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  • #2289336

    User Training issues


    by h1laria ·

    I’m sure everyone has run into this. I need some advise. I have a small group of users (65) that have been very used to doing things the “Old Way”. We have a new (ok, 3 years old)server, network and are getting a new ERP system that will replace a 25 year old gem. If something changes on the way people are to do things, I send out detailed emails and reference help files in the appropriate application. They don’t get read, are deleted or ignored. My boss thinks I need to hold training sessions each time I make a change to bring them up to speed. And then monthly on various application issues. Even when I have done this, it hasn’t been retained. I’m a one person IT dept, covering apps, hardware, software, licensing and networking for 65 users. I know it’s in my job description but isn’t that just a little too much hand holding when I can barely get things done now? Doesn’t the user have some responsibility for learning the tools to get their jobs done? Any help on how to get the information to stick? Signed, drowning in Puddletown.

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    • #2703335

      Definately Understaffed

      by black panther ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      We have 65 users on our ERP System, and 120 PC for Windows and are a 4 person IT department. ( One is a Manager ). We find that we are understaffed. One person looks after Windows, One Administers the Database for our ERP ( along with other systems ) and the other looks after the ERP Application and training for the users.

      I honestly cannot see how they expect one person to do all ( what if you are sick! ) You definately need another person to help especially to do the training!

      • #2711102

        re : Definately Understaffed

        by haas.gtz-suedafrika ·

        In reply to Definately Understaffed

        I too am one person IT debt.
        we have 350 users county wide, running SAP and all kinds of other oracle based programs.
        100 users have laptops, so you can imagine the logistical nightmare when it comes to security patches etc.
        needles to say, I am overworked, but there is never a dull moment. its all about time management, and lots of overtime, but yes, if i’m sick , the Sh!t hits the fan in a big way.
        when I approached the director to hire more people, his answer is always “no budget”.
        soon it will be “no IT staff” from my side, becuase i’m barely keeping head above water.
        Any IT directors reading this?…never save money on IT, NEVER!

      • #2711049

        Your boss is the problem not the users

        by ks_mcdonald ·

        In reply to Definately Understaffed

        Your boss is the problem not the users. They hold no one accountable for their action and until this is taken care of you will always have this issue.
        We need to title this to how to get rid (firer) your boss.

        • #2710983

          I agree….same here

          by maxedout ·

          In reply to Your boss is the problem not the users

          Hello, i agree! You have the responsibility to teach changes in all 5 aspects of learning. Once this has been accomplished…users will need to be held accountable for thier actions. If there is a change that has been missed, their manager should be informed and dealt with appropriately. This way you can weed out the ones who do it intentionally.

          Good Luck!! IT is today’s lifetimes…is always overworked.

        • #2710113

          Print it out…

          by chrisosara ·

          In reply to I agree….same here

          Definately your dept is under staff. Convince your boss of the need for at least an additional hand.

          You could for the time being, distribute printed copies of the skills the users needs to them as reference material. That way you can to a large extent make them feel responsible for their actions.

          All the best.


        • #2717838

          Education Resonsibility of End Users

          by fran.popp ·

          In reply to Print it out…

          It may be time to present an idea to your supervisor.

          1. Education Requirements of Staff.
          – This should be a required goal of each of the employees by the company
          – Training hours based on changes in the system (like 20-25 hours yearly)
          – Handouts that the users must sign off on that they have received and returned to you or HR for record purposes… so if they say they didn’t get it, the information can be referred back to in their HR files that they signed off on receipt. This will take care of the claim that they never got the information if they’ve signed off on it.
          – Keep a procedure book in place w/filing alphabetically by application or procedure issue or dept/procedure w/date of issuance, and sign offs
          – Have quarterly brown bag sessions or regularly scheduled, vs. full blown training on a constant basis. Then everyone knows there are changes that are implemented quarterly vs. constantly, which can be a large EU groan and ignore issue.

          Hope this helps.

        • #2716474

          Education Resonsibility of End Users

          by h1laria ·

          In reply to Education Resonsibility of End Users

          So far, I have distributed all of the training and network, application updates to the user via Outlook with read receipts. And filed each read receipt for each update. I have a checksheet now for orientation on the network at hire and have been lobbying to improve the computer skills of new hires. Unfortunately, some of the managers understand the least, so that is what the hiring standard is….
          But for now, I’m covering myself and what I’m training. As far as doing anything well, I find that I can only; do so much and some things are getting done marginally. As usually with IT, most people don’t understand the depth of the network or what time is really required and documenting every minute would be more than I have time for.
          Thanks for your feedback.

        • #2711651

          Distribute software/hardware upgrade plans to

          by worldbfree ·

          In reply to Your boss is the problem not the users

          user community. If the managers involved sign off on the plans, and there are “drop-dead dates”, i.e. hard and fast dates for cutover, then delete the old software and/or hardware as they fall off the back end after the DDD.

          Users who have not gotten up to speed with the documentation/training you have provided are out of luck.

    • #2702503

      Two totally different expertises

      by haileyan ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      I am on the same boat. It does not help that I hate training either. I am a technical person not a trainer. I beleive that both arenas are their own specialties and take years to master. How can we be expected to do both? How can we be expected to do both well?

      You can’t. I think you should express to them that training is it’s own expertise and you are not a trainer. You can do it if you must but you are not going to do it well enough for people to retain the information.

      See if you can find someone who trains at a reasonable rate. $50 – $75 an hour. Find someone friendly who does not mind the users asking questions via email from time to time.

      Maybe management won’t think it to unreasonable to have a professional come in.

      • #2711016

        I feel your pain…

        by sleek1 ·

        In reply to Two totally different expertises

        I too am a one man IT department, and I am new to my company (6 weeks or so). I support roughly 50 users, currently in a rudimentary workgroup environment, and I am scrambling to plan and convert into an AD structure while trying to manage the existing environment. I barely have time to formulate the step by step process of planning the conversion because I am so busy putting out little fires everywhere. It also falls to me to train our users on new software, the functionality of each, as well as inform them of the newly written (yes, me again) policies and standard practices kind of stuff.
        I’m not sure if your budgets would permit, but I had the idea last week of setting up a cheap little wireless hotspot in the conference room specifically for training purposes. This would allow for some “hands on” training for our users and would increase the likelihood of retaining the knowledge. Existing laptops could be used for the training scenario, provided they are new enough to contain a WiFi card. And yes, I know that the wireless cards should be disabled by default for obvious security reasons, but perhaps the 45 seconds needed to enable/disable each card would help the users see and understand WHY they should retain the knowledge we throw at them. Just a thought, hope it helps someone.

        Incidentally, anyone know of a good, free step by step outline for planning an Active Directory conversion? It would sure save me ALOT of time.
        Best of luck to you all….

        • #2710990

          Make Your Case – no one else will

          by kwoods ·

          In reply to I feel your pain…

          First, whenever I’m told, ‘No budget.’, I assume I haven’t made my case. I need to show whoever I’m asking that the present scenario is costing more money than my solution.

          Second, why aren’t the users reading your emails and adopting the changes? Have you asked them? Maybe they don’t understand what they are supposed to do and you are so busy that they don’t want to bother you. Training via email is difficult and you truely don’t have time to do much hands-on. I would make a list of my current work with estimated time to completion and an alternate schedule with training added and have a meeting with my boss. Don’t ask – tell him/her what will happen and follow the meeting with an email detailing your conversation. Things may not change, but you won’t be the scapegoat.

          Third, often a boss needs a scapegoat and will be as resistent to your changed ways as your users are to your emails. So, learn as much as you can and dust off your resume. Good Luck!

      • #2711933

        Look in-house

        by ·

        In reply to Two totally different expertises

        I am in the same boat. Several users and a small change and life is over. I have turned to asking certian users to train other users. I arranged time for them to go over the material and let them run the classes. The user looks forward to a change and they get to add training to their resume. Has worked for me.
        Hope this helps.

      • #2711668

        Parallel Lives

        by ljohnson ·

        In reply to Two totally different expertises

        This is my life – only we have 100 users and 3 satellite offices! I asked for training, begged. The thing is with my group they are so busy they don’t retain things that they do not use on a day to day basis. I am totally stressed out, and it is managements accountability that is missing. In our office it is “do nothing” decision making. There are some people here that adapt but is is not the norm, I have had people literally crying that they cannot take one more change – I say “well find something that suits your learning style, how about a dishwashing job?” Okay, I never said that, but I did think it!

    • #2702434

      Same Problem – With Solution

      by bratt ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      What type of applications are we talking about?
      The company I work for now only has 35 users and one admin but because of all the training and implementations that the company has undergone they hired me to help lighten the load two years ago and I am still here. My suggestion would be to go to your local College and see if you can’t recruit an instructor to teach these users. The instructor is use to different people some of which are difficult to teach. This is where I would start. I would also ask for some part time IT help. It’s been invaluable to my admin with me being here picking up the slack. Hope this helps.

      • #2702384

        Thank you for your suggestions.

        by h1laria ·

        In reply to Same Problem – With Solution

        Our current ERP system is a home grown but very comprehensive ERP system written in business basic and 25+ years old. We are upgrading this year since that programmer is retired and not available.
        Yes, I believe I am understaffed. We do have a Network group we contract with that comes in once a month to verify that we are running well and help with major issues but it’s still my user group and daily task list.
        Some very good suggestions inthe post replys! Thanks I’ll see about how to use those.

        • #2711063

          Be patient

          by mauri_1848 ·

          In reply to Thank you for your suggestions.


          I am in the same problem, just me against 80 users.

          The main advice I can give you is “don’t lose your patient”. It is too easy get crazy with all those users asking for you and all those services waiting for be administer.

    • #2702978

      Training is a fabulous opportunity.

      by dc_guy ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      It helps insulate you from the vagaries of the technology market. It might be worth your time and trouble to adjust your attitude and look upon this as an opportunity. How would you like to be one of those people everyone is telling you to bring in, who earns $75 to $100 per hour?

      Not to mention that the skills you learn and practice in order to become a good trainer are extremely useful in many other jobs. Marketing, management, user support, starting your own business. You might even decide to have children some day. A patient person who can spot the listener’s weaknesses and work around them, while being persuasive, non-judgmental, a bit humorous, and finding a way to make a discussion meaningful to them personally, is an awfully good parent.

      If IT jobs continue to migrate offshore, as I predict they will, the last ones to go will be in training. The cultural and language issues conspire to give natives a tremendous advantage.

      • #2702885

        Agreeing with DC_GUY

        by rogeryounce1 ·

        In reply to Training is a fabulous opportunity.

        I have to agree with DC_GUY. Everything you are doing may not be in your job discription but you are gaining valuable skills and experience in providing the training and services. I am in the Air Force and getting ready to retire. Part of my training as a manager of a network contro center and training in software applications not only gave me the opportunity to work hard, with others and provide training to my peers, it even helped me to eventually take those same skills and start my on computer training business. So look at the experience as a postive one and what you can do with those experiences in the future. Good luck.

        Roger Younce
        QuickLearn Computer Training Services

      • #2711040

        Training Users

        by old guy ·

        In reply to Training is a fabulous opportunity.

        I can’t believe there are so many whiners in this field. If you are the only IT person at your company then, yes, it is your responsibility to train users. You might want to speak with the manager to get them to agree to back you up with some potential pressure toward the user after you have shown them three times how to do something. Most people need to be shown or see something at least three times in order to retain it. It is also a good idea to have training sessions with any change. You might also want to find one or two users who can learn quickly and correctly to help you show other users how to use the programs.

        You are being paid to do a job–do it. You might think you are having to do more than you should but you are still being paid to do your job. You always have the choice of finding another job if you can’t handle the one you have.

    • #2711097

      This is what I do!

      by sue’s comment ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      I use a product called Snagit to grab a snapshot of each screen and annotate it. The user level I use is “sheer ignorance”. Every cursor movement and every screen shot is captured on file! The screenshots are annotated and then I transfer them to a pdf file and store the output in a “Training” folder on the server. There are also three “hard” copies one on each floor.

      I always train using these notes. If the user forgets something they can either get hold of a hard copy and work through the screens at their own pace or come to me for help. If they come to me I get them to use the training pdf! If I am too busy then management know the training notes work and I can offload the problem without guilt.

      The time taken to produce the training pdf is no longer than the time taken to produce a training session but the rewards are far greater! I use a similar technique to explain how to do important and urgent IT tasks (like how to manage a corrupted Access database) to cover for when I am on holiday. They are generally called “Noddy” notes and users actually like them!

      • #2710998

        Taking Sue’s Comment One Step Further

        by brooks fancher ·

        In reply to This is what I do!

        Taking Sue’s Comment one step further, if you have a small intranet site, then go ahead and buy a program such as Camtasia, Robodemo or Turbodemo. These are full fledged programs that take screen capture to the next level.

        You can actually make hands-on tutorial style software training modules out of them. You know, like the “Video Professor” does.

        You can make it so that the user actually clicks on the portion of the lesson that you are trying to convey.

        This is great for those people that seem to need more practice with new software.

        Also, try to empower the people and instill a sense of pride in learning the new software. It does wonders for most people if they have the resources to help themselves learn something and that they fell a sense of accomplishment when they are through.

    • #2711094

      get users to help themselves

      by rossw ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      if theres no budget for IT then maybe you could get some of the users to help you out. pick out a few good IT literates and train them well, they can then hopefully pass there knowledge down. You can use them as a first point of contact in their department for support as well. meet with them regularly and make them feel involved. Theres always a few who want to get into IT and you can use that.

      Obviously you have to get there bosses to agree to it first, but you should be able to sell it to them.

      • #2711092

        Excellent Answer!!

        by ecoyne ·

        In reply to get users to help themselves

        Rossw is absolutely right! There ARE always a few employees looking to get into IT. They would be very willing and because they aren’t “bogged-down” with technical baggage, they would probably communicate to the other employees better.

      • #2711071


        by ingemar ·

        In reply to get users to help themselves

        I think this could be a very good solution if management is in on it. It works well. Educate them yourself of pay a pro to do it.(I would choose the later.) It pays of real soon. When thing change, you inform or educate your PowerUsers. You should have at least one PowerUser at every department. They will in turn educate their co-workers.

      • #2711047

        Turnkey Program

        by liz lagrotteria ·

        In reply to get users to help themselves

        I started a “Turnkey Program” at my company where I had the managers of each department identify power users. Then I trained them and gave them handouts, etc. to pass on.
        The biggest task is to at least train the end users to go to the power users first, before coming to you.
        I also created “quick cards” that I laminated and hung around the building. These addressed everything from how to log on to the network to common ERP commands.
        The other problem I had is that everyone wants to dumb-down the programs. I found that if you gently feed them bits of information, they will eventually catch on – you know, the old “teach a man to fish” concept.

      • #2710980

        This actually works!

        by jrats_revenge ·

        In reply to get users to help themselves

        I am also in a situation where the IT department is small. (2 actually… I do all the hands on IT work, network administration and enduser support and My supervisor takes care of the Administration stuff) I support over 410 endusers in 6 locations. Not a pretty setup but one I have gotten used to over my 4 years of Employment with my organization. To help supplement the lack of cloning me and placing one in every office, we have point personel in every remote office who have been trained by me to handle simple non critical technology issues (IE. email issues, printing issues, simple program help etc…) These point people also have other non technology duties and have a greater repore with the people in their offices as they work in the trenches with them daily. Having well trained point people in each office certainly has reduced my workload from the insanity it once was! As we all know that when one is in a help desk capacity it is important to also inform the endusers and teach them as much as you can when assisting them with their problem. Doing so will allow them to learn and grow as they troddle down the information superhighway. In my opinion, a well imformed enduser also helps diminish the amount of repeat problem calls and it usually makes them feel a little better when they KNOW what to do to fix that simple print issue or when you’ve tought them well enough for them to clean off spyware on their systems. It makes them feel good. Just my 2 cents worth.

    • #2711090

      Implementation Issue?

      by fitzb ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      It seems to me that there’s an implementation issue here. You said that you give them instructions on how to do the new system but apparently they don’t care. Why? Is it because they can go back to the old system? Slowly kill the old system(maybe by module) then they will be forced to need to learn the NEW way of doing things.

    • #2711082

      Management on Board

      by fanchant ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      Boy, for a second there I thought you’d gotten my old job!
      You can train and document until you’re blue in the face, but if management is not willing to hold end-users responsible for retaining knowledge they are trained on, you’re stuck. As a one person IT department, you really need that management buy-in.

      • #2710205

        Has to come from the top.

        by ley1963 ·

        In reply to Management on Board

        I worked at a company that installed solutions at financial institutions. The ease of the installation was directly related to how much backing we had from the senior managers at the site. If management backed us up 100%, people conceeded and learned the new software, really being forced my mgnt to change. If management was split, or some managers resisted, the staff varied in their dedication to change their old ways.

        To get management to back you up, you must hit them where it hurts, the pocketbook. If you can prove to management how the staff’s lack of knowledge on the new system is costing them money, they will get behind you. If they don’t see any financial gain, getting their support will be difficult at best.

    • #2711074

      Paper Trail

      by nzamparello9 ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      Simple solution for knowledge retainment… Paper trail… Have your users sign off on classes you’ve taught… File them away… If an issue ever arises about any subject matter you’ve taught you can hold that over thier head by saying “You signed off on this saying you know what your doing..” Works great for the military, should work for civilians.. 🙂

    • #2711073

      I understand all to well!

      by lschubert ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      I too am a one person IT department at a steel foundry. I have 12 servers and 100 PC’s… with a whole bunch of people that have a hard time reading and writing let alone using a PC.
      There is no way I have time to help them with the use of anything… what I have done is try to make everything web based through my intranet. I have found that most, while they can’t navigate through the network can use a web page.
      Seems to work for me… hope you can find a way to make it work for you.

    • #2711070

      Agree with a lot of this!

      by minki ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      I am also a one person IT department, with the main responsibility being database programming. It is really frustrating to show people the same task over and over again, without them retaining any information – and getting the blame for the user’s inablility to keep the information there.

      I am lucky in that I am not only techie, but started off in training, so I know that my technique works in a training environment. The problem is that a lot of users are stuck in their ways, they don’t really want to have to learn anything new.

      I agree with have training material to hand, as someone suggested earlier. Good easy ‘Noddy’ training material is invaluable. If it easy enough to follow then users don’t get the usual manual ‘blindness’ and they will acutally follow it. I tested it with the Managing Director with a task he had never done before. It not only assured me the training stuff worked, but also gave the MD faith in the training stuff and then he is not so worried when I am not around.

      I produce these step-by-steps as I come across recurring problems. PLUS if I find the same users with the same problems – i insist they make a note of what they did in their own words and keep it by them (notebook or notepad document). That also works as they get embarrassed to ask you again if they KNOW they wrote it down last time.

      Most of all – good luck. My life sounds simnple compared to yours! I will never compain again!

      • #2711059

        You have my sympathy

        by sean® ·

        In reply to Agree with a lot of this!

        I agree with others that you are understaffed. I once worked for a firm with a ‘manager’ title to my job. Looks good on the CV, but masked the fact that I managed a department of one – me!

        Departmental meetings took place over the coffee percolator in the morning as I focussed (after the second cup) on my priorities for the day.

        I think that the ‘power user’ route is the best way forward in your situation. There was a phrase in vogue a few years ago called ‘training the trainers’.

        In any department/workgroup there’s usually one person interested in IT. The trick is to identify them. Do you have a user group?

        My advice (not withstanding the points above about adding training to your personal portfolio) is to get a professional trainer in for this.

        There is a cost implication, but you should be able to construct a case for it based on your own work logs. To put it bluntly, if you are spending too much time handholding users, you are not being as productive as you could be.

        Put together a business case for getting in a trainer every three months or so to train the power users. Keep detailed work logs to back that case.

        You never know, you may even find that you can convince the firm to employ an extra bod in IT to shoulder some of the load – even if only part time to do the drudge work.

        Good luck!

    • #2711058

      Need More Support….

      by best_john_j ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      Sounds like you need better support from the people running the company/department. For a change this significant, it should be made apparent to all of the “end users” that upper management is commited to the change. Management should also communicate the importance of the change to the company and to each and every employee. This helps create a sense of ownership of the change and it is no longer IT forcing things on the customer.

      Our greatest advancement has been the realization that IT cannot push the solutions on the customers, but we must work with them and upper management to make sure our IT solutions meet their business goals and needs… When the customers pull from IT and commit themselves to the changes/new software it works so much easier.

      See if you can find some books on Organizational Change Management.

    • #2711057


      by lvinson ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      Amen brother….I feel your pain as well. Hopefully I will see some good tips in here too.

    • #2711050

      Pushing up hill

      by seamus ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      This may seem cliche, but until it is a priority of the top management, the president, general manager, of the company you are going to be fighting an up hill battle.

      I have been with this company 5 years and we have been implementing an ERP system for about 3 and a half years. For the first 2 and a half the IT was pushing the system and with very minor success I may add.

      About a year ago we got a new President that wants to get away from manual paper reporting to a system generated data process, as he thinks this will make us able to do more with less, neat concept.

      Since then I have had the Assistant Manager for production start to learn the system on his own the Assistant General Manager for Production direct his people to start using the system more and a 10 fold increase in the number of projects being requested by the USERS.

      So like I said it may seem cliche but it is very important to get buy in from the top and have them push the system.

      On the meetings I would sugest that you have you work with your Accounting department, an ERP is of most benefit to them if it is implemented properly. Get them on your side and have them lead your monthly meeting. Also invite your upper management sponsor to attend these meeting to show everyone else that this is a priority for the company.

      These are my humble opinions, I hope they help.

      Good luck, I know you will need it.

    • #2711042

      Let them know it is for their good

      by afaa ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      Your problem is not unique to your organization or department alone. Specialists of any trade/skill more than often, practice management by exclusion in their decision-making and implementation processes there by creating extra headaches for themselves.

      In my humble opinion, the rest of the organization will always view any changes as driven by you as long as they are not included in the picture. Have them understand it is for their benefit that upgrades of any sort are being implemented.

      As long as your users understand that the new system will benefit them as opposed to help you do your job better, there will be resistance to change as it seems to be an innate human tendency.

      In a long run, all inclusive consultations and training sessions at different management levels will help include IT related project changes and training in the daily lively hood of your organization. Training is usually as good as the students perceive it. Let them know it is for their good that the changes will always be made with their help.

      Good luck

    • #2711035

      Support the users

      by technology ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      You should be thoroughly familiar with all apps running on your computers – especially MS Office. Your job is to know at least as much as the most knowledgeable secretary. Get yourself a MOUS cert in Word, Excel and Access. Then find a key user and hand-hold him/her ’til it hurts. If turnover isn;t that much you will eventually have your people trained. BTW: put all their documents in the root of drive c: under a folder called docs (or something). Then batch copy them to one of your servers with xcopy as a backup. If they don’t save in the docs folder then they don’t get backed up. Give them an icon on the desktop to help them. You can also put folders on allusers desktops with your instructions of how to do things.
      Lastly – Use SMS to remote the offender and see exactly what they are doing (without them knowing) GL!

    • #2711031

      try outsourced training

      by jsloan1223 ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      It’s been my experience that there are a few people who truly do not cope well with changes. And some of those will NEED to have a formal training session, while many will be fine with whatever you teach them yourself.

      I switched one such woman from Wordperfect 8 to Office XP. She freaked and called me *every* single time she needed to do something besides type. After helping her for literally 2-3 hours a day for a WEEK, I asked (begged) my boss and her boss to send her to formal training. I support 40 users plus another 180 email users and don’t have that kind of time for one user. She went to class begrudgingly, but call volume dropped immediately to less than once a week. I think she needed to feel comfortable with the new software and after a couple days in class with nothing else to worry about, she was fine.

      So, send them to class. Sometimes there’s no substitute for hearing it from someone else.

      • #2711017

        I totally agree

        by coldbrew ·

        In reply to try outsourced training

        I totally agree with this approach. I used to support 600 users who shouldn’t have been allowed to touch a computer. I now have aproximately 35 users to support. We put everyone on a network about a year ago and set up a network drive to share and store files. It has been an uphill battle to get them to utilize the resources. It takes someone to loose 3 months worth of work because they put it on a hard drive or floppy. I have also suggested that some people such as the acct department go though formal excel and word training. I don’t have the time to give them what they need. Plus I find that training offsite works best.

        Good luck

    • #2711025

      You should have help on the ERP system

      by shorne ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      One bright spot. You mention that you are getting a new ERP system. Whomever you have contracted to design and implement this system should build training into the process. Why not get them to concentrate on training a few key super users, perhaps from accounting and HR. Other users will realize that those are the go-to people for user issues and only deal with you on technical problems. I’ve done this and gone as far as pleading ignorance (I honestly don’t know how to adjust a year end entry in Accpac) to ensure that people get help from people who understand the software and the business process.

      • #2711012

        Cross Billing

        by anon-ra ·

        In reply to You should have help on the ERP system

        My department found out the if we “cross” bill the users department from which they are from for the trouble calls that they make, it decreases the amount of “easy” calls that we get. This also lets the Managers of these departments know which users might need remedial training. By “cross” billing, you open up a wealth of information that could be used later on. Another reason that we do this is because IT departments are never a profit center. We spend tons of money and never really have any to show for it that a non IT manager of VP will understand. By doing this, it gives them something tangible to see and understand. There is a lot more that I could write about the benefits of this, but I’ll end my comment for now.

        • #2718277

          Excellent thought

          by h1laria ·

          In reply to Cross Billing

          I may have to look into that. We don’t have a formalized Help System here. It’s usually managed by task assignment, email and IM. Not to mention the people who will stop me on the way through the building for the “quick fix”. A more formalized system with time tracking will be useful.
          Thanks for your thoughts.

    • #2711018

      What’s in it for me?

      by battlea ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      Don’t forget the “What’s in it for me?” communication before the detailed instructions. Try to find an advocate(s) within your group that may be willing to be the “super user”, provide peer support, and bring others around. It’s not an overnight approach; but it works.

      • #2711008

        Excellent Idea…

        by sleek1 ·

        In reply to What’s in it for me?

        I agree with you, battlea. Peer support (or is it pressure) is a surefire way of motivating the users without being “in their faces”.

        Incidentally, has anyone else noticed that each page of this discussion forum is loading “Avenue A, Inc” to your browsers? It’s a known privacy threat. FYI. Its easy to block, though…

    • #2711002

      Just Do IT

      by leonard_aj ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      I was with a company that used Fourth Shift MRP system. I had to train personnel each time a change was made that affected the user interface. Often it included developing handouts. Here are a few keys: Plan, plan, plan the implementation, schedule the date for the change, train, train, train, before the change and, on the actual implementation date; be well rested and prepare for a very busy day.

    • #2710996

      Implement the new, phase out the old

      by jtlatmcl ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      It seems like a big part of your problem is that users continue using the old methods/systems despite repeated attempts to train them on the new one. Anytime you get a new system/application you need to plan on training and some hand holding during the beginning. You also need to phase out the old system/application. Management needs to understand that this is an important and natural part of the I.T. cycle.
      The big benefits to this are:
      1. After you phase out the old system, users will rapidly become proficient on the new one… but some won’t until the old ways are gone!
      2. You won’t have to spend time supporting TWO systems to do the same thing. That should be a big no-no, but at a lot of places, unless someone is willing to be a nit of a ‘bad guy’ and force the change, people like to stick with what they know, even if something is better.

    • #2710995

      80% of 80%

      by dracowiz ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      I too, have the same problem, compounded by the prima-donna effect that IT doesn’t bring in the money.
      It has been said that Trainees retain 80% of what the are taught, then teach 80 % of that, which is obsorbed at you guessed it 80%…

      The important things should be taught in excess of that.

      The Principles of Instruction (USAF) told us to Tell em what you are gonna teach em, Teach em the information, interspersed with alot of humour to help make the point(s) then tell em what you taught em.
      Taking the time to teach them — even reteach them will generally save you time in the long run, most of my help desk calls are due to poorly remembered — poorly learned (80% – 80%) information.
      No we shouldn’t have to, but it will be ITs fault if its broke, and training is also a good chance for PR.


    • #2710992

      Management support

      by blarman ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      Your manager needs to become involved. If the users are blatantly disregarding the new app and the training you provide, they need to be shown the door. It is their responsibility to do their jobs, and jobs sometimes require change. If they aren’t willing to change and use the new system, they need to be replaced with someone who will.

    • #2710989

      Who moved the Cheese

      by flyfysher ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      You mentioned you are getting a new ERP system. Get the system providers to help you train your users. Your company is probably paying big bucks for the new system – even if you have to pay for an outside trainer it would be worth it. Convince your boss this is necessary. Compare new system price to value to your company when the users actually start using the new system. Also, get your boss to use his influence with other mangers – get everybody involved in the project – you have to sell it. Do your homework.

      • #2718275

        The new ERP System implementation

        by h1laria ·

        In reply to Who moved the Cheese

        isn’t really the issue as much as the constant inability to get the information to stick. I know that the training for this will be extensive and well planned. It’s mostly the daily task and usage of the desktop office suites and network that are a problem. I believe several people have hit on any number of issues that are the root cause. It will take some time to absorb and fully integrate the insightful comments, suggestions and observations.
        Thanks for your input.

    • #2710977

      This is the chance you’ve been waiting for.

      by natem ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      I’ve been an IT Director at the same place for quite a while now and I know what you’re going through because I’ve been there. I don’t mean to put you or your users down, but 1 good IT person with the right tools should be able to take care of a shop your size and have time for a couple of hours of training a week. Do you have automated backups (windows will work fine), use remote control tools (Dameware), and have something to alert you of problems on the network (WhatsUPGold)? Have you standardized your desktops and use cloning(Ghost) to do installations? Don’t settle for budget whining when it comes to your tools, IT COSTS TO MUCH MONEY NOT TO HAVE THE RIGHT TOOLS!!!!!!!!!!!! Once you have all that in place start running them through 5 or 10 at a time on all the standard desktop software. Unless you have a very high turnover, I think you’ll start to see a definite improvement in your users ability after about a year.
      Good luck,

    • #2710963

      Teach them to help themselves

      by richard h ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      Those intricate emails you send need to be posted to an internal web site, perhaps along with those help files you send. When a user asks for help, don’t give them the answer, instead ask them what part of the provided help they didn’t understand so that you can clarify it. Walk them through the areas where the help is found. This teaches them to be self sufficient and they also learn thet you will no longer be their ‘crutch’. I was at a shop once for over three weeks answering questions all the time, I could not leave until they understood the system. As soon as I started asking them “What did the provided documentation say” and taught them how to ‘RTFM’, I was out of there in two days.

      As for being overworked, work your 45-50 hours a week doing what the boss wants and then let the rest slide. Stand firm in that if the boss wants 80 hours of work a week, he needs two people.

    • #2711966

      Use Internal help

      by tundraroamer ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      Lots of good suggestions here for opportunity to train users in new ways. I am also a one person IT shop for 50 plus users. I found that I can usually find somebody that is eager to learn something new about a portion of the entire package. In my case it was the ERP we use. This user jumped in and came up with the training and course outline with help from other “superusers” in the company.
      This keeps that aspect of your job off of your back but still allows you to have a say in some of the critical areas.
      I believe this is called delegating (an often underused resource) and it doesn’t come out of your budget

    • #2711961

      Site IT Coordinator

      by boss ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      We have a similar problem: over 400 users with 3 IT staff. Here is what we did:
      1. Each building/dept. was asked to volunteer a primary and backup Site IT Coordinator (SITC). These folks are familiar with using the computers and apps but not necessarily experts.
      2. We hold a SITC training session (4 hours) to show SITCs howto: A. Triage a problem; B. Submit trouble tickets to IT; C. Hold the user’s hand

      SITCs are able to show people howto logon and logoff, use the department apps, install network printers (NT and WIN3k print servers), config. a new user for Outlook and show them where to find network resourses and a rather extensive folder of HOWTO self help documents.

      Takes a bit of time up front to prepare the SITC Training Manual and 4 hours every quarter to teach the class but the time savings is well worth it. When ever we have a new app coming up, we just train the SITCs and turn them loose.

    • #2711939

      Lose the detail & call on other users for help

      by deane75 ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      I teach basic computer skills at the local community college at night and am the training coordinator at my agency during the day. I noticed you said you send out detailed information and reference help files in the original application. I’d probably delete them, too. Help files that come with apps are far too detailed and advanced for beginners, and most users don’t read stuff that doesn’t DIRECTLY apply to them.

      You are right, this is a big job, and probably outside your area of interest or expertise.

      Perhaps you can find a power user to help you with the training? Pull in the folks who USE this stuff and are best able to tell others what is ESSENTIAL to know and what can safely be ignored.

      Most staff don’t need to know anything about the server, only about how to reach the files they use on a regular basis.

      Good luck

    • #2711928

      Reply To: User Training issues

      by the admiral ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      I think the problem is a matter of defining the scope of how much end user training you are supposed to be giving to the company. In a company where people are more likely to be worried about getting the job done versus how to do their job, it becomes a problem when they can’t, and often the company leaders will tell you to “Just get it done.”

      I think it may be time to sit down with the managers of the company and give them a reality check pertaining the problems that you are encountering with keeping the level of education up, versus making sure day-to-day operations continuing. When the training of employees becomes a severe problem where you are struggling to keep the day-to-day operation working, then the training will have to be placed on hold.

      As I said, it is time to sit down and let the leadership of the company know that the impact at first was minimal, now it is becomming a problem with not being able to accomplish assigned tasks in the timeframe that is required.

    • #2711917

      Maybe I can help

      by annettemcmillan ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      Where are you located? What apps are you using? Would be willing to assist, not looking for full time postions. Also suggest you use interactive trainning tools. Give users that hands on feeling.

    • #2711894

      Try an Intern

      by mathtchr ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      I am in a one-person shop, and I teach at a community college evenings. The college asked if I would consider offering one of their strudents an internship. Since my employer has no way of paying for internships, I offer them to volunteers. I set the parameters for what help I need – training, setting up a new network, designing a database, etc. this changes as my needs change. To date, I have had four interns (one at a time as I do spend some time helping the student), and I have benefitted from the experience. I teach the students some of the ins and outs of our business and they help me with some of the work. This has been a win-win situation, the student gets 225 hours of training and I get help which I can always use.
      Interview potential interns – make sure that their attitude and expertise will benefit your shop and learn with them. Sometimes, the students point out new technologies I am not very familiar with – then, we learn together and we both win.

    • #2711890

      why not try ‘Toilet Training’

      by lorraine francke ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      I had a similar situation; where people needed training or even something as simple as awareness of changes in procedures. E-mails with instructions were usually not opened, documentation and instructions put on the noticeboard in the office kitchen were met with a ‘… but I never go into the kitchen …’, hardcopies distributed to everyone were misplaced and my time wasted with having to explain the same thing several times a day. Eventually (in desperation)I started posting simple instructions in the toilets of the building (we only occupied one building) similar to the documentation I had done. I figured at least people would see these once a day. As weird as it sounds, it was extremely effective and met with only positive reactions.

      • #2718282

        I love it!

        by h1laria ·

        In reply to why not try ‘Toilet Training’

        Thanks. I may have to get this one through HR tho.
        I love the approach. And I’ve seen the same thing with emails and hardcopies. Frustration and desperation set in.
        How creative!

    • #2711860

      Been there, done that.

      by mis_caamano ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      I’ve been in a situation similar to yours, as the “MIS Manager/Network Services Administrator” for a small business. There are some people, who just “don’t get it”. But I have seen some of the most hopeless cases show improvement eventually, over the course of almost 5 years. And yes, they require special attention. And yes, it’s part of the job, AND make sure you are documenting your time — where and how it is spent on special education. It’s vitally important that the owners of the company are aware of how your time is getting whittled away to care for “needy” users. Be patient and try to have fun with the challenge. My most productive classes were those where I made an extra effort to gear the content to relevant and timely needs of the users versus trying to force feed a standard lesson. This isn’t possible in every situation. Another tactic I’ve used is presenting the subject matter in a metaphoric manner also helps.

      • #2718285


        by h1laria ·

        In reply to Been there, done that.

        Thank you. There have been a number of good observations and responses in these posts. It will take me some time to go through and pull the information together and use all the good advice. I appreciate your insights. And I like your approach.

    • #2711733

      Work from top to bottom

      by aldanatech ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      It seems that your organization is devoted to the “If it ain’t broke, leave it as it is” kind of philosophy. This will really slow you down on your tasks. Believe me I’ve been there, so I would suggest you take some time to work on this from top to bottom with your very own “personal infomercials”. Start with your boss. Show him that your attempt to upgrade your network is well worth it, how user will increase efficiency and all that stuff until he is willing to give you more support. If e-mail doesn’t work with your users then you’ll have to really on memos. Continue with your training sessions, and try to squeeze it a little bit of the benefits of your upgrades to extend their flexibility towards your transition project.

    • #2709991

      Not just an IT Issue

      by csg ·

      In reply to User Training issues

      Resistance to change is one of biggest management issues when new systems are put into place. This needs a management directive. Training the users is just part of it. You can also try to make the learning a little fun so that they will have incentive to learn. Better yet, get a third-party contractor to do the training.

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