Implementing new technology at your small business? Don’t shortchange the training.

A host of new technologies is making small businesses more efficient and productive and enabling greater collaboration between employees whether they reside in one office or work remotely. Our new Plantronics How-to guides look at some of these new technologies, such as cloud computing, unified communications (UC) and mobile devices and apps.

With each new technology, you need to plan time for training on the basics and any new operational procedures that may result from its implementation. For example, you may use your unified communications systems to change your customer service procedures. Instead of having one or a few people taking all calls, you may want to route customer calls to the most appropriate person in your organization that can handle a specific request or question. Or UC can make it possible to launch a video or web conference to discuss new product development with participants invited via chat.

Training sessions can take a few hours, a day or longer, depending on the technology and its applications. Making sure your employees get the right training is critical to ensure your business processes run smoothly to avoid mistakes and customer frustration that can cost your small business money.

Everyone learns differently

In “5 Smart Ways to Train Your Staff on New Technology,” Chuck Cohen,” recommends that to ensure ongoing team productivity and morale during new technology implementations, don’t assume everyone will grasp a new technology immediately. Whatever the technology, make sure everyone fully understands how to use it or else you risk a loss of productivity or morale.

Cohen suggests that training your team leaders first can encourage collaboration and prevent one single instructor from being overwhelmed with questions and requests.

Explore training options

Fortunately, today there are a number of technology options for training your team in addition to on-site instruction or attending off-site classes. Among your options are:

  • Web or video conferencing: With a desktop PC or mobile device and a headset for audio clarity, anyone on your team regardless of their location can meet with an instructor. Also your team can interact to help each other.
  • Podcasts: You can save a training session on an audio file, which users can download to their mobile devices or PC for playback at their convenience.
  • Online: Online training courses, offered by the vendor or a vendor-independent trainer, are another option.

Give positive reinforcement

Change can be difficult for some people, even when it’s to their advantage. Help your team overcome their resistance by pointing out the benefits of the technology change for them and to help meet your small business goals. Some of your team may be concerned about grasping the new technology. Assure them they will have plenty of support even after the training.

Once your team gets comfortable with the new technology, you may find them coming to you with suggestions for even more change.

Suggested additional reading: TC Computer Invests in Plantronics Headsets to Improve Their Customer Communications

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