How to train staff to use your new HR software

When deploying a new payroll software or HR software package, one of the most critical factors in the project will be training users in the new technology.

If people don’t use the software, the investment will be a write-off, warns Brian Bennyworth, group HR director at UK-based housing association LHA-ASRA.

Use champions
“My first advice is to get buy-in from champions across the business at a very early stage of the project,” says Bennyworth. “If they’re involved in the functions and look of the HR software, and their feedback is taken on board, they’re more likely to feed back a positive message to their colleagues.”

Pitch it correctly
Second, remember that you are going to be training business users – not technical experts or necessarily HR experts. Look for training that will deliver at an appropriate level for each department, and relate to how they will actually use the HR software on a daily basis.

But at the same time, don’t pitch IT training too high, particularly if employees have previously relied on paper-based processes.

“I’ve worked on training programmes where the trainer starts talking about how to access data on the system, and employees don’t really know the difference between a CD-Rom and a DVD,” says David Bradshaw, an analyst at technology group IDC.

Get the mix right
Online, or e-learning, is a cost-effective way of deploying training to large numbers of people, and involves using a combination of computer-based simulations and quizzes to familiarise users with new technology.

This training can also be done in bite-sized modules that workers can complete at their own convenience.

However, research shows that knowledge retention in such training is lower than for training delivered ‘live’, so a blended approach combining real and virtual training is probably most effective.

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