Ever wonder how much time and productivity is wasted because people don’t really know how to use the programs they need to do their jobs?

These days, proficiency in basic office software is both expected and assumed. We’re told to leave this detail off our resumes because it’s a given. As a result, no focus or training is invested in educating staff on how to efficiently and effectively use those programs. This is a giant mistake.

When it comes to workplace technology, the majority of us are self-taught. In other words, most of your employees learned these programs out of necessity— and on their own. This system sounds pretty good until you consider that many people are probably only learning a.) basic functionality and b.) on a need-to-know basis. 

To make matters worse, the way you learn to do something the first time is likely the way you will continue to do it year after year, even if it takes you three extra steps.

True confessions

All right. I’ll admit it. I’m a classic example of this phenomenon. I’ve learned pretty much all of my technology skills on the job, based on whatever I was doing at the time. 

Over the years, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time alone at my desk, sweating it out, trying to figure out how to do certain things, only to find out later that I had creatively engineered some highly inefficient processes, and then continued to use them for way too long. 

The thing is, I know I’m not alone. I’ve watched fellow co-workers use equally cumbersome processes to do simple things. I’ve also witnessed plenty of people, leadership included, who literally do not know how to use basic technologies that are integral to the success of their positions and the organization. 

I even worked with one individual WHO TYPED EMAILS WITH THE CAPS LOCK ON to make life just a little bit easier. Capital letters are hard, y’all.

Passing the buck

Those in higher-level positions may have the luxury of passing certain tasks off to others in lieu of learning new technologies. Call it delegating if you like, but at some point, this evasion tactic will eventually become a point of contention for the team. 

As for the rest of us? Well, we don’t have a choice. We just get to figure the sh*t out. 

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone on your team wasn’t just competent with your database, CRM, and operating systems, but rockin’ them out? Imagine the time, energy and cash you could save! And that’s not even counting the reduction in migraines.

Bottom Line: I guarantee your productivity will go up once your staff really knows how to use their tools.

Why not do everyone a favor and make that possible?

This is the first post in a two-part series of blogs about employee skills training. For more information on this topic, read Is Basic Skills Training for Employees a Waste of Time?. Subscribe to this blog to receive new HR-related posts and updates each week.

Photo by Pavlo Syvak

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