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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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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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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

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