By Ariana Pampoulides.
Employee development is one of the most important investments you can make in your estate agency business and for a successful estate agency software implementation to succeed, employees’ skill sets must be managed and knowledge of the new software product as complete as you can make it prior to ‘going live’.
When you do take on the training programme of a software implementation, you’ll want to be sure you’re utilising your time wisely. It’s, therefore, best to create an overall training strategy to steer your plans for how your staff will best use the estate agency product you have chosen.
Here are some guidelines to help make your training successful:
1. Analyse your needs.
Take the time to carefully analyse your needs when designing your training plan. This will help you choose the right type of training for your requirements.
2. Identify skill sets
You can do this by looking at a written job description (make sure you have one!) and comparing the skills the new software program requires with your employees’ current abilities. Understanding your employees’ job role fully will help you identify the types of training they need.
Assign the training you’d like to provide into categories. Is it mandatory, or nice-to-have? If it’s absolutely required, a training effort becomes imperative. If it reflects an ideal situation that isn’t immediately feasible, you’ll know to plan for it in the longer term.
4. Plan and deliver the training
Once you have assessed and prioritised the training needs, the next step is to secure what type of training you will use and how you will offer it. There are several factors to consider:
Types of training available
– Internal resources: Ask yourself what resources you have in-house. Seasoned employees may be perfect to take on coaching or mentoring roles. Inexpensive to provide, these are among the most effective types of training.
– External resources: Formal seminars, conferences, private trainers and videos are all good methods for learning. These tools are more expensive but are professionally developed and often yield good results.
5. Delivery options
One-on-one vs. group sessions, e-learning vs. in-person instruction, on-site or off-site? These questions will be answered by a blend of factors: what’s available, what best suits your needs, and what you can afford.
6. Don’t forget to secure management and staff commitment
Before you can execute a training program, you need to have agreement from the senior person in your company that training is a priority. This person will need to support the plan fully and agree to milestones, costs (if appropriate), dates and deliverables.
Employee commitment is also required. Talk to staff about the goals for the training and why it’s important to the business that they undertake the learning effort. Most often, employees will respond favourably to your investment in their development. Today’s employees look beyond their paycheques; they value and embrace opportunities to learn new skills.
7. Analyse training efforts and their impact
Training can be costly, so you will want to assess its impact. However, sometimes its effect cannot be translated simply into bottom line pounds and pence.
Ideally, you might track variables before and after training to verify improvements after development efforts. If the training was on customer service, the end result may be fewer customer complaints and/or an increase in sales. Training on a new estate agency computer system may net fewer errors or quicker processing.
8. Think long term
Although you’ll want your staff to know everything from ‘day 1’ it’s important to be patient. Training is a long-term investment and your efforts in developing your people will help you in many ways. Staff will be more knowledgeable, they’ll be more likely to stick around, and your commitment to training will help you earn a reputation as an estate agency employer of choice.