Blog Published: 14/01/2020

Blogger - Paul James

Supporting talent and skills: Productive from Day One

On board, not on trial
When a new member of staff joins a team, everybody has their fingers crossed. The employee wants to make that important first impression and contribute as quickly as possible to what the company does. The company wants to provide an encouraging welcome, but also wants to see quick evidence that its investment in what is effectively a new resource – possibly an expensive one – is going to produce a return; in line with expectations established at the numerous stages of the selection and interview process.

All this makes for a trying time on both sides of the relationship. Both sides are assessing each other. The employee is evaluating the company as much as the other way round. In today’s digital age, a company’s employees can be highly judgmental about the technology maturity within the company they work for: Is it up to scratch? Does it reflect the latest and the greatest methodologies and strategies for information management and exchange, collaboration, sharing, and productivity?

A connection needs to be made between the two, employee and employer, that confirms everyone’s confidence and meets everyone’s expectations. 

The experience store
Thankfully, it’s a case of software to the rescue; using technology to ease new staff onboarding and support continuous productivity, along with on-the-job, or just-in-time, guidance on software functionalities or even, on a different level, company procedures. 

- Discovering the company
In terms of company procedures, does a highly skilled new member of staff really want to be seen floundering with the fundamentals?  Asking how to fill in an expenses form or how the company’s reporting system works? Trying to navigate network drives, or working out how to scan in receipts, and other areas of detail that staff usually become familiar with over a period of time.

What if all company procedures, policies, and forms were available in a central repository; no need to waste timing asking around, simply log in, locate the information, and a new member of staff can gain the answers to all those hygiene factor issues without the embarrassment or inconvenience of looking like the new kid on the block. In the same way as they might ask where the stationery store is, they now need only ask one question when they join the company: Where’s all the company information I might ever need?

- Rediscovering software functionality
Whilst an employee might be assessing the new working environment he or she has arrived in, the company is also expecting high levels of competence in an employee’s ability to work with the mission-critical software applications core to its business; capabilities in 3D modelling, for example, and mastery of the many associated technologies around the Autodesk/Revit ecosystem. What a big ask that is. 

Just think about how deep and wide these technologies are and how multitudinous the capabilities within them, to say nothing of the short-cuts and canny ways there are to get jobs done faster and smarter. 

The most accomplished and experienced of individuals can forget things. While they may have the necessary skill or knowledge, they may find themselves suddenly having to use a particular functionality within the software that they have not had to use for some time. 

The knowledge retention span can let them down in such a situation. If it does, they face the unpalatable prospect of letting the company down. Engaged on their first project, perhaps on day one, their time has become billable, so it must be used productively. 

Supported staff are motivated staff
What choice does someone have in such a situation? There might, as the old adage goes, be no substitute for experience, but there is a repository for it. This is where the just-in-time aspect of knowledge refreshment comes in. In the same experience store that can house company information can be kept help, guidance, tutorials and even ‘cheat sheets’ on any one of a wide range of software applications most used in the construction sector. We support Pinnacle Series, the e-Learning tool specifically designed for the construction industry, as it provides just that.

In my experience this whole situation of effective staff onboarding – coupled with meeting staff expectations as much as an employer wants staff to meet company expectations – pivots on the extraordinarily complex skills portfolio we expect people to be in constant mastery of. Life just isn’t like that.

If you consider that it might take a day or two, sometimes up to a week, to get trained in new software (new either to a staff member or to the company). The lessons learned remain front of mind if the skills acquired are then called upon within a reasonable space of time from when the training took place. With each day or week that passes, there will be a degree of slippage. A steep learning curve can be a rocky road. It’s nice to think that the curve just points straight up; steep maybe, but relentlessly progressive. In real life, a real working situation, this is not always so:

Learning-Curve-(1).png

The dotted line above represents potential progress when a central repository of knowledge is easily accessible. Remove the dotted line and the journey slows down. Things gets forgotten and have to be relearned. Troughs of frustration appear along the way such that the curve can almost end up doubling back on itself, and progress recedes.

It may be just a minor aspect of the software functionality that has been forgotten but the time taken to then rekindle the lessons learned from a while back are where the productivity stumbles occur, time can be wasted, and project progress impacted. Once again, if the insight is available at a click of a button, the show goes on.

It's more than productivity, however, it’s about reassurance and confidence, again, on both sides of the relationship. Supported staff are motivated staff. When that support comes in a digital, online, easily accessible and interactive format, they feel part of a forward-thinking company. As they do, the company doesn’t just think forward, it moves forward.


Take a look at Pinnacle Series, which is an advanced e-Learning system for the construction sector. It allows you to load your own content – all those company procedures, polices and forms I mentioned – whilst also providing pre-loaded content that covers Autodesk, SketchUp, Adobe, Enscape, Ideate and a whole lot more.

About the author

  • Paul James

Paul James

Head of CAS & DMS

With over 20 years’ experience in sales, marketing and business development within the IT industry, Paul has a great understanding of technology and the value that it can bring to businesses. Joining Excitech from Networking and Unified Communications integrator Koris in 2019, Paul has helped businesses align their processes including looking at their proposition, management and forecasting to help them become more efficient and build strategies to achieve their goals. With this breadth of knowledge and skills, Paul is responsible for Document Management Solutions (DMS) at Excitech which improves clients' efficiency and reduces risk. He is also responsible for Excitech’s Capability & Adoption Solutions (CAS) proposition which combines technology and professional services to help customers achieve their business objectives.
 

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