Quickly, as a society, we have realized that all businesses are tech companies. Whether you’re selling sweatpants, stickers, or software you need a solid team of IT professionals keeping your website, POS systems, products, and internal systems running smoothly. Even though everything now is based on technology IT teams are often overlooked within an organization when it comes to funding and planning.
IT professionals are hired into constantly changing environments regularly and are expected to keep the business at least up-to-date with technology standards, if not ahead of them. They are often lacking the resources needed to do this effectively, and constantly find the department single-threaded or just unable to meet demands. Many professionals learn outdated standards in tertiary education institutions and have to catch up to modern practices before they can begin any innovation.
Supporting employee’s uses of modern learning systems can help bridge the gap between education and real-world experience, as well as create a well-rounded team of professionals to support business needs. There are four main components to a successful learning experience for employees;
While standardized learning is part of the problem – outdated educational institutions spewing forth entry level employees for the job market to gobble up – having consistency in knowledge across a team is important. If everyone on the team sets up a new employee’s laptop differently, when the employee experiences problems, only the original tech would be able to assist. Standardization of basic business tasks is essential in in an efficient IT organization.
Using a Learning Management System (LMS) is an effective way to provide and track the results of basic training to standardize simple processes. Advanced LMS systems, such as EXLone, can provide data to employers on knowledge gaps, and customize individuals’ learning experiences to reflect those missing competencies. Having consistent standards for all employees removes bottlenecks and allows departments to function freely regardless of missing “key” employees.
Standardized educational methods enable businesses to onboard new employees quickly, and can also be used to introduce existing employees to new technologies and workflows easily and consistently.
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Educational Opportunities
While providing baseline standardized procedures is great training, true innovation comes from learning beyond the basics. Enabling employees to share their knowledge with their peers provides a safe workspace for people to invent new ideas and processes. Learning can be a scary process, and working with people who understand your situation – your peers – can make it easier. Realizing that the same person you spent all night deploying new packages with can also teach you about the new Java framework makes the conversation easier than reaching out to an “expert” and potentially asking a “dumb question.”
Learning through working together also strengthens personal bonds within the team, allowing for more cohesive workflows. The better a team works together the better the results of the work are. EXLone offers the “Exchange” application to enable teams to create and work on documents together, as well as share content with other employees. Bringing teamwork into learning creates a thriving ecosystem of shared knowledge.
Access to New Content
Standardized training and P2P opportunities are great for learning historical content and getting aligned with current procedures and technologies, but what about all of the new technologies that no one on the team knows about yet? Those could be the game-changers that the company is looking for, but is missing out on with lack of knowledge even about the technologies’ existence.
There are many ways to learn about up-and-coming technologies and improvements made to currently available systems. Some people go to technology conferences, some read technical publications online, but there is no official way to really learn “modern” IT. Courses offered on these topics come out way past the launch date, and usually include some outdated information as well. EXLskills is an educational system that, though course based, allows community authoring of content to maintain relevancy. Access to new information is key to advancing both internal and customer-facing technical systems.
Time to Learn
Access to learning opportunities is truly limited by the time available for these experiences. Even though training may have a mandatory “completed by” date for internal compliance purposes, IT personnel often are so busy in the day-to-day that they do not have time to switch tracks and get the training done. Instead of looking forward to learning they dread being ripped away from a workload that never lessens.
Having time built in to employee’s schedules for learning alongside their day-to-day tasks allows people to look forward to personal advancement, and encourages them to use their new-found skills to better the business. Now they can truly feel like the experts that we depend on them to be.