Why Excel Training (Sometimes) Doesn’t Work and What You Can Do About It

Some managers resist Excel training because they feel it isn’t effective. They point to past examples where money was “wasted” on Excel training advanced courses and yet the department productivity didn’t improve.

Effective training is more than finding a course and sending people to it. In Excel training, advanced courses are specialized and can be either very powerful or completely useless depending on your training strategy. There are a few ways to make Excel training, advanced courses in particular, more effective tools for your company.

Include Employees In Decisions And Accountability

Someone is making the training decisions, whether it is a dedicated training department or individual managers. If these plans are being made without employee input, training will be less effective.

Give the staff clear goals for their training. Saying “Class on Friday – be there!” doesn’t tell that person what the purpose is. Instead trying saying, “We are sending you to further Excel training. Advanced courses are going to show you how to use analytical tools in your financial projections.” The employee now has a clear objective.

With specific aims in mind, the trainee can bring real world examples to the class. Instructors are often happy to use examples brought by the students in class because it gives the material direct relevance and makes it more interesting.

Train Everyone

Some managers use the false economy of limited training, sending only one employee to training then having that person train the rest of the department. It’s not that easy to perform Excel training. Advanced courses taught by certified instructors are far more effective than piecemeal skill training by an unqualified teacher.

If skills learned are going to be implemented department-wide, then send the entire department to training. Find a training provider who will provide the course at your business location, minimizing the disruption to the workflow. If you can’t send the entire team because of staffing issues, send them in rotation. Get each person trained before implementing new procedures.

Use The New Skills

Taking Excel training is only the first step. Advanced courses teach skills that can be lost quickly if not used. After the staff are trained, management should collaborate with them to come up with an action plan on how the new skills will be implemented into the work routine. Employee input is critical because they are the most familiar with the new skills learned and how they would impact their daily tasks.

Management support is important to maintain the momentum of the change. New ideas seem exciting at the time but the staff often returns to old, familiar ways of doing their jobs. Positive encouragement of new techniques is necessary in the early days of implementation, but soon they will become common practice.