Not-So-Basic Training

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Employee training isn't a one-day event. The key to implementing any new technology is to provide employees with the support and resources they need on an ongoing basis. Nothing can kill employee enthusiasm faster than unanswered questions, frequent glitches in the system or support personnel who turn a deaf ear. It's important to provide someone for them to approach with problems, questions or concerns.

Caster Technology has the luxury of having a full-time MIS employee on staff. The co-owners are also readily available to train employees, answer questions and troubleshoot. "Employees feel comfortable knowing there's always someone to turn to in times of need," he says.

Unfortunately, few small-business owners have the resources to hire full-time tech support or the time to help employees themselves. If that's the case, consider part-time help. Occasional IT support is better than none, and many consultants are willing to help out on a part-time basis. Although it can be expensive, value-added resellers (VARs) can also provide various kinds of tech support. For a fee, VARs can be a local resource for fixing nagging PC problems, providing software training or answering employee questions.

Another possible solution: Assign a computer-literate employee in every department to function as a part-time computer guru who keeps up on the latest programs and lends expert assistance to colleagues. Some portion of their responsibilities should be reduced so they have time to provide this assistance. Also, make sure their role becomes part of their job description so they know their efforts are recognized and valued by the company.

No matter how much employee input you solicit, and regardless of the training and support you provide, your job as technology cheerleader never ends. In fact, Elles notes that he recently had to remind one of his key managers to go to the company's intranet to find a document. Says Elles, "You have to reinforce [this with] employees all the time."

Contact Sources

Caster Technology Corp., (800) 627-2008, http://www.castertech.com

Hyper Tech Inc., (501) 745-2882, http://www.hypertech.net

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This article was originally published in the November 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Not-So-Basic Training.

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