September 10, 2014
Having conducted SharePoint training for various organizations ranging from startups to large corporations, I have picked up a lot of tips and tricks in the industry. I have already discussed how to overcome four common obstacles:
- Obstacle 1: Preconceived Notions of SharePoint
- Obstacle 2: Lack of Communication
- Obstacle 3: Lack of Governance
- Obstacle 4: Mismanagement of the Training Effort
- Obstacle 5: One Size Fits All Training Program
Today, I will be discussing the fifth and final obstacle in this series, and how to overcome it.
Obstacle 5: One Size Fits All Training Program
Slow user adoption and low retention of training concepts typically occurs when you use a one-size-fits-all approach to training. SharePoint will affect every end-user in different ways based on their function within the organization. Furthermore, SharePoint training programs are often seen as a one-stop-shop of solutions, when in reality a training program needs to be perceived as an ongoing and continuous effort. For example, users need to have access to additional training when they are required to learn additional functionality or if their role changes. You will find that your end-users will grow frustrated and become inefficient if they do not have help and adequate support in times of need.
Recommendation: Tiered, Hands-on Approach to Training
As an educator I can confidently say that your users will achieve the highest rates of adoption and knowledge retention with hands-on instruction delivered in your actual workplace environment.
I recommend defining the roles required within your SharePoint environment. Every organization is unique but some of the common roles I see are as follows:
- Site Designer
- Site Owner
- Content SME
- End User
Once you define roles and assign each user a role, things become a little easier. A user who needs to learn SharePoint may be apprehensive and have some classic “fear of the unknown” if they are not sure what is being asked of them.
If you want the best bang for your SharePoint training buck, I recommend:
- Hands-on, instructor led, customized SharePoint training that focuses on the needs of the individual users. SharePoint’s list of functionality is pretty hefty so focusing on the relevant material will certainly cut down on costs.
- A program based on SharePoint best practices. Using the platform the way it was intended to be used is simply the responsible thing to do.
- Incentives and certifications that encourage and build confidence when key concepts are mastered. Who doesn’t like a gold sticker or two?
- Training that is available to users when it’s needed. A complete program will have left behind material for reference. Even though SharePoint is really, really exciting stuff, sometimes some of my students forget the principles taught in class. This is why I offer the following items as part of my course: a “how to” manual, short 2-5 minute video tutorials, and recorded training sessions.
- A program that holds users accountable. It’s important to apply a newly acquired concept almost right away. An effective training program requires users to complete a set of tasks and tests. This way the results are measurable.
Thank you for following! While many of these recommendations may seem like common sense, it is critical that your company identifies and addresses these common areas of weakness. I know that there are many other obstacles that can arise when implementing SharePoint, I would love to hear about your experiences. I encourage you to share any ideas in the comments below!