In the IT world, the preferred term is ramp time — that interval between when a company hires a new person, and when that person is able to start demonstrating real productivity. It means they no longer need nonstop supervision, oversight or assistance — the kind of resource-draining attention that almost always impacts project expense, and draws out deadlines. Anyone involved in project-driven enterprise dynamics knows that the new person still learning the ropes requires extra guidance, energy that could be devoted instead to project completion.
It only makes sense that any company would want to make this introductory period for a new employee as brief as possible; the sooner they are onboard, the sooner they are getting things done. Consider, for example, getting a new employee proficient in an intricate business software like NetSuite — it will take some initial burn-in time for the organization to get them trained up, and to realize the many benefits of mastering new applications and processes. And helping speed this process along is not as easy as just urging people to work faster — there’s a smart approach that can help manage expectations, and help realize those preferred productivity outcomes for new NetSuite users as quickly — and as capably — as possible.
We’ve outlined five tips below that should reduce the learning curve for new NetSuite users:
What is Your Definition of Productivity?
Don’t expect new employees to achieve idealized production goals if those production goals haven’t been clearly defined. Make an effort to determine which metrics constitute your ideal definition. You may use the following metrics to define productivity: social reach, time to revenue, lead to opportunity conversion, pipeline generation and management, all the above, etc. When you clearly define productivity from the start, and communicate that definition to every stakeholder, you are establishing a consistent set of expectations that are precise, measurable and ultimately achievable.
Determine How You Can Personalize the Learning Experience
NetSuite administrators, as well as sales managers, training managers, and any other professionals in that business cycle, must understand that the process of becoming proficient at NetSuite is different for everyone. Variations in talent, learning style, aptitude, experience and background, etc. are all critical variables, and they constitute a range of capability you need to account for. A single training program for everyone doesn’t account for the different learning styles and paces, hence the value of software that tailors learning to individual skills and experience. It’s a much better way to keep employees engaged, which accelerates the speed of training and learning.
Make Work Time Learning Time
Studies show that as much as 80 percent of information acquired during a training phase is quickly forgotten. Getting consistent with the application of a real-time guidance technology such as WalkMe can make a huge difference in content retention. These solutions encourage employees to learn a new software on their own, at a consistent pace. Trainees are empowered to retain and apply new skills, motivating them to tackle tasks without asking for additional guidance or supervision. Employees are empowered because they get guidance when they need it, competing tasks more accurately.
Find the Right Mentor
Pairing up a new employee with a veteran worker seems like a good idea, but you want to make sure it’s not just a conversational relationship about office politics. Take the time to partner an experienced NetSuite user with the new hire, and structure regular sessions that reinforce training. This also gives the new person a first point of contact who is informed and insightful, able to answer questions and eliminate the need to go up a chain of command if any challenges need to be resolved. This further shortens training time and leads to faster ramp time.
Learn a Skill, Apply a Skill — As Soon as Possible
Knowing that only a small percentage of new information learned is retained by new employees once the software onboarding period is over, it’s imperative that you keep encouraging continued application of the newly learned skills. This attention to retention is what helps transform learning into applicable knowledge, cementing the training and making it a genuine skill. When the learning and skill retention of a new NetSuite user is reinforced and optimized from the start, it means that employee becomes a more productive employee that much more quickly. Your investment in their ability starts to pay off sooner. You’ve accelerated ramp time and can now best benefit from their new skill.
We assist hundreds of clients with ERP training, implementation and consulting services. Contact me to discuss your organization’s business requirements or to set up a complimentary ERP assessment.