implementing new tech. If done right, they’ll be able to take advantage of the full force of that new solution. If not, they’ll never get to see its potential and will probably give up, which will negatively impact ROI.

And just as companies evaluate each detail of any talent technology they invest in, it’s also wise to analyze the training in the same way. Asking the right questions to assess the quality of the training, the flexibility it can provide for your company and the attention the specialists put into developing a program; it’s all just as important.

So what makes up an ideal internal training process?

Change Management and Communication

One of the first steps of a successful tech implementation strategy is change management. Speaking with the people and teams involved beforehand can ease everyone’s worries and calm nerves by explaining the benefits that the new technology will deliver and the training that will follow to help them get up to speed.

With teams used to doing everything a certain way, changing their processes can get a bit difficult. “Keeping it real”, as they say, will be greatly appreciated by everyone involved. Teams should be informed of pain points that may arise but also of the value this new change will bring to the table that will soon make it all worth it.

One of the ways our training team does this is by offering communication plans. These include templates that can be leveraged to inform the user community about upcoming changes, how they’ll benefit from it and how they’ll be prepared through training.

This way, effective communication can help:

  1. Show empathy. Acknowledging the disruption, thanking them for their patience and valuing their hard work can go a long way in easing friction.
  2. Let other teams know that there might be delays but that in the medium term, they’ll get those critical hires faster if this change is made now. This takes the pressure off the recruiter.
  3. Demo the game-changing functionality that’s going to change their day-to-day for the better. Seeing it live can help build excitement.

Open communication channels should continue to form a critical part of the training process once it begins. When building a training program that enables successful user adoption, keep in mind the need for a support model that includes resources, points of contact for any doubts, learning sessions post-deployment, etc.

Assigning internal POCs who can tackle any doubts and communicate with the vendor helps streamline efforts. You could think about creating a dedicated Slack channel or email alias where they can respond to questions in a timely manner. FORVIS is just one of the customers that have benefitted from this approach.

How did they do this? They built a robust support structure divided into three levels:

  1. Champions: Regional and team POCs. They’re the first line of support for users to report to. They play an active role in educating users through internal training and Q&A sessions. When they can’t solve something, they reach out to system admins.
  2. Admins: They provide standard admin support, which includes troubleshooting on advanced functionality. They also provide support to champions when needed.
  3. System admins: They keep in contact with Avature POCs and fulfill the role of decision-makers in charge of configuration change requests.

Another example is a well-known, global consulting firm. They created an alias for users to send questions to a dedicated group of Avature experts. This helped centralize queries in one place which in turn allowed the delivery of answers with unified criteria.

A unique value point to any vendor is the offering of a dedicated training specialist or specialists. They should specifically know your challenges, as well as your objectives, and should also be available to answer questions that may arise. In comparison to a ticket system where doubts are addressed anonymously and generically, training specialists are an invaluable asset to any internal training program.

Tailoring and Personalization

Every customer and company culture is different. So when it comes to talent acquisition and talent management technology, the best solutions in the market offer a high level of configurability so they can adapt to the unique needs and requirements of each organization.

The training that accompanies the technology should be the same, so it truly replicates your Avature platform, specific use cases and the problems you’re trying to solve. That’s why choosing a vendor that delivers tailored training is so important.

In the case of Avature, our training specialists become experts in your configuration and processes, studying, analyzing and testing it all so they can set up relevant training scenarios that reflect the real-life daily tasks faced by recruiters and other users.

But it’s not just about training the end user. Another element of a personalized program involves training the trainer, an approach whereby the vendor works to empower internal training teams to become system experts with confidence in their knowledge of the technology. A tailored approach that equips them to train future end users themselves down the line is cost-effective and grants organizations the flexibility and agility to continuously upskill their teams on the system.

This was an important objective for FORVIS, who requested an approach that would allow them to build an effective internal training team. Our team created a bespoke program based on the organization’s Avature configuration and business objectives that helped them to develop soft skills, practice training delivery, and make use of custom reference materials, teach-back sessions and Q&As.

Establishing learning objectives can give clear direction to your internal training program, increasing the probability that it will address users and their concerns effectively. And because each user group is different, you might also need to contemplate tailored training methods so everyone gets the most from this important stage.

With a tailored approach to training, reducing time to productivity is just one of the many valuable results. As stakeholders quickly turn into experienced users, comfortably navigating their way through the platform, the benefits of your investment in technology will speak for themselves.

By having a dedicated training resource, we allow for several feedback instances; not only at the end of the training program. This means that we keep communicating with the client and remain flexible to adjust as we go. We can modify the pace of the class or tweak the training approach if needed too; through polls to keep the audience engaged, rearrange the order of the agenda, have more Q&A time, etc.”

– Melina Gil, Training Director at Avature

Practice Makes Perfect

It’s not just about showing a team how something works; it’s about them being confident enough to navigate a new platform on their own once the training has ended. So here’s where the value of hands-on sessions comes in. Learning by doing encourages active engagement with available materials, helping to ingrain knowledge into the minds of your users. So make sure to choose a vendor that makes practice a priority.

For global organizations, the scheduling struggle is real! And the thought of coordinating hands-on sessions worldwide might seem like a headache. The good news, offline sessions available on-demand have proven as effective as in-person or face-to-face sessions. In fact, sometimes giving people some time and space to figure things out can better set them up for success. From this, teams can then develop training and resources that will help implement practices at their convenience.

When it comes to our solutions, the training team works to design custom exercises for user practice tailored to their own use cases. They also host breakout rooms during live training sessions and create polls and quizzes to foster interaction.

Continuous Learning

Successful training programs look to incorporate a specific timeline to get users familiar with the new technology but they also continue beyond that initial phase through different touchpoints.

Creating a Supportive Internal Network

Having and implementing your own touchpoints internally where everyone feels comfortable sharing their training challenges can be a valuable addition to the process. When it comes to our clients, for example, some of them host “Avature days”. During these, they work on pain points, share best practices and boost adoption in the process.

An internal support structure is always recommended. This can mean designating referents who not only know your processes but also act as in-house experts on the technology you’ve implemented, as was the case with FORVIS’ strategy.

A successful internal training program thrives thanks to customers’ input as well. Gathering feedback on how they feel the process is going and their relationship with the platform and the training program itself allows for an improvement in the overall process.

Tapping Into Extended Communities

Connecting through shared experience and understanding how other companies leverage the same technology for different processes and strategies can be a useful guide and a great source of inspiration.

The top technology providers out there are keen to connect you to their bustling user communities full of passionate souls with plenty of expertise and insights to share.

Through conferences, meet-ups and webinars, users can network with other customers and build their own extended support network. Providing different valuable resources that cover everything from industry reports to customer insights can also aid in the continuous learning process.

To Conclude…

Going through an extensive RFP process to find and choose the right technology can feel lengthy and laborious. With such an important task, you want to make sure the vendor you choose to go with ticks every box in terms of functionality, but they should also do the same when it comes to training.

Training shouldn’t be an afterthought for companies or vendors. If you’re investing in technology to change the lives of your workforce for the better, then ensuring vendors also invest time in training your employees is key.

From the creation of the training plan to its deployment, every step should be covered to ensure optimum user experience and maximize adoption. After all, if the technology is not being used, the initial challenges you set out to overcome can’t be solved and it certainly won’t deliver ROI.

At Avature, our team strives for every customer’s success, focusing on each particular need and building a training program alongside the organization. With such a level of dedication, anyone can be an expert.

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