Training is the Essential Ingredient

Here is an excerpt from a recent conversation I had with a client:

Me – “We are getting ready to implement some great new updates to your software and there are many time-saving features that you can take advantage of. These options include integration and mobility features that will be really helpful. I am going to include training in the budget so the attorneys and staff can take advantage of these great new features.”

Client – “We cannot afford the training. We have already spent too much money on upgrading the hardware and software and we can’t spend any more on training.”

Me – “Are you sure? I know you and your staff would benefit from the efficiencies available in the new products.”

Client – “I’m sure my staff will figure it out.”

O my….

It is unfortunate that so many firms are missing the key ingredient to making software upgrades successful – training.

Recently, I upgraded practice management and document management systems for two different firms.  As we discussed alternatives, they noted that while they were not happy with the legacy programs that they had used for years, there were custom reports they depended on, and they “didn’t have time to learn something new”.

These firms went on to spend a lot of money to upgrade their hardware and software. As a legal technology consultant, it is great to upgrade to a new version of an existing product because then a client can take advantage of all the new features without learning a product from scratch. But now with the new software, these clients were still only using 10% of the product. Why?

It’s because these firms failed to invest in training for their attorneys and staff. I hear four main reasons for the lack of investment in training:

  1. “We have been using the product for a long time and we are getting along just fine.”
  2. “We trained people when we purchased the product and then they left. We don’t want to ‘waste’ any more money.”
  3. “If we train people, they will leave and take that knowledge to another firm.”
  4. “We don’t have time for staff to be “wasting” time at training.”

Training is not more money out the door; training is an investment in your attorneys and staff.  A well trained staff works more efficiently, and employees that receive training that benefits their careers are more likely to stick around.  It can even be a great marketing tool to bring in new recruits.

And training isn’t just for the staff; attorneys can take advantage of time saving features that were not available in the older software.  Many times, new features include improvements to mobile access that would allow improved access on-the-go.  In the end, everyone will be able to bill more time using these cool new features and your investment will pay for itself sooner than you think.

Don’t be short sighted in your investment in training.  Be sure to include training in your next software upgrade – maybe even make it mandatory for all to attend. You never know, if you go, you might even learn something yourself.

Featured image: “Close up Magnifying glass searching missing puzzle peace “Learning” from Shutterstock.

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