Or are you wasting more time by not doing it?

Sure, it might be a little embarrassing for you or your employees to admit to a lack of knowledge or skills, especially when it comes to the basic office programs and technology you use every single day.

But here’s the kicker: You might not even realize what you don’t know— until someone shows you a better way.

You don’t know what you don’t know 

How many times have you smacked yourself on the head after learning a new time-saving trick and said, “Holy crap! I wish I’d known that years ago!” I’ll admit to more than my share of these moments. (This may have happened yesterday.)

Let’s face it. When you invest in training your people to better use the technology integral to their jobs, you will have happier, more skilled employees, and end up saving them significant amounts of time and frustration. 

And if time = money, it’s good for your bottom line as well.

Other perks of on the job skills training for employees include:

  • A culture that promotes continual education and professional development 
  • Improved employee confidence, morale and engagement
  • Removal of the stigma associated with asking for help

Sounds good, right? So what’s next?

Tap internal resources

Every company has one or more people who know the systems really well. Often, these are the go-to people when questions come up. 

One such woman I know begged her employer to let her host short, technical training sessions for the staff on a regular basis. We’re talking 10 minutes at a time, a couple of times a week. She was even brave enough to guarantee results and increased productivity

Management quickly dismissed the offer, declaring it wasn’t necessary. Unfortunately, that decision was made by people who weren’t stuck at their desks plugging away at complicated documents and spreadsheets day in and day out.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team knew this person was a tech whiz and often went to her on their own to learn various shortcuts, processes and fixes. So instead of this person giving the entire team 10 minutes twice a week, she ended up giving away countless hours to individual colleagues, 10 or 15 minutes at a time, on a regular basis. How’s that for a productivity loss?

Let’s go over that again. One of your most competent employees offered to provide useful skills in a streamlined way to everyone, and was turned down. Instead, she now spends significantly more time helping individuals one on one, while her own work sits.

Don't allow this to happen in your organization. If you have an internal star, invite them to share what they know. If not with everyone, then at least within their department. A quick 10 minutes at each team meeting could result in vastly increased efficiency and productivity.

Seek outside help

If you don’t have anyone qualified (or willing) to mentor others internally, seek help from outside experts. This is especially critical if you’re implementing a new technology or onboarding new employees.

  • Bring experts to your location to host on-site training sessions
  • Send staff to local community colleges for skills enhancement
  • Reimburse employees who are motivated to do this on their own
  • Take advantage of online training, classes and certification programs

If you’re investing in new technology, hire someone from that organization to come in and help get your team to get up to speed. Chances are, your new system is already expensive. What does your ROI look like if no one knows how to use it properly? 

Build staff training into the projected cost upfront. It’s money and time well spent.

Ain’t no shame

If you’re reading this article and recognize yourself as someone with some skills gaps, don’t worry! You’re in the vast majority. 

The only reason to feel bad is if you waste the opportunity to improve.

This is the second post in a two-part series of blogs about employee skills training. For more information on this topic, read What Your Employees Don't Know Can Hurt Them-- And You. Subscribe to this blog to receive new HR-related posts and updates each week.

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