In my previous post, I explained why it is not a good idea to leave the training in the hands of the technical department and just this week I had the opportunity to speak with a person who works in a technical department and who was entrusted with the implementation and training of an open source enterprise resource planning system. She complained that the users were only interested in the operations they would have to carry out with the new system in order to accomplish their specific task, without showing any interest in the operations before or after theirs. In other words, they had no interest in the overall framework of business processes, nor how the new software could improve or facilitate them.
Involve all the departments
Although this sounded familiar to me, I insisted that it should not stop her explaining the overall picture, but that she should take time to do so and that she should involve several people from different departments in a training session dedicated to the global framework, explaining the procedures schematically and showing where each person and each department fits into the processes of the company. In this way, the users will see that their tasks are part of a long chain of tasks and processes and that every link in this chain is important. A session involving people from all departments will not only raise awareness of their own tasks but above all will increase the respect for colleagues from other departments and their work.
The How and the Why
Assigning single tasks to employees may seem much more effective. However, if the employees are informed of the overall picture, they will take that into account, especially the best employees. The best employees take more responsibility because they really care, so their work should have a purpose. If they don’t know what that purpose is and if it’s not explained to them, they feel alienated and unmotivated. If they don’t find a meaning to their work, they’ll try to find it elsewhere.
That’s why in operational training, explaining the Why is as important as the How.