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Employee Training a Critical Part of Effective UC Implementation

December 28, 2015 by Valerie Meffert

To a significant degree, the benefits that unified communications platforms have to offer are fairly obvious. With UC solutions, employees have the opportunity to become far more collaborative, efficient, and productive, as they are better able to engage with both their fellow employees and corporate clients.

Yet despite all of this potential, the fact remains that not every UC deployment proves satisfactory. In a significant number of cases, business leaders find themselves disappointed by the impact that their UC investment ultimately has on the company's performance as a whole. This doesn't mean that UC was a bad choice for these particular firms. Rather, it suggests that such organizations made some suboptimal choices which undermined UC's potential value.

One of the biggest issues preventing greater UC benefits is simply the lack of regular use among employees, as a recent Nemertes Research study determined. TechTarget reported that a key takeaway from this survey was that organizations eager to leverage UC technology should make employee training a major focus of their implementation efforts. By embracing training, decision-makers can significantly improve the chances that workers will not only utilize the available resources, but also make the most of UC's capabilities.

Usage Issues

The Nemertes Research study included interviews with 50 senior-level IT leaders from mid-sized to large companies, the news source reported. Among these participants, most said they determined the success or failure of a UC solution by measuring employee usage. With this metric in mind, only 43 percent of respondents called their UC efforts successful or very successful. This marked a significant downturn from the previous year, when 61 percent saw their UC deployments this way.

Other common metrics used to evaluate UC success include return on investment and cost savings. However, it's impossible for firms to see much progress in these areas if workers are simply not using the UC tools made available to them.

Speaking to TechTarget, Irwin Lazar, vice president and service director at Nemertes, noted that the lack of UC use among the workforce has proven extremely frustrating for many IT departments.

Training Value

Employee training could go a long way toward correcting these issues. Lazar largely attributed the lack of UC use among the workforce to the fact that personnel do not receive adequate training to guide them in this capacity. Even more significantly, he told TechTarget that in many cases workers remain ignorant of the existence of the companies' UC apps.

The source noted that in a typical deployment, the IT department will take the time to ensure that the UC solutions function properly prior to rolling out these tools to the company at large. However, this is often where implementation stops, and there is little to no effort made to train personnel to take advantage of these resources. Awareness campaigns are also typically very limited, often taking the form of a brief, unpersuasive email distributed throughout the organization.

This simply isn't good enough. The fact of the matter is that most people tend to resist any perceived disruptions to their daily work routines, and UC deployments undoubtedly represent such a development. In order to overcome this natural resistance, a coordinated, dedicated effort is essential. IT personnel should work closely with employees to help them understand what UC is, how the specific UC solution functions, and why these tools will have a positive impact on their day-to-day job responsibilities. Employees who receive this level of guidance and preparation will be far more likely to enthusiastically embrace UC tools, improving both the usage rate and UC ROI.

Valerie Meffert
Valerie Meffert

Having written for companies ranging from MTV and CBS to the Winter Olympic Games and Reuters, Valerie heads up ThinkingPhones' communications and PR machine. At the risk of dating herself, she'd like to point out that her MTV tenure occurred during the Carson Daly era—she takes no credit (nor blame) for "A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila." A resident of Park City, UT, Valerie enjoys the four things her town is most famous for: hiking, skiing, film festivals, and weak beer.

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