Study Shows Lack of IT Training Impedes On-the-Job Performance

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Say you have just received a state-of-the-art, intricately designed gadget. Even if it’s loaded with capabilities, it will be useless until you read the instruction manual or are otherwise taught how to use it.

Similarly, if employees aren’t properly trained, how can they be expected to yield maximum results?

A recent study conducted by SkillSoft, a provider of on-demand e-learning and performance support solutions, revealed that roughly seven out of 10 workers from a variety of industries around the world have been asked to accomplish certain work-related tasks without receiving the appropriate training beforehand — and IT ranked toward the top of the list.

“We certainly hear of many instances within the IT community where centralized IT functions deployed new technologies in which they typically were trained, but where remote IT staff have not had the same degree of in-depth training,” said Kevin Young, general manager at SkillSoft EMEA. “Our experience indicates there still exists a culture of ‘working it out yourself’ for many IT professionals.”

The most obvious implication of this lack of training in the IT field is incompetence, Young said.

“IT personnel would not be fully competent or have the depth of knowledge in the technologies to ensure the optimization of the solution,” he said. “It can also have a direct negative impact on the service that the end users receive, leading to inefficiency and frustration.”

Why is it that organizations don’t invest more heavily in on-the-job training?

“One key factor is the speed of change of technologies and the ubiquity of these technologies throughout the large organizations,” Young said.

Even if IT professionals are trained prior to being assigned certain tasks, the same may not be true of end users.

“Our experience is that for this group, such training is often seen as a relatively low priority from a rollout perspective or, worse still, not considered at all,” Young said. “For multisite [or] multinational companies, the ability to train new users in new, updated technologies has the further challenges of time, distance and location.”

So what can companies in the United States and abroad do to better facilitate IT training and help employees develop professionally?

“The old paradigm of having teams of trainers going out on the road to give such training is no longer time-, cost- or resource-efficient,” Young said. “[However,] e-learning can be key to providing rapid global availability of relevant training.”

This is especially important as a number of organizations are making significant investments in acquiring and deploying technologies to improve organizational performance.

“[But what they] need to consider — as a key part of any rollout — [is] how to ensure that the right personnel have the required levels of skills, not just at deployment but on an ongoing basis,” he said.

– Deanna Hartley, dhartley@certmag.com

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Deanna Hartley

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