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Ron Cullums
August 29, 2014 : Business and Industry Blog 2: Labor Day Gift to Your Workforce -- Training
- OUL Community and Corporate Learning Interim Director Ron Cullums writes a monthly blog on business and management strategies.  He also highlights ways that OUL can assist businesses in the community with growth and development.
I recently took the plunge and finally bought a smartphone.  Holding out for a long time, I watched family, friends, and coworkers use the newer technology.  I knew there were some really cool uses, but mainly, I did not want to spend the additional money every month on a data plan.  I already had a basic cell phone that “got me by.” Now I am pleased to be using the smartphone for many new purposes.  I assumed a more modern phone would be somewhat of an improvement, but in the name of cost savings, I avoided thoughts of just how much technology was possible with this device.  It is so much more convenient and helpful than expected. 
When waking up one recent morning, I realized my holdout with the smartphone is quite similar to how some people and managers view computer software training.  For example, most business people are aware that Microsoft Excel is very powerful and amazing software, and some are aware they barely use the tip of the iceberg of Excel’s capability.  Excel can easily produce great-looking charts that can improve presentations and convince decision makers. Sorting large amounts of data has always been a strong point of Excel.  Advanced users employ Pivot Tables to summarize large amounts of data.  Sometimes using Excel is actually for fun; I purchase a special customized Excel file each summer to manage fantasy football drafts and give me an edge on the competition.  Word, Access, and PowerPoint also have numerous capabilities, usually untapped by the average user that has not had training.  Of course, as Microsoft products, all of these software tools work very well together.
Computer training and continuing education also make great business sense as an employee retention tool.  According to an article in Inc. Magazine, a recent Louis Harris and Associates poll reports among employees with poor training opportunities, 41 percent planned to leave within a year. Only 12 percent planned to leave among those who considered their company's training opportunities to be excellent, resulting in a retention rate more than two-thirds higher. So training opportunities help retain good employees and create a more efficient workforce.  It’s a smart investment for big and small business alike.
Some training holdouts (like me with smartphones) do not want to consider sending employees out of the office, spending some money, and hassling with big city traffic to learn more about software they already use.  But that is not an accurate description of computer software training here at Ohio University Lancaster.  We have reduced the price on all of our software training to $99.  We have no traffic hassles or parking charges, and no tense commute to the big city during rush hour.  We have a modern and comfortable training room and we even provide a nationally-published workbook that attendees get to keep for reference.  But our best feature is our instructor.  Mike Kelley is a patient, smart, very experienced instructor that has been with us for many years.  Mike consistently receives excellent evaluations from our customers. 
So if you are holding out on software training, OUL can make it convenient for you or your employees to learn much more about the Microsoft Office suite of products; Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint.  Keep in mind the time savings on one project from helpful tips learned during training could equal or exceed the cost of the class, and future efficiencies would be “icing on the cake.”
So just as with my cell phone example, you will also be glad after you give yourself or your employees a day of work to catch up on Microsoft Office technology that will increase productivity.