Showing Users the Ropes: Providing Expert End User Training for SharePoint

This blog is the latest installment in Content Panda’s series depicting a company’s journey to adopt Microsoft SharePoint. Catch up by reading last week’s post 

“This communication plan is great!” Andrew said as he flipped through the presentation Kathy put together for John and Christine to bring to CIEWG’s CEO. “I especially like the idea of using something local as a mascot. Hope is perfect for this.” 

“Great! We’re glad you’re on board with us,” Christine said as John snuck her a quick, knowing smile. Their plan was definitely coming together.  

“I know you both have a high-level understanding of what SharePoint is, but will your team be able to know enough to answer questions and train our associates on how to use the platform?” Andrew asked after he handed the communication plan back to John.  

John swallowed hard. He knew one of the biggest reasons why his last attempt to rollout a new collaboration platform failed was due to lack of training. When researching SharePoint, he knew their rollout could easily have a similar fate.  

According to a study of organizations adopting SharePoint, lack of training and poor planning were two of the top three reasons why SharePoint implementations stalled. More than half of companies don’t even offer training to associates using SharePoint for the first time. As a result, those looking to re-energize SharePoint said finding good training was on the top of their to-do lists.  

Basically, John had to find a better way to get world-class training in a format associates would easily digest – and get it fast. “Candidly, no. My team has never worked with SharePoint,” John replied. “Given our aggressive schedule, I’m not sure we can take the time necessary to fully train my team on SharePoint before rolling out to the company. We’ll have to consider a third-party training provider.” 

Andrew nodded in agreement. “Fair enough,” he said. “I’m more than happy to authorize budget for it, but I want to make sure it’s not only traditional classroom-style training. It has to be engagingadapt to the varying skill sets of our associates, and also provide a place for them to find information after the training is completed.” 

“We understand,” Christine replied, gathering her things. “John and I have some work to do. We’ll put together a training plan and recommended investments to propose to you by end of week.” 

John and Christine took advantage of a rare reprieve in humidity common in Memphis during the late summer months. They sat out in the CIEWG campus gardens to discuss what would work best for putting together a training plan.  

“Are you sure we can’t just bring in a SharePoint expert for a multiple-week engagement to train each of our teams?” John asked Christine. “There’s no way my team can come up with training materials and teach our associates. Some of them barely talk to one another and convey ideas clearly, much less teach those who don’t know a SharePoint from an Instagram.” 

“We have to know what our plan is first,” Christine replied. “Classroom training could be one piece, but we have to make sure we have an end-goal in mind and don’t just leave training with one class. Seventy percent of knowledge is forgotten by students just one day after training. We have to account for the fact that people will not remember everything by having a place for them where they can find help content fast. Knowledge workers spend an average of two-and-a-half hours just searching for information.” 

Keeping these facts in mind, John and Christine come up with a five-point training plan to help them determine what investments they may need to make: 

  1. Leading with benefits: Explaining what CIEWG associates’ work will look like in this new world of SharePoint, highlighting the efficiencies and benefits they can expect in comparison to their old way of working.  
  2. Using real work scenarios: Incorporating the use cases John, Christine, Bryan, Gwendolyn, Kathy came up with so they can make SharePoint tangible to the other associates.  
  3. Including CIEWG’s governance model: Integrating information about CIEWG’s standard IT rules, processes, and best practices so proper boundaries are set.  
  4. Creating a learning center: Hosting training resources such as Getting Started guides and Tips & Tricks videos, optimally on the platform associates are trying to learn to use, right at the point they need help 
  5. Mobilizing champions: Getting Bryan, Gwendolyn, Kathy, and John’s IT team ramped up on SharePoint first so they can help answer questions people may have about the platform.  

“These help videos and articles we find and host for our associates – they need to be from world-class, vetted experts,” John said. “There’s no way my team can create them. We need some help, even beyond getting a trainer to come in. We need a repository of pre-curated information our associates can turn to easily after training is complete.” 

Christine searched for companies on her iPhone and came across a software company specializing in SharePoint that delivers in-depth training by online experts, Microsoft-approved help content, and other support articles in multiple media formats such as traditional articles, screenshots, and videos. “Wait, this is too surreal,” Christine said. “All users need to do is click on a panda icon when they’re in SharePoint to access help content? This is perfect!” 

Christine looked up from her phone to read John’s reaction, but he was staring off at the bamboo trees. Hope the Panda escaped from Memphis Zoo again and was rummaging CIEWG’s campus gardens for an afternoon snack.  

“Let’s look into pricing – I’ll also get our company tech trainer on board with us,” John said. “We’ll get him in the first round of training and work with him to schedule classes while we use third-party platform as a knowledge repository backup for our associates. This could be the answer we’ve been looking for!”  

Tune in next week to find out how the CIEWG SharePoint champions find fun and engaging ways to get the first wave of users to adopt Microsoft SharePoint. Can’t wait? Watch our on-demand webinar, “Speaking Your SharePoint User’s Language: Better Training for Real People”, now.  

*While the story mirrors a typical SharePoint deployment, the people, places, and company names used are all fictitious. No pandas were harmed in the making of this blog series, either.    

Read the next chapter - Panda Adventures: How to Make SharePoint Adoption Fun with Gamification

Written by Co-Founder and CMO, Heather Newman

Once a month we share expert opinions on end user adoption, Office 365 and SharePoint that we like from our community.  Receive our next issue by signing up here.