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written by Dave Fisher

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02.13.17 by Dave Fisher

How To Train Employees Using Office 365

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Training is not just for newbies anymore.

The word is out. Enterprise companies that provide training to experienced employees, as well as new ones, not only enhance performance, they also improve morale, retention and compliance.

Every organization knows this, but many of them neglect employee training because programs are difficult to set up and manage. Not so with Office 365. With a little creativity and effort, you can create custom workflows that keep employees informed and managers posted on their progress.

Which Type Of Training Will Be Most Effective?

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First and foremost, you need to decide what type of training you want for employees. Your approach will help determine which app will be most suitable for your program. 

Will a live video tutorial be most effective, or should people read a series of documents and take a quiz? You might even assign teams to collaborate on a group project using a social app. Deciding on the best way people will learn and retain information is paramount before developing a training program on Office 365.

Discover the Secrets to a Thriving Intranet. Learn How to Budget for Your Platform, Set a Timeline, and Get Employees to Buy-in.

Training With SharePoint 

When using SharePoint, most employers start by creating a repository, or a set of repositories, where they can store and categorize documents, then direct employees to them for training and on-boarding.

This is a little like managing a website, where you keep things organized by linking to key pieces of information. Using SharePoint, you will link to specific company documents and assign employees to read or edit them. You can also make people verify they’ve completed the assignment by filling out an online form, taking a quiz, or using another mechanism that certifies their competency.

Businesses can also create interactive training modules similar to online flashcards, or record live presentations on Skype For Business and stream it in SharePoint.

Track Progress With Workflows And Events

Training is great, but someone still has to make sure no one is slacking off in class, right? Workflows and event receivers are two ways managers to keep tabs on trainees.

Workflows

Workflows, or “flows” as they’re now known in Office 365, allow you to build automated processes around the training protocols. For example, let's say you have a person who needs to read a document or a set of documents, and needs to verify he’s read them by taking a quiz or filling out a form. We can set up a process behind the scenes that sends the manager an email or populates the information on an Excel sheet when the employee completes the task.

Event Receivers

Event receivers work in a similar way by noticing when the trainee takes a specific action, like clicking a button, and submits the information back to the manager.

Other Office 365 Apps You Can Use

Skype for Business – This is great for visual training sessions conducted in real time. Trainers can host hundreds of people on the call across the globe, or just one.

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One of the key benefits of using Skype for Business, aside from using video, is that users can use chat to ask questions and get answers during the training. It’s a more collaborative approach.  Many companies record the calls and save them in SharePoint repositories for later use. Employees can access the video later if they need to reference something or if they missed the call completely.

Yammer – This is Microsoft’s answer to Facebook. It’s a chat-based, social collaboration app that’s unique to your company. If a group of users are in training, Yammer is useful because it allows people to communicate directly, making the process more cohesive.

Yammer also makes it easy to access to a historical reference of the things the group discussed. Maybe someone asked a question in a training session last week and needs to reference the answer. That person can go to email and search for the reply, or but he or she can go back to the Yammer feed, scroll up a little, and reference the whole conversation. This is different from Skype, where once the call is done you can’t go back and reference the chat history. 

If your group is connected to Outlook, you might see the conversation history there, but it’s easier to do it in Yammer. It’s a much better interface.

SharePoint And Yammer Together

SharePoint has a communications web part that works a lot like Twitter. You can call-out people by using an @ symbol with their name and it sends a notification to them. Yammer is like that, only with more features and functions which you can embed within a SharePoint site, extending the possibilities beyond what you get out of the box.

These tools are companywide, but you can also create groups of any size and keep certain conversations private, especially when external parties are invited into the discussion. People outside the organization shouldn’t be privy to private information, so you can exclude them from these discussions.

Employers need flexibility and simplicity with training programs. Once you have a vision for how people will get the most out of each session, you can implement the program using any combination of apps Office 365 offers. The result will be a happier, more productive staff, and fewer mistakes for managers to clean up. Not a bad deal all around.

 

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Topics: Office 365, SharePoint Intranets

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