KM and training (and Neil Perry)

Knowledge3I am writing this blog entry as I sit on a Qantas flight to Perth with my trusty MacBook, listening to my favourite classical music from iTunes, to present a range of KM training sessions for our Perth office and pondering whether it would be acceptable to approach Neil Perry two rows in front of me to tell him how much I enjoyed some recent meals at both the Spice Temple and the Rockpool Grill & Bar.

The sessions in Perth will range in topic from the use of advanced searches and the importance of corporate style manuals to the use of an online KM materials access interface I recently designed and implemented for my firm.

In my recent ‘KM and technology’ entry I made a brief reference to the importance of training and noted that it is imperative that you devote sufficient resources to training your employees in using your KM system and that you make sure they receive refreshing courses from time-to-time as appropriate!

Do yourself as you advise others

Therefore I am pleased to report that I am doing what I have been advising you to do. And the fact that I am on a five-hours flight to Perth is a great illustration of the significance placed on face-to-face KM training both by myself and my firm.

After all, you can only hope to achieve the expected productivity increases and costs saving from your KM system if your employees embrace it and incorporate it into their day-to-day work routine, and they will only do so if they are comfortable using it and are confident that they will be able to locate what they are looking for.

Training and support are the key

Creating and implementing a great KM system is a good start, employing emerging technologies to offer improved delivery and user-interface is a great choice, but failing to provide appropriate training support to your employees could be a fatal error and could lay to waste the money and time invested in setting up the system.

Resistance to change …

Employees can be resistant to change generally and in implementing an improved or new KM system you may need to be ‘relentlessly’ persuasive in your training efforts to make sure that no-one is left behind.

Leadership and empathy

As a KM professional you will need to take leadership to achieve full conversion and you will need a good dose of empathy so that you can identify and understand any barriers your colleagues may experience in embracing your KM system. You will also need to possess appropriate skills to design tailored training opportunities which can address and overcome those barriers.

Training is a continuous process

You must also remember that training and learning are a continuous process of improvement and they should never be thought of as a one-off event.

Group training, follow-up & one-on-one sessions

Introductory group training, while a good start, will need to be followed up in almost every circumstance. You should never assume that just because you got everyone into a room and provided very clear (as far as you are concerned) instructions (and even guidance materials) on how to use a system or resource that everyone will walk out of that room a subject matter expert.

You should always consider offering a follow-up session to deal with questions and issues that may arise post introductory training, whether it be a further formal group event or a more informal process.

You may even identify one-on-one training needs and you should certainly devote the time to identifying individuals who may benefit from further focused training in the spirit of ‘no-one should be left behind’.

Refreshers and new starts

You must also consider the need for ongoing refresher sessions and consider the training needs of new starts at your organisation.

… and on the subject of Neil Perry

After some consideration I concluded that it would be rude to bother Neil Perry, after all I suspect he is already well aware that his restaurants are well-respected and appreciated by many and being accosted by some stranger on a flight is something he can probably live without …

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