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Tips for Managing Your IT Training Costs
Submitted by Leslie Allan on February 5th, 2011
In my previous blog post on overcoming the productivity paradox, I shared my tips on how to get the most benefit from your computer technology purchases. You may be finding that much of your training budget is spent on training your people on new information systems and software, leaving little for anything else. It doesn’t have to be like that. You can ensure that your employees are adequately trained in the new information technology and have money left over for other important programs, such as safety and leadership.
Of course, you help your case if you avoid upgrading your hardware and software every time a new build or version is released. Avoid the vendor hype extolling the virtues of their new system. Not all upgrades will give you a benefit. The introduction of new advanced software features or a new interface will only help your employees if they actually use those features and you have new staffs that can benefit from learning within a more intuitive interface. Ensure that you have an immediate and compelling reason to upgrade based on a sound business case.
On the other hand, some upgrades are essential even though they aren’t expected to lead to increased worker productivity. You may need to upgrade your company’s computer operating system or web browser to plug security vulnerabilities. Or you may need to upgrade to the next version of your office software to keep up with the latest file formats used by your customers and suppliers. Count the cost of these upgrades as simply the cost of doing business and as a part of good risk management.
What can you do to keep your IT training costs at a manageable level? Here are my special tips for ensuring that you will have money left over in the budget for important non-IT training.
Be judicious in who you train. Not everyone in your department needs to be trained in the latest advanced features of your word processing program. Select for training only those employees who use the program at that level.
Nominate one person from each department that can act as an expert on call. Ask for volunteers and accept people who are keen to play a helping role. These people are an invaluable aid for employees that use a feature only occasionally.
Ask your training organization to provide handy help cards listing shortcut keys, tips and so on. These can be placed on each employee’s desk and loaded on their computer, ready for referencing in an instant.
Set up informal lunchtime sessions run by each department’s experts. Get people to take turns in sharing a tip or the solution to a recent problem. These sessions only need to run for 10 minutes or so to be effective.
Don’t ask your employees what training they want. This will only give you a “wish” list and is wasteful of training resources. Conduct a proper training needs analysis to determine what skills are actually required and in short supply. Each identified skill gap should correlate with a genuine business need.
At the beginning of your budget period, compile a proper training strategy that identifies your strategic and operational requirements and details the skill gaps identified in your training needs analysis. Prioritize the needs whilst allocating part of the budget to ad hoc requests that will come up during the year.
In following the above tips, you will ensure that all of your training is business driven. By maintaining a strategic focus on filling key skill gaps, your training expenditure won’t be held hostage to the manager with the loudest voice.
Are you struggling to make the most of your training budget? Do you want to minimize waste whilst maximizing effectiveness? Then check out our high impact training guide, From Training to Enhanced Workplace Performance. Learn proven strategies and techniques for finding performance roadblocks, aligning training to real needs, developing training partnerships, engaging learners and maximizing learning transfer. Find out more about From Training to Enhanced Workplace Performance and download the free introductory chapter today.