Paul Wherly

How HR managers can assess and boost IT Skills

The most expensive resource within an organisation, in terms of time and money, has to be the staff members it employs. In order to get the best from your employees, minimise turnover of staff and maximise their potential on behalf of the company, then you need to invest in training.

Training and enhancing transferable skills such as communication, IT training and team building techniques can pay dividends for any business. There are very few employers who do not use some form of information technology as part of their day to day operations so IT skills are an important employability tool in anyone’s armour.

For the HR Manager, it is important to know and identify the skillset of the people who work with and for them. Undertaking a generic skills audit, to assess at what level each person operates, is vital when it comes to planning a training programme in order to upskill staff. Equally important is to reassure staff members as to the purpose of reviewing their current IT skills. This could take the form of a one to one discussion during appraisals with line managers where staff are asked to identify any training they feel they need for their vocational role.

Introducing new software, such as an updated email system, or on line booking format will give the staff team the perfect opportunity to set out a rolling training plan where staff can participate and their generic IT skill level noted. Follow up discussions after each session, with standard headlines on a feedback form, will enable the HR team to focus on how staff members will use their new skill level in their job or whether staff felt the training was pertinent and relevant. This record of training must be kept on the employees staff file, including training on health and safety when using IT equipment so that the employer can demonstrate that it is carrying out statutory safety training.

The benefits of IT training can be demonstrated by monitoring use of paper based record keeping, speed of service to customers, lack of duplication of work and reduced mistakes normally made through manual calculation rather than electronic. Communicating with staff through blogs and emails and gaining instant feedback as staff feel comfortable using this form of response will also pay dividends. Further online training can be encouraged which will reduce staff time away from the workstation, a definite win-win!

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