Training is the key to productivity

Training is the key to productivity and how you train matters.

One of my friends, Asif Rehmani, is passionate on this topic and blogs and speaks on it often.  However, that’s not what reminded me of this. I was on vacation with my family recently, and we were at a resort where we had an opportunity to take a sailing lesson, a golf lesson, and a tennis lesson. Both the golf lesson and the tennis lesson had similar styles of instruction, while they were quite different than the sailing lesson. Let me compare them like this:

Instruction Type 1 is 30 minutes of lecture including demos and Q&A followed by an opportunity to practice said skills independently without the instructor either right after or book time for the following day to practice those skills.

Instruction Type 2 is 45 minutes of skill drill focused on a small number of specific skills, plus a brief lecture at the end to frame the skills in the larger context.

 It should be a surprise to no-one that Type 2 provides superior results. It is well established (but don’t ask me to cite my sources, though I bet Asif could provide references) that information retention from a lecture diminishes rapidly as soon as the student leaves the classroom.  In public speaking, there is an all-too-true saying that your audience won’t remember what you said but will remember how you made them feel.  Of course, what we need is for people to actually retain and use what we teach.  Start with the fundamentals – fundamental productivity behaviors.

Do people in your organization know how and why to share links instead of sending documents as email attachments?

Do people in your organization know that multiple people can edit the same document/spreadsheet/PowerPoint deck at the same time? Do they know why that is helpful?

Do people in your organization know how to schedule and conduct meetings and track action items? Is there any consistency – technical and cultural norms – about how they do this?

Do you monitor and try to improve your organization’s productivity score?

In the M365 Admin Center, look at the Productivity Score report. Consider what campaigns you can do to improve the adoption of collaboration behaviors that increase productivity.

To drive better adoption of Office 365, you need to have ongoing communication/marketing campaigns for these fundamental modern productivity behaviors. You need to frame the messages in a context that is meaningful to the recipient. You need to distribute these messages via multiple channels to increase the likelihood of getting through to the end users. That will at least help with the A, D, and K in ADKAR (Awareness, Desire, and Knowledge). The challenge is, will the knowledge be kept long enough for the person to have it at their Moment of Need? If not, will it be easy for the user to find the bite-size training that they need in that moment?

These campaigns need to be ongoing and cyclical so that new employees get the same training and build the same knowledge that existing employees have. By repeating the messages, they are reinforced with existing employees too. Remember, the brain acts like a muscle, and the more it practices productivity behaviors, the more natural they become.