The pattern for the last decade has been such that tech spending grows more and more every year, and new solutions are debuted all the time to help solve common business problems. With all the advancements, it seems as if entrepreneurs and employees should have everything they need to be highly productive and yield significant ROI for their efforts. But more technology doesn’t always equate to more efficiency. In fact, there’s quite a dichotomy when it comes to investments in technology training.
The Fork in the Training Road
Some companies have prioritized tech training and others haven’t. The scary part of this is what it could mean for U.S.-based companies. As Megan Smith, former Google executive, said, “There are going to be 1.4 million tech and I.T. jobs coming within the next decade and only 400,000 trained people to fill them.”
So why do some companies make financial and strategic investments in tech training, while there’s a complete lack of proper training in other organizations? The answer isn’t entirely clear, but it could be about the mindsets held at the top. Case in point: Harvard Business Review found that “only one in four senior managers report that training is critical to business outcomes.” This means that only 25 percent of business leaders put any sort of real value on employee education, including technology training. Conversely, there are leaders like Iliad’s CEO Xavier Niel who believe so strongly in the value of tech that he launched School 42, which provides free tech education, and Peter Thiel who created The Thiel Fellowship which offers a two-year program with a $100,000 grant for selected young promising entrepreneurs.
Most tech-savvy people would agree with the mindset held by these types of leaders who prize technology. But it’s worth a deeper look to explain just why tech training is so important.
Instant Knowledge for Entrepreneurs
Technology can be immensely useful to budding business owners, but only if they’re able to implement it quickly and spend minimal time learning how to use it. Most entrepreneurs are stretched thin across a variety of roles, so taking lengthy lessons in software just isn’t possible. The good news is that micro-learning has taken hold, and is available through a variety of channels.
By going online to watch short video tutorials that teach one specific skill at a time, entrepreneurs can quickly glean understanding without devoting a lot of time or resources. They can learn how to navigate accounting software, create automated marketing campaigns, better manage — and utilize — available resources and much more by simply spending less than an hour at a time watching videos.
One company that does a great job empowering entrepreneurs in this way is Amway. By offering a range of quick, easily-digested video tutorials as well as more extensive tech education to its Independent Business Owners, Amway equips them with everything they need to succeed. Other entrepreneurs who don’t have a parent organization like Amway to offer resources to them can still mirror the same type of learning by finding micro-learning training courses on their own.
Properly Equipped Employees
Other companies are finding creative ways to prepare their internal teams to use and maximize technology. Accenture found that several businesses in Canada have amplified their ROI of training by combining in-person and technology training. They show a short but detailed video on a specific skill and then give the employee a chance to watch someone else perform the same task. Finally, the trainee gets an opportunity to give it a try. This is a blended learning approach and has been met with much success.
As technology continues to progress, it’s imperative that companies use tech and in-person training to teach employees how to effectively adopt new systems. And similarly, entrepreneurs can tap into all the micro-learning that’s available in order to master new technology and move their own businesses forward. Let’s make this the new norm for businesses and leave a lack of training in the past.