Having your Integrated Risk Management (IRM) solution perfectly tailored to your unique needs is critical to success, but it’s not the only factor—there’s one more: employee adoption. If employees don’t readily adopt your new platform, you won’t realize the results you’re looking for. So how can you win in the adoption game? Simple: good training with reinforcement by leadership. Read on for what to look for in a training program so that your IRM software implementation will be a success.
Why is IRM software training so critical?
Once you implement your IRM solution, the next step is to get users on the software. We all know that change is hard, even when it’s wanted and needed. The good news is training people isn’t rocket science. And if you’ve involved stakeholders in the design and testing process, you’ve created a platform that you know will work for the end users. At this point, a customized training program backed by encouragement from leadership is all you need to propel your business forward.
Before we dive into your options when it comes to IRM software training, let’s look at what can happen if you skip or go light on training:
Two common pitfalls of skipping training
Errors and backtracking
Pretend you’ve rolled out new accounting software. It’s user friendly, so you ask users to dive right in and create invoices. But you haven’t explained how to use the categories drop-down menu, which worked differently in the last system, so some people choose the wrong category and others skip it entirely. Only later when someone tries to pull a report by category is the gap revealed, causing frustration and rework to fix the errors.
An IRM system is similar in that it (should be) user friendly, but there are details that need to be communicated in order for the system to do what you want it to do.
Training is often an afterthought, but it shouldn’t be. You will invest money and time building a platform to reduce your risk exposure and make your entire compliance management program more efficient, so taking the time to explain how to use it properly is a no-brainer. What’s more, the effort needs to be championed by leadership to impress upon the team the importance of adopting the new system—including completing the training. This is particularly important for the laggards and naysayers. Everyone needs to be invested in the new system.
A disconnect between users and leadership
In addition to teaching how to use the software, your training program should align users and leadership. Here are a couple of ways you can approach this:
- Bridge the gap between what leadership thinks about the software and how the users perceive it by reinforcing the “why” behind the software.
- Recognize the stakeholders who invested their time and input into the project and represented their peers.
- Remind your end-users that they were represented in the design process by someone from their team.
The value of this bridge-building is immense. Training with loopholes further divides and disconnects stakeholders and users. It can wrongly lead users to create fragmented flavors of the same implementation without proper direction and strategy.
The bottom line is formal training ensures the success of your IRM implementation.
What are the training options available to someone purchasing IRM software?
IRM platform training should be customized to meet your unique needs and platform design. Your vendor should assess your business, the end-users and the training needed, then proposes some options for you to choose from. Here are the most popular ones:
In-person training allows users to learn in real-time. It can take place in person or virtually. Expect a mix of informational slides and working live inside the platform using dummy (fake) data.
- Gets everyone in one place at one time.
- Gives them an opportunity to ask questions and have discussions.
- In-person training programs are completed in a fixed window of time, so slower learners may have difficulty keeping up and faster learners may be bored.
- There is a recurring cost associated with conducting these training sessions time and again for newer employees.
- Limited flexibility in terms of availability and accessibility.
A user guide is a document instructing how to use the platform, step by step. Typically, the guide is used to augment training rather than as a single mechanism to train your team.
- User guides are a great reference guide that people can quickly refer to when they forget how to perform a task.
- The document has a long life and can be used by employees who join the team after the training.
- Not all users enjoy reading as a learning mechanism.
- If not well organized, it can be difficult to find the task one is looking for.
- A written guide for a complex system is extremely lengthy and dense, which makes it unlikely that someone will read the whole thing.
Virtual self-paced online training
The most popular choice for large organizations is self-paced pre-recorded virtual training. This is also referred to as a learning management system or “LMS”. This kind of training program includes multiple learning formats like images and animated videos to cater to the diverse learning needs of your team.
- Learners have the option of consuming and grasping content at their own pace and can come back to it time and again as they need to.
- Virtual LMS-style training is evergreen and can be redistributed to new employees joining an organization to get them up to speed with your IRM software.
- Virtual training modules can be updated quickly and inexpensively to reflect software or task changes.
- Since these sessions are pre-recorded, they are available and accessible easily for users.
- Managers can track learning progress through server logs. It’s easy to see employees who took the training and when.
- Attendance is self-motivated and will require some oversight to ensure everyone completes it in a timely manner.
- Learning is done individually, so people don’t have the opportunity to learn from questions that others ask.
Which training format should you choose?
The objective of the training is to make it easy for end-users to understand the ideal way of using IRM software. Here is a set of considerations for choosing your training format:
- How does your organization usually train people? Is there a cultural precedent?
- What do your employees need in their training? (Hint: it’s effective to start by surveying users.)
- Do you want one-time training or evergreen training? How likely is it that you’ll have new staff to train later on?
- Will your users need to replay learning content and access it regularly?
- Do you want to be able to evolve and modify the training content over time?
How should the training be structured for high engagement and best results?
Regardless of the training tool you select, the training day structure is also worth consideration. It’s critical for you as the organization to communicate with your IRM software vendor about your needs (today’s and anticipated future needs) and plan who’ll speak at the training session.
While every session is different, you can expect these three components:
- An introduction to the software and the “why” behind the implementation, including the desired impact on the business and end-users. This may be best delivered by someone from your leadership team or one of the stakeholders who were part of the design and implementation.
- Real-life examples with videos and animations of how the software should be used.
- This should be followed by practical teaching where the users get hands-on inside the software and learn a step-by-step action, such as selecting an option and entering specific information.
Adopting IRM software is a big change that will impact your people and organization. The right training program can help you ease users into the change and get them excited about it. Now that you know what to expect, what your options will be, and what you can do to make the transition smoother, you are in a better position to discuss and organize the training with your vendor.
What does Karta offer?
At Karta, we offer virtual LMS self-paced online training. We find this advantageous for our clients because it:
- Supports new users who may have missed a scheduled class.
- Supports occasional users seeking a “refresher”.
- Acts as a reference guide.
- Can be easily updated to absorb the annual enhancements to our solution.
For clients who must comply with NERC regulations, we couple this LMS training with the use of NERC labelling inside our software to aid in user adoption.