Insights from practitioners in Information Management

Issue 112 – Training during times of change

Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough.
Alain de Botton

 We can all be guilty of thinking we don’t have enough time to do everything we have to do now, let alone undertake any kind of additional training. But now is exactly the time you should be considering training, because by the time you have “time” …

 Technology has changed, and as a result

•Our clients’ needs are changing
•We have less money and more to do with what is left
•We have less staff than we had so everyone needs to do more
It may be a cliché, but change is the only constant. If we cannot remain relevant to our jobs and more importantly to our clients, then we will soon be out of a job ourselves.

Then the thoughts regarding – I wish I’d done more training when it was offered, will become apparent.


•Have you been asked to take on additional duties?
•Have you had new software installed at your work place?
•Are you offering more services to your clients?
•Will you be offering more services to your clients within the next 12 months?
•Are you confident in your skills and abilities?
If you had to show a prospective client around your premises, would you be able to explain confidently what it is you do? And what your organisation does? Would you be able to describe in detail what your section did if you had to give a presentation?

Obviously training needs vary from person to person and from organisation to organisation. But in simple terms, training needs exist where there is a gap between the knowledge, skills and attributes required by an organisation and those already possessed by employees. This is determined by conducting a Training Needs Analysis.

There are many reasons why a training needs analysis should be undertaken, including:

•Introduction of new technology: As we have mentioned previously, new software, and especially those kinds of software that impacts on our jobs at every level will need training and usually across the organisation. For example telephone systems, email, workflow, document management (electronic and / or paper based systems) etc. Whilst training on the new system will be required it may also highlight associated training needs. For example, moving from a largely paper based office environment (are there any of those anymore?) to an electronic environment, will mean users will need training on the new system as well as the associated systems, for example word processing and Email, as well as learning the importance of business classification and retention and disposition of business records. As our working lives become more inter-woven with software, so our training requirements will increase (at least in the short-term).
•Change in Job Descriptions (New Duties): As we mentioned earlier, as our duties change, so does our need for new / additional training.
•To improve productivity and safety issues: by teaching people new skills and processes.
•To improve product lines or fill gaps in the market: Businesses that do not build or adapt to the ever changing needs of the market place will rarely stay in business over the long term. And as we have seen, there have been a lot of established organisations and companies who are struggling at the moment. We are of course not saying that some of these people did not try and improve product lines or fill gaps, the current economic crisis is re-writing the business landscape in ways most of us had never envisaged.  
“Training should be directly linked to the organisational training needs analysis. Training needs to be focused on a clearly identified business problem. The more focused the training on the actual needs of the business, the higher the return that the firm will experience from its investments in training.” P14 Return on investment in training: an introduction. Andrew Smith – published in NCVER: Return on investment in training: Research readings, Australian National Training Authority, 2001.  

We should never train for training sake, but we should always ensure every person who is working with you and for you, has the right training for purpose

Kind Regards