Blog Archives

Software Training Tips by a Talent Development Pro

by Chris Gilmore, VP of Training

Our company is launching a new property management system which means we need to train over 500 employees on the new system, this system impacts almost every single task they complete on a daily basis.

I have to say my experience over the last 15 years has been mostly focused on safety, leadership, supervisor, service and other soft skills training so developing a course for software training was a little intimidating for me.  All I kept thinking about was how do I make this engaging, how do I make sure they get it. I know when I learn software I need to do it in order to learn it.

Well, we just completed our first in person training class on the new software.  We had a total of 25 people for 4 days training on the new software and here are a couple things I learned along the way:

  • When you are teaching new software don’t forget the change management side of it, learning to use a new software is a change
    • We sprinkled change management activities throughout the session which included:
      • The signature preference exercise from MBTI where you sign your name with your dominant hand and then sign it with the other hand.  I asked the group to describe each experience.  When they signed with the non dominant hand  this is what it will feel like when you return.  I then asked them if they were getting a $5K bonus for writing their name with their non dominant hand would they get better at it?  How?  Practice, yes, that is what it will take in the new system.
      • We used the Bouncing Back from Adversity activity for an energizer and gave everyone a tennis ball to take home as a reminder. In fact, we realized tennis balls are great for getting knots out of your back!
      • We used Thiagi’s Thirty Five activity to generate ideas on how to stay positive and lead their teams through the change when they return to the office.
    • Spend time on hands on activities when you can, a training database is a really helpful tool!
    • Come up with some way to know when people are finished with individual activities, we had name plates that had red and green reflectors on them, red I’m still working, green I am ready to go on to the next thing
    • Build in time for technical issues
    • If the screen they are watching the trainer on is hard to see, run a Go-To-Meeting session the students can open on their own screens so they can watch it directly in front of them. We did this and it helped so much especially when we were looking at report.
    • We also created a theme for the roll out which helped us add some fun. Our theme was a Marathon.  Halfway through the training we provided them cool towels with our logo so they can make sure they stay cool when they return and start using the new software.

Throughout this process it was a great reminder to me of the power of brain breaks, and ensuring you are developing your course for the audience and that any topic can be fun to develop and deliver.

Chris Gilmore, Vice President of Training