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It is no secret that statistically the UK is lagging behind in terms of productivity. Everyone seems to be scratching their heads about how to improve this, but with 75% of UK staff either untrained or poorly trained the answer to me is clear - education, education, education.

In IT departments a lack of training impacts far more than staff productivity. The purpose of implementing new IT infrastructure is usually to increase efficiencies in business critical processes. So, by not offering sufficient training, how can staff or the IT infrastructure ever deliver?

So, here are my top reasons why training your IT teams should be firmly on your businesses agenda:

  1. Time is money
It might seem, at first glance, that asking for help when you need it – instead of formally training staff – saves employee time and company money. However when employees cannot use business critical IT processes to their potential, this has a knock on effect on staff productivity and therefore your bottom line.
  1. Productivity is the key…
Customer support data can be a real resource for understanding the correlation

between skill levels and certifications and the volume of support incidents opened. Certified users log a fraction of the support incidents compared with their non-certified counterparts. Based on our own customer call statistics, on average, non-trained and certified users log 10 times more support incidents than their better invested counterparts. They also see quicker success in those calls, as they are able to communicate more effectively with our own support teams.

  1. Know your limits
Post deployment, your team will play the integral role in guaranteeing that your platform investment delivers to 100% capability in all areas. Budgets are tight and IT investments must be maximised to ensure project viability. When we surveyed our global user audience, a whopping 95% of them stated that applicable, vendor delivered training is an integral part within any new IT environment solution.
  1. Avoid hanging on the telephone…
Although making calls to vendor support lines may have the short-term benefit of solving the immediate problem, it disempowers the employee because they feel dependent. This in turn can make the employee to feel frustrated and unmotivated, especially if no subsequent training is offered.
  1. Digging without a map
Untrained employees will typically try and solve the problem themselves before they fall back on the IT help desk. In this scenario formal training is like a treasure map, guiding employees to the problem, rather than leaving them digging randomly. Here, training has the dual benefit of improving productivity, while also eliminating the likelihood of incorrectly identifying a solution, based on emergency, ad-hoc research.
  1. The more the merrier
Untrained employees will also often ask other unofficial ‘master user’ employees for help. Firstly, if this master user is not trained, two people are then spending their time digging around for an answer. Secondly, when one person asks another untrained user for help, a third or fourth person can get involved. This effectively doubles, or even quadruples the productivity decrease from the organisations perspective. So investing in team training, not just individual training, is important to minimise disruption and increase overall efficiency.
  1. Get virtual
There are many remote training options available, such as virtual classes or e-learning meaning that training can be cost effective, scalable and deliverable to more employees. That way, you have the benefits of training without the expense of sending employees off-site.
  1. Positivity
It has been proven countless times that happy staff are more productive. 95% of Commvault trained customers indicated that training had a positive impact on productivity and enthusiasm, whilst enhancing their ability to make their company more successful.
  1. Sticking power
Evidence strongly indicates trained staff are happier in their jobs and are therefore more likely to stay. Our customer survey shows that 81% of them feel more loyal to their employer as the result of their invested development. Happy staff leads to a lower staff turnover rate, which in turn is attracts prospective employees. Ultimately companies should be worrying less about trained staff leaving and more about the untrained staff who stay.
  1. Risk/efficiency
Efficiencies in IT are integral to the overall ‘health’ and strategy of a business. CIO’s and CEOs need to provide sufficient training to make the most of these investments, reducing the risk of the investment not living up to expectations.
  1. Looking good
One of our customers reported that implementing what he had learnt in formal training processes allowed him to reduce the company’s storage utilisation by 25%, which exceeded the business justifications of the overall implementation, making both him and the procurement manager look like heroes.
  1. Insurance
Training staff fully on a new IT purchase or software upgrade, is like adding an insurance policy for the success of the purchase. It ensures that the features and benefits are fully realised and reduces the frustration of procurement managers.

It’s a sad fact that training is still somewhat undervalued in comparison with investments in technology by some consumers today. The reality is, that knowledge transfer is not enough for employees to maximise the potential of powerful software. It is a significant business risk to spend money on software and not train your employees on how to utilise that software to its full potential. If the UK is to close the frequently discussed ‘productivity gap’ with Europe, it must surely train its staff on the software in which it has invested.

By Martin Hill, director of education services, Commvault