Original Date: 02/10/2003
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Information Systems Training Initiatives
Bender Shipbuilding and Repair Company, Inc. has developed a successful technical training program for all employees and contractors. These end-user classes are available on-site and at times convenient to everyone’s schedule. As a result of this initiative, employee productivity, morale, and output have significantly increased. Management recognizes that a well-trained staff would be a motivated, high-performance staff.
Bender Shipbuilding and Repair Company, Inc. developed a successful information systems training department that is dedicated to enhancing the technical skills of all employees and contractors. In 2001, Bender identified the need and began the training initiative. Bender invested in this initiative, understanding that a well trained staff is a better performing staff.
Past attempts at implementing an on-site technical training program had delivered disappointing results. In 1993, end-user training was offered to Bender’s employees, but very few chose to participate. Between 1993 and 2000, Bender made a variety of attempts to launch a training program but was ultimately unsuccessful. Management had provided technical training by a computer education program, and had attempted to utilize in-house staff as instructors. Designated training time was during lunch hour and after working hours. Employees did not feel that they had management’s full support in this initiative, and simply chose not to participate.
Bender Management analyzed its training needs and, in 2001, a new computer education program emerged. They dedicated a large room as the training facility and supplied all the required hardware and software. They hired a Microsoft master instructor to train employees in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook and set aside time for training during the regular workday as well as lunchtime and after-hours. The training schedule was flexible enough to allow training without interfering with work requirements. The courseware provided training on an extensive list of subjects and topics while retaining the flexibility to provide topics specific for Bender’s needs. The courseware templates were utilized for applications developed in-house, such as WinShip, in order to keep all courseware consistent and user-friendly.
Employee response was overwhelming (Figure 2-2). The organized training program provides hands-on training with the possibility of eventual certification as a Microsoft Office User Specialist. Employees view the training program as a company benefit, much like health insurance. Since employees are allowed to attend classes during their workday, they are willing to come to class during their lunch hour and after work. Prior to this new initiative, after-hours classes would have zero attendance. Attendance at after-hours classes escalated to nearly 100% of classroom capacity following the launch of this new program. Sessions last one hour, not taking employees away from their work for very long, yet still covering required material.
Bender’s information services’ master instructor is thoroughly knowledgeable in the foundation applications used by the company. The instructor understands the company’s business concepts, practices, and vision, and works with management to develop training paths for employees. The training program now has a strong voice within the company that provides the momentum to keep the program moving forward. The instructor provides support to employees as they attempt to apply concepts learned in the classroom. The personal attention and hands-on involvement with staff has a proactive approach to training. The instructor also coordinates adjunct or application- specific faculty as needed.
As a result of the information services training initiative, Bender is experiencing a significant increase in productivity. Employee man-hours are now more efficiently utilized. Morale continues to improve as staff members become more self-confident with their enhanced technical skills. Enrollment in technical classes has increased almost 300% since program launch in 2001. In January and February 2003, 73 training certificates were awarded, indicating tremendous interest.
Figure 2-2. Workshop Attendance
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