This third and final installment of the three-part blog series, “Best Practices in Training: The Key to a Successful ERP Implementation,” will discuss Evaluation, an important process in making sure training is improved and updated for maximum effectiveness throughout a company.
When measuring the success of your Training Plan, make sure you not only evaluate and solicit the opinions of the users and their view points of the training’s success, but also evaluate the knowledge retention of users in the areas trained.
For example, you can use a survey to solicit feedback from users where they comment or rate, based on a scale, on the effectiveness of the training. When developing this survey, make sure to include the following elements:
- What worked well in the class as well as what did not
- What topics/information were most and least relevant
- What areas need more training or information
- Accuracy of the information and the training documentation
- Which presentation techniques were most and least effective
To evaluate the knowledge retention, consider developing a test or quiz. You can use a formal written test, or simply a hands-on exam where the user demonstrates to the manager how to do a certain process on the system. By using this blended approach for evaluations, companies can minimize the pressure put on its training program to assure a successful ERP implementation. Make sure that the expectations of the users are clearly expressed up front. Pop-quizzes, tests, and evaluations can be useful in certain scenarios; however, avoid sending a negative message to users who may be struggling with the new systems or processes. The primary goal of the evaluation is to improve the training plan for future employees and to identify areas that need further training.
Evaluation is so important because it assures the success of a training program by showing the company if additional training is needed for certain employees or if more documentation is required. If surveys and evaluations are collected, but no follow-up plan is put in place, the evaluation phase of your training plan is likely to fail. Make sure that your evaluation plans are used not only to assess the effectiveness of end-user training, but also to evaluate the documentation and train-the-trainer phases of your Training Plan.
Undeniably, ERP implementations are challenging and there are plenty of moving parts where things can go wrong. However, training should never be an after-thought. Remember, implementing an ERP can easily cost millions for some companies or a significant portion of their capital expenditures for others. If an enterprise fails to train its user base on how to fully use the ERP system, this sizable investment will largely be wasted. Nor will the efficiency benefits of the ERP system be realized if users do not have a clear understanding of how to use the system. That is why training should always be a priority from the beginning of any implementation project and why RSM’ training motto rings so true: “Invest in your People, not just in Software.”