It’s the time of year when every business, organization and family holiday card shares news about the past year with hopes for the coming year. I thought it might be fun to reach out to a few law firm trainers and find out how their 2016 fared and what they hope to accomplish in 2017. I think many other trainers and law firm human resources personnel will be able to relate to the frustrations and hopes below.
Our participants for this Year in Review article were:
- Janine Nash, Technical Trainer, Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C.
- Maritta Terrell, Trainer and Application Support Specialist, Lloyd Gosselink Rochelle & Townsend, P.C.
- Dipo Adesina, IT Training Specialist, Whiteford Taylor Preston LLP
Our questions and their answers follow…
For the year 2016…
What were some of your biggest accomplishments in terms of training at your firm?
- We had a major upgrade of equipment and software, including training of all staff, and we only faced the normal, typical issues for an upgrade of this size.
- We set up Learning Plans for the various positions in administration, as well as for paralegals and secretaries to accomplish from June 2016 through June 2017. This achievement included management support and input.
- Promoting the use of our LMS for learning.
- Implementing portions of new hire training through the LMS.
- Establishing training! I came on board Jan 4, 2016. Prior to my arrival, there hadn’t been a training specialist here in 10 years. Having a full-time trainer on board has kick-started the firm’s training program tremendously.
- Time to train for both trainer and trainee due to turnover and extra work loads.
- Convincing individuals to contact the Help Desk/Trainer when needed, and not waiting until they are totally frustrated!
- Providing training based on job type.
- My first challenge was to evaluate what was in place and then to create an entirely new training system.
- Once I had a system figured out, I had to create a way to distribute and share our training materials across the firm’s 10 locations.
- We also launched several new technologies in 2016, so I was simultaneously creating a training system as we tried to train employees on new technologies.
- Emailing “Quick Tips” cards that fit on a postcard for convenience of printing/having readily available desk side.
- Posting flyers and Quick Tip cards in conspicuous areas i.e., Break Room.
- During quarterly staff meetings, we presented PowerPoints and quick 10-15 minute training opportunities based on popular “How To” Help Desk calls.
- People WANT to learn – when they need the information…. Not months before, but right then and there. Therefore, have quick “just in time” training ready for them.
- People want the “let me do it” training method. (They know that they need to do it in order to learn it better.) So, make sure your training accommodates this learning desire.
- Virtual learning is wonderful but some training initiatives require hands-on training and, even today, we face some push back about eLearning.
- Patience! It’s amazing how many times one person might call me to ask the same question over and over. I have to remember that they have other things going on, as well. Also, the population I’m primarily dealing with is older. We don’t have too many millennials here. Technology doesn’t come second nature to the people I serve, so I have to practice patience.
- I do anticipate new/upgrade software rollouts, but based on our experience in 2016, we expect no issues there. We do, however, plan to further develop learning paths for our staff and revamp our New Hire Training.
- We are rolling out Office 2016 in the late spring so I expect to offer trainings on the changes (we currently have Office 2010).
- Our biggest challenge is providing targeted training to a specific job title. We tend to focus more on admin or secretary training which is not adequate for associates and partners most of the time.
- The SavvyAcademy LMS just rolled out and that’s going to be a huge initiative for us. We have a lot of secretaries who have challenges in Word and Excel. They’ve never been trained. We’ll have to create a new culture around training in the firm.
- For new hires, extending training time and providing a “training mentor.”
- By developing more training methods:
- Meeting staff where they work: Impromptu training once a week. We’ve found that simply going to staff during the work-day presents training opportunities.
- Offer a scheduled, walk-in training once per week with specific topics but offering “open house” based on participation.
- Building out our existing Savvy Portal and making it more appealing for staff to use.
- With Savvy courses on Office 2016.
- My own videos of “tips and changes” – 2-3- minutes at most;
- Pre-rollout “marketing” such as, “Look what’s coming!” (I have yet to figure out a theme, but am working on that as well J!)
- Leverage the SavvyAcademy LMS.
- The HR director and I are creating a plan for 2017, making training mandatory as part of each person’s job requirement. Each person’s pay or bonus structure will include training as a component.
- A training lab on each floor with laptops
- Buy training room theme decorations (I have a whole list of ideas for an entire year!)
- Buy some fun give-aways for the rollout of Office 2016 to go along with the theme.
- Buy a license for each person to Lynda.com training.
- Monthly training sessions provided by Savvy for each job type that requires very little guidance from local IT/Training.
- A Lamborghini!
- We are already moving in the right direction. With the new LMS and more accountability through the HR connection, I expect training to make significant contributions to the firm in 2017.
What were some of your biggest training challenges?
Think of something you learned in 2016 and share advice with other trainers from that lesson.
Although finding time for formal training was difficult (outside of the upgrade training), we learned that you have to bloom where planted (so to speak). So, we provided other training methods:
For the year 2017…
What training challenges do you anticipate tackling in the coming year?
How will you tackle these challenges?
If you had a blank check and could buy anything you wanted with it, what would you purchase!
ABOUT SAVVY TRAINING AND CONSULTING
Savvy Training & Consulting works with leading companies and technologies to deliver the most up-to-date training solutions and curricula to law firms. Savvy recently unveiled an award-winning Learning Management System (LMS) for law firms, SavvyAcademyTM, which delivers scalable training capabilities, reportable data down to the individual user and 24/7 support, all for a fraction of the cost of traditional LMS services.