We’ve spent this week discussing the benefits of internal training programs — and the need to individualize training plans for your team. To get serious buy-in, you need to let employees train in areas that not only help them be successful at their current job but also prepare them to advance their careers.
That being said, there are times you might consider requiring your team to complete the same training — especially when it comes to skills and technologies used for day-to-day tasks. A well-trained workforce leads to increased productivity, which can boost your organization’s bottom line.
Don’t let the simple things bog down your team’s efficiency. We identified seven skills that could be required for any internal training program.
1. Windows 10
Despite the competition making gains in recent years, Microsoft still owns the majority of the OS market space. The latest version of its flagship product, Windows 10, has been well-received. (Bringing back the Start Button will do that.) If your organization hasn’t already migrated to it, Windows 10 probably is on the horizon.
Regardless of where your company is in the process, having a workforce that’s trained up on Windows 10 is smart. This might seem like a “Well, duh.” type statement, but there are a lot of features within Windows that streamline everyday tasks. (We like the ability to add multiple desktops!) These seemingly fundamental skills can help team members perform their jobs more efficiently, quicker, and confidently.
2. Communication Tools and Platforms
In today’s global workforce, being able to communicate effectively is crucial to your organization’s success. Though a soft skill, communication is every bit as important as having IT or development chops. One way to help your teams master this skill is to require them to train on platforms such as Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams, two popular communication tools.
There’s a multitude of benefits to having a workforce that can use tools such as video conferencing. First off, it can help employees communicate better within their own teams, much less across the organization. Also, strong communication skills are a hallmark of effective leaders. So by helping team members improve theirs, you could be grooming future managers within your organization — and hiring from within is usually easier than going external.
3. Security Awareness Training
This one is a no-brainer. If you didn’t know it already, your own end users might be the biggest threat to your organization’s network. All it takes it one weak password or rogue attachment for mayhem to ensue. Getting every employee, from IT to the front desk receptionist, up-to-date on the latest security best practices and threats, is a must.
While we are big proponents of individualized training plans, this is one of those exceptions. Security awareness should be required of all employees. Not only can it protect your organization from cyber threats, but it can keep your organization in compliance with government regulations.
4. Microsoft Excel
We figure most everyone knows how to use Microsoft Word (if not, they definitely should get trained up.). But Microsoft Excel might be another matter. Sure, most people have heard of Excel, but how many of your employees actually know how to use the spreadsheet software, beyond just logging numbers? There are so many bells and whistles to Excel — almost any employee can benefit from knowing how to use the software.
On a basic level, it can be used to create graphs and charts with data pulled from spreadsheets. Then there’s the ability to create macros that can help employees save time and reduce the risk of human mathematical errors. Most teams can use Excel to keep track of everything from inventory to budget. By getting all employees trained on Excel fundamentals, they will be empowered, which usually leads to increased productivity.
Structured Query Language (SQL) is the language of databases. While different databases have a slightly different syntax, learning just one database language (Oracle, SQL Server, or Microsoft SQL Server) will provide learners the foundation for the rest of them.
And SQL isn’t limited to the enterprise. Learning SQL also can provide employees opportunities to work with Microsoft Access, which is a small individual database solution for small teams that don’t need an enterprise database to manage data. Training with SQL provides better database and data management skills that can be used by almost any team.
6. Basic Programming Languages
You probably don’t need everyone on your entire team to be a hardcore coder. In fact, maybe nobody needs to be — yet. But it’s not a bad idea for your employees to have a basic understanding of HTML or CSS.
Some of your team members might use WordPress sites or work with developers to help design and build custom applications for the business. How awesome would it be if they could jump in to make HTML tweaks, or get started on the framework of an app, without having to involve other teams?
With a basic understanding of code, employees can better speak in developer’s terms or understand what must be done to build an application. Stronger cross-team relationships can lead to better communication and productivity all the entire organization.
7. CompTIA A+
It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, every organization relies on technology. Just about every job role is going to involve using a word processor or accessing the internet, at the very least. So, doesn’t it makes sense to have your workforce to have a working knowledge of the most basic and common tech skills?
Well, CompTIA A+ training can do just that, covering a wide range of topics from printer maintenance, to WiFi standards, to even cloud computing basics. There’s plenty of troubleshooting material, too, which is a plus.
Your IT team will be happier if they don’t have to respond to every little request, such as a basic Windows command or a printer jam. At the very least, if employees have A+ training, they should be able to communicate their requests better, saving time. Who doesn’t want a happy IT team?
And a really cool case scenario is maybe some of your employees will decide to take the plunge and sit for the A+ exam. Talk about helping your employees with their professional development.
Yes, you should encourage each of your team members to create their own training plans — so that they can feel invested in the process and choose training that they are passionate about. But there are certain skills and technologies you should encourage, and even require, them to train on and learn.
It’s a win-win for you and your team, as it can help them perform their roles more efficiently, which can help your organization’s bottom line while providing your workforce the skills to further their professional development.