The Role of IT Training for Security and Efficiency
The integration of technology into business operations is no longer a luxury, but a requisite for maintaining competitiveness even among the newest and smallest businesses. This advancement comes with its own set of challenges—chief among them being the potential for insufficient IT training for employees.
By IT training, we mean everything from cyber security protocols (our bread and butter) but also training on your standard office software, such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Outlook, to get the best bang for your buck. If you’re in the Microsoft universe, you probably also use Microsoft Teams to an extent, and there’s some great tips that will help facilitate the best video calls, adding professional credibility to your business. This article delves into the multifaceted benefits of good quality, comprehensive IT training, beyond simply ‘getting by’.
The Risks of Inadequate IT Training: Security, Productivity, and Compliance
At any time, any member of your team can inadvertently expose your business to cyber threats, compromising crucial data. Much like an unguarded fortress, a team untrained in safe device use is susceptible to external threats. Lack of awareness about phishing emails, insecure passwords, or unsafe browsing practices can lead to breaches that put your sensitive data and intellectual property at risk.
Failure to adhere to data protection and industry-specific guidelines may lead to significant legal repercussions, including hefty fines and damage to your organisation’s reputation. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, and failing to comply with data protection and other relevant regulations due to a lack of training could have severe legal implications for your business.
Conflict in the office and drops in productivity
An employee not well-versed in IT is a cog in a machine that doesn’t quite fit; that equals frustration and downtime for both the individual needed extra support, and their colleagues relying on everything running smoothly. A lack of IT proficiency doesn’t only impact the individual; it has a trickle-down effect on the entire team. Next comes reduced productivity but also creates a ripple effect of inefficiency across the system. Even a single untrained employee can lead to project delays, reduced quality of work, and increased tension among colleagues.
Benefits of Training on Employee Performance and Retention
Enhanced performance, morale, confidence and collaboration
Well-trained employees are not just more proficient; they are also more likely to engage in best practices that improves the efficiency of the entire operation. Employees with an adequate level of regular training feel empowered, competent, and valuable, leading to increased job satisfaction and higher morale within the team.
Effective use of technology can facilitate seamless communication and collaboration among team members, even those working remotely. This leads to more streamlined operations and improved outcomes. A team well-versed in leveraging technology can give your business a competitive advantage. Good quality training could also afford your business a competitive edge by ensuring your staff will be more agile, adapting to changes in the marketplace more rapidly than competitors who lag in this area.
Lower Operational and Costs
Training can also lead to lower long-term operational costs by increasing efficiency and reducing the need for external technical support or frequent software-related disruptions. A trained employee is less likely to make costly mistakes, whether it’s falling for a phishing scam or mishandling client data, thereby reducing business risks. When employees feel that they are growing and being valued through effective training programs, they are more likely to stay with your company, thus reducing turnover costs and retaining internal expertise.
Actionable Strategies for Addressing Insufficient IT Training
1. Conduct a Skills Assessment
Before embarking on a training program, it’s crucial to know where the gaps lie. Consider conducting an audit through surveys or direct interviews to assess current skill levels and identify areas for improvement. Start at the very beginning of device use, things that you may do automatically but some of your team need support with the basics, this is often overlooked and the exact method of attack by cyber criminals.
2. Develop Custom Training Programs
Based on the skills assessment, tailor your training programs to meet the specific needs of your employees. External consultants or accredited online courses could be viable options for this. If you use an IT support company, ask them what training materials they include in their service. Clearsky IT has a range of Microsoft 365 training guides, as well as customisable training on their customer portal.
3. Institute a Culture of Continuous Learning
In a fast-paced digital world, continuous learning should be an integral part of your company culture. Make educational resources available and create an environment where ongoing training is encouraged and rewarded.
One of the best ways to implement and get company-wide adoption for new training plans is to have selected employees ‘own’ the training and ensure each member of the team has the necessary support to work through the training modules. Clearsky IT’s customer training portal can send progress reports to key stakeholders so nobody falls through the cracks.
4. Utilise High-Quality Online Resources
Consider leveraging established educational platforms like Coursera or LinkedIn Learning to supplement your internal training programs. There’s some gems to be found, and some of them aren’t very expensive when compared with the cost of creating courses from scratch. If you need help selecting the right training materials for you and your organisation, ask the professionals at Clearsky IT. While you’re at it, take a look at all of the free learning resources on the Knowledge Centre – the guides are free to download and print!
5. Periodic Review and Updating
It’s essential to review the effectiveness of your training programs periodically and update them as necessary to adapt to emerging technologies and practices. Keeping up with the fast-paced digital world is a full time job (and we love it!) so enlist the help of IT professionals to ensure your team remains sharp and on top of their personal development.
Investing in adequate IT training is not an option but a requirement in the modern business landscape. It safeguards your organisation against multiple risks and fosters a more efficient and harmonious work environment. For additional plans tailored specifically for small and medium enterprises, please explore our Clearsky IT solutions.
The return on investment for comprehensive IT training is substantial, offering benefits that extend from enhanced security to improved team cohesion and employee retention. Don’t sleep on your team’s IT training: bridge the IT training gap to stay ahead from the rest.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes and should not be considered a substitute for professional advice specific to your business needs.
5th December 2023
Learn about the saga of the PSTN switch-off in the UK, and explore why running your business without a phone is not only possible, but an opportunity for communication evolution.
28th November 2023
Discover essential strategies for securing your Facebook presence, both personal and professional. Unveil potential risks, and fortify your profile against hackers with expert tips.
22nd November 2023
The latest Microsoft Teams updates can boost productivity for your business. This week our blog takes a quick look the new features including speed improvements, a streamlined interface and intelligent meeting functionality.