The Enterprise Resource Planning Training Gap: How to Bridge it

May 28, 2019New View Strategies

How often do we find that we are frustrated while figuring out how to effectively train our teams? As business leaders, we have the unique challenge of training adult professionals in specific role-based business processes when they are often already distracted with the tasks that need to be accomplished for their regular activities. As our ERP tools change, we need to understand how to train our teams to maximize the tools we already have with Dynamics NAV, but also to be ready with the skills necessary to use the next generation of tools like Business Central.

Defining training success.  What does it look like when we are successful in training our teams? How can we know we have an effective plan which ensures they are current in their skills? You would essentially have teams that are:

trained well enough to understand how to do their specific daily tasks

educated enough to extend that knowledge and apply it to tasks they don’t normally do

ready to use new technologies when they become available

How do we know we need training? Our teams may require additional training when we start to notice an increased number of errors, increased activity of processes necessary to correct errors, or increased effort to double-check or monitor the processes. Also, more bottlenecks and delays could become apparent because only one person knows how to do a certain task, or it may be that you encounter some functions are being done outside of the system completely.

When to train. We often wait for big events, like a new system implementation, to schedule company-wide training. There are many more appropriate times we might want to train on a smaller scale. For instance, when we have new employees join our companies. But what about our current employees?

If you are upgrading regularly, scheduling a round of training is a great time to refresh everyone’s understanding of business process and to help the team to adapt to any new version features. If you don’t have an upgrade planned this year, make room for training by scheduling annual, quarterly, or even monthly training events to focus on specific areas.

Creating pre-planned times for training sets the expectation with employees that they will attend and participate. It also sends the message that the company will continue to provide professional development opportunities. Spending regular time on training also gets them into the mindset that they can, and should, evaluate how they do things and encourages them to reach out for assistance to figure out how to manage the system in a better way.

Training formats. Choosing a training format will depend on what the learning culture of your company is like and how much you want to spend.

If you find that employees are frequently interrupted or unable to focus on remote training, the best choice is to have on-site or classroom-based training. This can often be costly due to the expense of sending employees to a location to be trained or the cost of bringing an instructor on-site. The advantage is that adult learners often find it easier to focus on the training and therefore retain the material more effectively. This is also one of the more efficient training formats when teams need to be trained in many areas which will take several days to complete.

Remote training is often an effective alternative to class-room based training if done properly. There are many tools available that make delivery of the training possible, however, there is one thing to specifically look for that will make the experience more valuable for your teams. Watch for trainings that incorporate hands-on time. Using ERP software is a hands-on activity, and the training to use ERP software should incorporate that. Make sure that it is given by a live instructor who will have ample time to interact with them. Remote training that is lecture only will be one of the least effective ways for adult professionals to learn and should be avoided.

Many companies offer standard training in either of these formats. What they have will be the most generic version, covering only the standard functionality of the software. This can often be the fastest way for your team experts to understand how the ERP works behind the scenes as they will need to be able to apply the principles of what they learned to your specific business.

If your company made many customizations to the software or has very specific and complex business processes, you may want to engage a training company to do custom training. This will ensure that you control the agenda, define what the topics are to be covered, and the trainers should be able to accommodate any other special requests. Don’t be afraid to ask for any specific training you feel your employees may need to be successful. Professional trainers can easily learn your process to develop and deliver effective training for your team’s needs.

Types of training. We can think about training as three different types.

Role-Based training – Training focused on the skills a person utilizes in the broader scope of their job and often categorized by the job title they hold. Training should include theoretical understanding of concepts behind the work as well as the execution of that work. Dynamics NAV training can lean heavily on the Role Center and Profiles used by employees and will cover a broad range of job tasks accomplished in those roles.

Business Process training – Training focused on specific business processes in a certain area. This type of training is often only focused on the execution of work in a “How To” format.

Refresher training – Often one of the most overlooked types of training that also has one of the highest returns on investment. Even with a robust training program, we can’t possibly retain 100% of what has been taught. We also tend to forget over time or even slip back into old habits. Refresher training gives us a chance to review basics and reinforce best practices to fill those gaps and make sure our team has all the tools they need.

Training adult learners for maximum retention. For most of our employees it’s been quite a while since they have attended school. The habits of learning are often lost when we don’t get to use them regularly, so training for adult learners needs to be a little different. Ultimately, the focus needs to be on making sure the learners fully grasp what they have learned so it can be immediately applied back at the office or warehouse. When looking for training resources, watch for companies who specifically advertise how they train adult learners. Hands-on exercises or a hands-on learning environment are a must as well as small student to instructor ratios.

By understanding when our teams need training, the different types and formats of training available, and the needs of adult professionals, we can understand how to structure a training plan that gets our new employees up and running quickly and keeps our experienced team members sharp and ready to take on new challenges.

If you are looking for more information about training for your team, please contact us at info@newviewstrategies.com, or visit https://newviewstrategies.com/training/

 

 

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The experts at New View Strategies are experienced Dynamics NAV and Business Central trainers and business process consultants who have walked in your shoes as former Corporate Controllers, Directors of IT, and Solution Architects, and believe increased utilization of your business systems is critical to the continued success of your company.
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