5 Signs Your Users Need IT Training

By Joe Aucott
May 24, 2024

As organisations increasingly depend on technology to streamline operations and drive growth, it is crucial to ensure that employees are up to date with using your IT tools effectively. Proper training not only helps employees stay updated with the latest technological advancements but also empowers them to utilise IT resources efficiently, boosting overall productivity and operational success.

IT is continuously advancing. New software, applications, and methodologies emerge regularly, requiring an ongoing effort to keep skills current. Despite these advancements, human error and lack of proficiency remain major obstacles to optimal IT performance.

Issues such as incorrect software usage, insufficient troubleshooting capabilities, and inefficient data handling are common problems that stem from inadequate training. These issues highlight the urgent need for robust and continuous IT training programs that can adapt to your business' growth and change, as well as the updates that regularly take place within the technology market.

1. Frequent Technical Support Requests


One of the most telling signs that your users need additional IT training is the frequency of technical support requests. Common support issues typically include

  • Software troubleshooting
  • Resolving connectivity problems
  • Setting up hardware
  • Handling basic IT tasks such as password resets or navigating new software interfaces.

These recurring problems indicate a gap in users’ understanding and proficiency with the tools and systems they are required to use daily.

Frequent technical support requests can place a significant burden on your IT department. When IT staff are constantly addressing basic issues, it detracts from their ability to focus on more complex and strategic tasks that could benefit the organisation in the long run. This not only affects the efficiency of the IT department but can also lead to longer resolution times for more critical issues, ultimately impacting overall productivity and user satisfaction.

Reducing the reliance on technical support through targeted training is crucial. Empowering users with the knowledge and skills to resolve common issues independently can significantly alleviate the pressure on IT resources. Training not only improves user confidence and efficiency but also enhances the overall productivity of the organisation by minimising downtime and ensuring smoother operations.

Several effective training methods can be employed to achieve this goal. Self-help guides are an excellent resource, providing step-by-step instructions for troubleshooting common problems. These guides can be made easily accessible through the company intranet or a dedicated knowledge base. Video tutorials offer another engaging and effective way to train users, allowing them to see demonstrations of procedures and follow along at their own pace. Interactive workshops and regular training sessions can provide hands-on experience and address specific user queries, further solidifying their understanding and capability to handle IT issues independently.

2. Inefficient Use of Software Tools


The second indicator that your users need additional IT training is the inefficient use of software tools. When employees are not fully proficient with the software they use daily, it leads to significant productivity losses. Tasks take longer to complete, and the potential benefits of advanced software features remain untapped, resulting in a considerable gap between the software’s capabilities and its actual use.

Common inefficiencies in software usage include not using keyboard shortcuts, failing to utilise templates, and overlooking advanced features that could streamline workflows. For instance, in a word processing program, users might manually format documents instead of using pre-set styles and templates, or in a spreadsheet application, they might not take advantage of data analysis tools and functions. These inefficiencies mean that employees are spending more time on tasks that could be completed more quickly and accurately with better knowledge of the software.

Identifying patterns of inefficiency can be achieved through user feedback and performance metrics. Regular surveys and feedback forms can highlight areas where users feel less confident or encounter frequent difficulties. Performance metrics, such as the time taken to complete standard tasks or the frequency of errors, can also provide valuable insights into where training is needed. Monitoring software usage logs can reveal which features are underutilised and help target specific areas for improvement.

To enhance software proficiency among users, several effective training strategies can be employed. Interactive workshops are particularly beneficial, as they allow users to learn and practice new skills in a guided setting, with the opportunity to ask questions and receive immediate feedback. Hands-on training sessions can focus on specific software tools, teaching users how to leverage advanced features and shortcuts that can save time and improve accuracy. Creating a repository of training materials, such as how-to guides and video tutorials, provides users with resources they can refer to as needed.

3. Low Adoption of New Technologies


The low adoption of new technologies is a strong indicator that your users need additional IT training. Implementing new IT tools and systems is essential for staying competitive and improving efficiency, but these benefits can only be realised if users embrace and effectively utilise the new technologies.

One of the primary challenges in adopting new IT tools is resistance to change. Users often feel comfortable with familiar systems and may perceive new technologies as disruptive. This resistance can manifest in various ways, such as outright refusal to use the new tools, frequent complaints about the changes, or a noticeable decline in productivity as users struggle to adapt. Slow adoption may also be indicated by the continued reliance on outdated systems despite the availability of new, more efficient alternatives.

Training plays a crucial role in facilitating smooth transitions to new technologies. Effective training can alleviate fears and uncertainties, demonstrating the value and benefits of the new tools while building user confidence in their ability to use them. Without adequate training, users are likely to experience frustration, leading to errors and reduced productivity, which can ultimately negate the intended benefits of the new technology.

Several training approaches can help ensure successful adoption of new technologies. Phased training programs are particularly effective, gradually introducing users to new tools and features over time, allowing them to build their skills incrementally without becoming overwhelmed. This approach can include initial basic training followed by more advanced sessions as users become more comfortable.

4. Misusing IT Equipment and Software


Misuse of company resources is a clear sign that your users need additional IT training. This misuse can take various forms, such as downloading unauthorised software, using personal devices for work tasks, or mismanaging company data. Such behaviours not only compromise the efficiency of IT operations but also expose the organisation to significant risks.

One of the primary concerns with the misuse of company resources is the potential security risks it introduces. Unauthorised software can be a vector for malware, leading to data breaches and system compromises. Using personal devices for work can bypass security controls, making it easier for sensitive information to be leaked or stolen. Improper handling of company data can result in data loss, corruption, or unauthorised access, which can have severe legal and financial consequences.

Compliance issues are another major concern. Many industries have strict regulations regarding data protection and software usage. Non-compliance due to misuse of resources can lead to hefty fines, legal penalties, and damage to the organisation’s reputation. Ensuring that all employees adhere to company policies and regulatory requirements is crucial for maintaining compliance and avoiding these risks.

Identifying patterns of misuse involves careful monitoring and regular audits. Monitoring tools can track software installations, usage patterns, and access logs to detect unauthorised activities. Regular audits of these logs and systems can reveal trends and highlight areas where misuse is prevalent. User feedback and incident reports can also provide insights into potential misuse.

Effective training programs are essential to promote the proper use of company resources. Policy refreshers can remind employees of the importance of adhering to IT policies and the potential consequences of misuse. These refreshers should be conducted regularly to ensure that all users are up-to-date with the latest guidelines and best practices.

Hands-on training sessions can also be highly effective. These sessions can demonstrate the correct use of company resources, provide practical examples of common misuse scenarios, and offer strategies to avoid these pitfalls. Interactive workshops can engage users more effectively, ensuring that they understand and retain the information.

5. Regular Security Issues & Concerns


Regular security issues within your network is a significant sign that your users need additional IT training. This lack of engagement with your security policies can manifest in various ways, such as ignoring security updates, bypassing security measures, or failing to follow established procedures. When users do not actively participate in maintaining security protocols, they inadvertently put the organisation at risk.

The consequences of non-compliance with security protocols can be severe. Ignoring security updates can leave systems vulnerable to exploits and malware, while bypassing security measures such as multi-factor authentication can open the door to unauthorised access. These actions can lead to data breaches, financial losses, and damage to the organisation’s reputation. Non-compliance can result in legal and regulatory penalties, particularly in industries with stringent data protection requirements.

To increase user engagement and compliance with security protocols, several methods can be employed. Gamification of training is an effective strategy that involves incorporating game-like elements such as points, badges, and leaderboards into security training programs. This approach makes learning more engaging and motivates users to participate actively. For example, users can earn points for completing training modules or following best practices, which can be tracked and rewarded.

Incentives for adherence can also significantly boost engagement. Recognising and rewarding users who consistently comply with security protocols can encourage others to follow suit. Incentives can range from simple acknowledgements in company communications to more substantial rewards such as bonuses or additional time off.

Get Ahead by Spotting The Signs

Recognising the signs that indicate a need for user training is crucial for maintaining an efficient and secure IT environment. These signs include frequent technical support requests, inefficient use of software tools, low adoption of new technologies, misuse of company resources, and low engagement with security protocols.

Proactive and ongoing training is essential to address these issues. By continuously educating and empowering users, organisations can enhance productivity, reduce risks, and foster a culture of security awareness.

IT leaders should assess their current training programs, identify gaps, and make necessary improvements. Investing in comprehensive training initiatives will yield significant long-term benefits, including a more knowledgeable and capable workforce.

Fostering a security-conscious culture within the organisation requires commitment and effort. By prioritising user training and promoting continuous learning, organisations can create a resilient and secure IT environment that supports their overall success.

Joe Aucott