I have a friend who recently purchased an “old school” SLR digital camera. (It seems weird to say “old school” and “digital” in the same sentence.) To achieve her desired goals with this camera, she’s got to learn how to manage light, shutter speed, manual focus, apertures and more. She told me, though, that the learning curve will be entirely worth it when she can finally capture the quality photos that she desires.
In order to learn all the new whistles and bells on this camera, my friend has decided to take several classes from a local photographer. Otherwise, she knows she’ll just end up using it as a glorified cell phone camera.
So, in a way, she is investing twice in her new camera: 1) the camera itself and, 2) the training to use it properly. Another way to put it: she is improving her return-on-investment (ROI) through training.
Friends, I would argue that you need to take the exact same approach with your document management system! You know as well as I do that if you don’t commit to training people how to use your DMS, your ROI on that fancy new system will tank. And you can’t just do some intense launch trainings and expect usage to take off. DMS systems are complex and your trainings need to change people’s lifelong habits. Further, you need to indoctrinate every new employee in your DMS protocols.
I’m going to share several ways that you might incorporate training into your firm to improve the ROI on your DMS, but first, let’s get one giant roadblock out of the way…
“DMS Training is Too Expensive”
I’ve done the math and it ain’t true. A robust, cloud-based, fully supported and continuously updated LMS probably costs a fraction of what you spend on your DMS. In fact, similar to buying a warrantee on that fancy camera for a fraction of the full cost of the camera, you could see the cost of an LMS as a warrantee on securing the best ROI on your DMS.
Additionally, the training-is-expensive argument misses the forest for the trees. If you don’t invest in DMS training, you’re probably throwing away thousands of dollars annually on a system that your people don’t know how to use. Wouldn’t you rather invest a few dollars per person per month in training so that those people use your DMS properly? (Not to mention the cost losses when you have to explain inefficiencies to clients: aka “write-offs.”)
How to Use Training to Improve Your DMS ROI
With a relatively small investment in a learning management system (make sure it comes fully loaded and continuously updated with training materials that serve your specific DMS), you can easily offer the following DMS trainings:
Launch: A robust, fully loaded LMS will have all the materials you need to train your staff to use the DMS in advance of the launch. Further, for employees who miss trainings or who need extra help, serving their needs is as easy as pressing a button and sending them the necessary materials.
Ongoing Learning Paths: This is the strategy that will ultimately improve the ROI on your DMS. Using an LMS that comes fully loaded with training materials for your DMS, you can assign customized learning paths for your employees, and track their participation and success rates. Don’t want to burden the attorneys with obscure techniques that only their admins need to know? Then create a track just for admins. Need to make sure your real estate division understands how to file their unique documents? Create and assign a webinar just for them!
In-Class: Use the LMS to support in-class trainings that you offer across departments, offices, states and countries, depending on the size of your firm. (This assumes a cloud-based LMS, which should be a fundamental requirement of any LMS you choose.)
In-Person: Need to visit an employee at her desk to help with a specific task? Pull up a quick reference guide on her desktop to facilitate learning.
Quarterly Update Trainings: Every legitimate DMS comes out with quarterly updates. Every legitimate LMS provider should provide you with training materials prior to those quarterly updates as part of your subscription.
New Hire Orientation: Using an LMS, you can create new-hire training paths, including DMS protocols, assuring that every new employee is indoctrinated properly in the ways of the firm.
Your firm needs 100% user adoption of its document management system. I believe this will never happen without an ongoing, easily managed, easily digestible training program. Simply put: the investment you make in a DMS needs to include a parallel investment in training, or you’re throwing money away.
If you have thoughts or questions about this article, I’d love to hear from you! Doug@SavvyTraining.com, 303-800-5408