November 20, 2018

Don’t Let Poor Training Derail Your Contingent Workforce Programme

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So, you’re implementing a contingent workforce programme. You’re almost to the end of your project.  It’s approaching go-live. You’re gonna do it. Just get that data loaded and… wait a minute, how do we make sure that people do what they’re supposed to?

Training is one of the most overlooked and under thought parts of CWM implementations. Oftentimes the focus is on the VMS system above all else.

How to enter a req, how to approve time, how to run a report. The basic clicks in the VMS system are NOT what you should be focusing on, but time and time again I see it taking up the most time in training sessions. I also see over-engineered training materials with screenshots of every page and click-by-click instructions for everything. What happens when something changes? New config, fresh screen look, streamlined process. These are good things, right? Not if your training documents are 100 pages long.

My favourite story about training is this… I was working on implementing a VMS system at an Oil & Gas company in Canada. Specifically, we were focused on time entry and approval for maintenance workers. Some of the approvers spent most of their time in ATCO trailers at the oil sands mine outside Fort McMurray. These guys were salt of the earth types, grizzled by -30 degrees C weather and incredibly short winter days. Internet was hit and miss and close to dial-up speeds. They had neither the time nor the facilities to get everyone in a room to do training. So, we went to them. Sat in their trailers, brought with us laminated crib sheets and physically showed them how to click ‘approve’. To tech-savvy young pups, clicking approve in an e-mail may seem easy. But to these guys, telling them to ‘left click’ often resulted in them switching from their right to their left hand. Rather than doing the ‘standard’ that every MSP & VMS provider would have us do, we designed training to the audience and they listened. Our adoption rate was 100% and, ultimately, that’s the measure of success.

So how should you design training? Here are four critical things you need to do to design killer training:

  • Understand your audience. Who are the stakeholders and users? How often will they touch your programme? What do they need to know now?
  • Know your story and focus on the bigger picture. You are implementing a comprehensive solution, not just a system. Remember process, people, policy.
  • Tailor your messages, materials and delivery mechanisms. Some people need a postcard. Some may need a video. Some may need a live session.
  • Institutionalise it. Make sure new managers get trained proactively. Make your programme part of onboarding new employees so they know. Even if they don’t buy a contingent worker until 2 years later, they need to know who and what you are.

Poor training can break even the most well designed contingent workforce programme. With a bit of thought, your training can ensure the programme is a resounding success.

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