Training is so often neglected or seen as a luxury item in the project budget. But changing tools is like driving a new car with a manual transmission—a driver who has experience with automatic transmissions only is going to be very frustrated.
Your results won’t be much better than the poor driver if you institute new tools and processes without training your staff. When you put together a project plan and a budget to implement new content processes, it is essential to include knowledge transfer as part of the costs. In addition to spending money on new tools, you need to show your team how to use those tools effectively.
There are a few options to consider for knowledge transfer, including:
- Classroom training. Generally the best way for team members to understand a new process and develop skills. Personal interaction with an instructor provides invaluable feedback. Smaller classes with no more than 10 to 12 students are better to ensure more one-on-one communication with the instructor. If you have a big team, consider splitting the group into multiple training sessions.
- Live web-based training. Particularly cost-effective for geographically dispersed teams. Recordings of the web sessions provide a great resource for team members who want a refresher course on the tools or who join your staff later.
- Train the trainer. Train one or two team members and then have them share their expertise with the rest of the group. While not as ideal as having a professional instructor teach your team, this scenario can be effective if the team members offering the training have an excellent grasp of the new process, and have the skills (especially patience!) to demonstrate what they know to their coworkers.
The benefits of knowledge transfer are two-fold: team members can ramp up on the new processes in less time (thereby more quickly achieving the cost savings that upper management likes so much), and the team members themselves gain new skills in their profession.