Gene Gander, VP Business Development Americas for WiseTech Global, focuses on the role of continual education and staff productivity.
Do you remember being in your first year of high school, sitting at your desk and listening to a teacher drone on, scrambling to memorise swathes of information that didn't make much sense? Then sitting in the exam and realising that you had forgotten almost everything you were supposed to understand and retain?
Most of us do... Unfortunately, that's how many companies still attempt to train their staff on technology. Corporate or HR arranges a two-day course, team members are flown in and talked at for hours and everyone crosses their fingers in the vain hope that the information somehow sticks. If a new person starts a week later, they just have to wait or get partly recalled, second or third-hand information passed down by a colleague 'when they are available'.
It's time-consuming, expensive, and worst of all, it really doesn't work.
New staff members, regular software updates and busy minds means that including on-going training in your annual plans is essential to improve staff output, job satisfaction and customer service. In this viewpoint I'm going to share how we approached this at WiseTech Global, and the factors we considered.
Begin with the end in mind
It's like learning to drive a car. Initially you have no idea what you're doing. You need to think about the steering wheel, brakes, accelerator, mirrors and heaven help you if you're learning on a manual. How many times did you stall those first few weeks? But then the time comes where you have repeated the steps so many times that it becomes second nature – and more than that, it becomes a pleasure. You put the windows down and radio up loud then feel the sun on your face as you hit the open roads.
It's the same with learning a new software system, and that's why we focused on two key concepts: enable and empower.
We have developed a truly functional and powerful product suite to enable our customers, but that alone is not enough. Customers also need a way to engage and empower their staff to learn and become fluent in the deeper capabilities and the advanced productivity and automation tools. A self-paced, easy to access and comprehensive content-driven eLearning platform creates just that deep empowerment. CargoWise One, and built-in real world self-paced learning and practice via videos, workbooks, FAQs, How-To Guides and a fully maintained, live version of the product with all the training examples ready to run is exactly that empowering environment to develop skill and fluency.
Then we reward and recognise people by giving them and their employers professional certifications and powerful benefits and discounts. We focus our customers and staff on the benefits of gaining knowledge, skill and fluency in a powerful system which is able to transform their business and the careers of their staff.
The benefits for your team also benefit your bottom line and customers
Good staff will leave if they are not developed (and conversely, poorly trained staff may well stay and do great damage if they remain untrained). It is also important to recognise that creating skills and fluency are hugely valuable for the employer, not just for staff retention but also for performance, quality and growth of the business. Yes, you may well have to pay staff more as they develop their professional skills, because they have become much more valuable, but that value will almost certainly be much more than the small cost of recognising talented, skilled staff willing to develop themselves.
Our customer base abounds with productivity gain and business performance improvement driven by people on the ground with knowledge and experience in how to automate, simplify and drive business success. Simply put, there is no greater productivity gain than that of skilled, capable staff operating on a powerful, deeply functional platform like CargoWise One. The deep integration with customers and automation removes all the pain, friction and effort from the costly and repetitive day-to-day stuff that drags us back 'in the business' when we should be working 'on the business'.
The rise of eLearning
At WiseTech Global we have fully embraced eLearning, because it is scalable, flexible, convenient and simply more effective. Across the company we say "Lead with Content" with confidence and consistency. eLearning content is a key way we do this.
Gone are the long, frequent, sleep-depriving, global phone conferences, word-of-mouth hand-me-down knowledge transfer, rumor, repetition, reinterpretation and correction. We have banished painful face-to-face classroom training sessions repeatedly run in many locations and time zones, to transmit poorly understood and continuously reinterpreted knowledge in order to drive improvement. By having a suite of eLearning resources we know that our staff are all up-to-speed and this drives consistency and quality.