Instructional design Workplace training

10 minute read

End User Training: How to Get It Right from Start to Finish

Sara Meij

Sara Meij

Perhaps you’re tasked with rolling out a major software change in your organization, or you’re about to migrate all your documents to a new system.

Massive changes like these, that affect all employees at your organization, need everyone on board to make them successful. It’s like a house of cards; one employee who hasn’t bought into the change can make the whole project unstable.

Your employees are your end-users: anyone who actually has to use the technology or software you’re implementing. Knowing exactly who your end users are, what their level of technology literacy is and what roadblocks you need to get rid of to make the implementation less of a bumpy ride are some of the key things to consider before you start training them. 

According to research by Deloitte, the number one barrier to implementation is resistance to change. Inadequate sponsorship and unrealistic expectations are second and third on the list. So how do you make sure you beat the odds and your implementation project is going to be successful? This is where end-user training, among other things, comes in.


Think about who will be using the software

Whether you’re a manager or employee, we’ve all been there; you’ve been asked to do what seems to be a relatively small and easy task that should only take you a few minutes, but when you open the software application you need, you realize you don’t have the access required to get the job done. Fast forward three hours and six phone calls to IT: half a day is gone and you’re no further.

Software access issues, lack of training in using new technology or resistance to change; they all cause delays and annoyance. You could have tested the new, topnotch software you bought for the company to the nth degree, but if your staff have no clue how to use it, the project will not succeed.

Gartner estimates that 55% to 75% of all enterprise resource planning projects fail to meet their objectives. As Deloitte states: 

Whether your project is a few months or a few years long, whether it’s an upgrade or a new implementation, the financial and cultural well-being of the entire organization is at stake, and the associated costs of failure range from disruptive to catastrophic.

Paints a picture, doesn’t it? It’s not all doom and gloom though. Here are some important steps to follow to make sure your implementation project has a successful ending.

Before you start training your end-users

Change management is crucial in the process of implementing new technology or piece of software in your organization. 

Define the need for change

Make sure you paint a clear picture of how your organization will benefit from the change that you’re about to put through. Explaining the “why” of the project clearly from the start will help to gain buy-in from your staff and to build enthusiasm for the implementation. If your staff doesn’t fully understand the project’s objectives and goals, people can start wondering why the organization is doing it and what its commitment is, which increases resistance to change and reduces the chance of success.

Change readiness assessments (as part of change management), which help give insight into your organization’s past history with change and how willing and ready the organization is to adopt the changes, could help show employees (and therefore end users) where the new project implementation sits. They can also help identify ways to mitigate and avoid change fatigue.

Endorse the vision

It’s important the change is endorsed by the CEO and lead top-down by managers. As a team, they are key in removing roadblocks and smoothing out kinks along the way. They also need to make it clear why the change is necessary and what happens if you don’t change to use the new software or technology.

Be clear on budget and resources required

Having a clear and thought-through plan at hand that guides management through resource management and budget will make sure the project doesn’t stall at the start. Make sure the whole organization understands the commitment that’s required from them, and how the project takes priority (if it does) over other competing initiatives to avoid confusion. 


Training your end-users

Employees will feel more confident about using the new software or technology if they’ve been involved in training before the new system goes live. There are several ways of training your staff as end-users of the software or technology the project is implementing; using the “train-the-trainer” approach by creating super users out of your end-users to train the rest of your staff, outsourcing it to a training partner or even dedicated time for asynchronous online learning.

You can also create a combination of both and use online learning systems such as the GoSkills LMS to easily create an online course to train your employees and manage their learning. This allows you to explain how the software or process is used specifically to your business and it’s easily weaved into your onboarding process for new hires or in order to upskill existing staff. This can save you a lot of time, as the training is already created and ready to go whenever needed

Important training steps to follow

Assess learning requirements

The success of any new project implementation that involves new software or technology is partly based on how quickly staff can get up to speed on working with the new system. If people are unwilling or unable to use it, you’ll never be successful, even with the best system in place. Major system upgrades mean major upheaval to the way users work and providing the right technology training could help users to adapt to those changes. 

Knowing what skill gaps need to be filled to create a smooth transition for your staff to the new system can mean the difference between success and failure. It’s crucial to find out the technical level of the people having to use the system every day and fit training needs on this.

Develop a tailored plan early 

Start with the end in mind. Each hour of effective training equals five hours to the employing organization, according to Gartner. This is down to well-trained end users getting to the required skill level in a quarter of the time, spending less time correcting errors and needing less support from co-workers or helpdesks. 

Be clear about what the business expects from the training, for instance, that everybody uses the same document management system, and what the employee will gain from it. A system is only as good as the people who use it. If you’re after ideas on how to best train your staff, have a look here. Scalable training methods are great because they allow you to use the same method to train a small number of people for new onboardings as well as apply to a company-wide roll out with new software.

Secure resources

Know your budget and time schedule. Don’t forget practical parts of the new system, such as the right access so your employees can learn the new system without any roadblocks in their way. Begin on solid footing, with the implementation viewed as a high priority. You really do need your CEO and higher management to drive the project from the outset, visibly. 

Ask for feedback

It’s important to ask for feedback from your end-users during the training so that the training can be modified if needed, instead of waiting until the end. Knowing what areas users don’t feel adequately trained on will help mitigate the risk of implementation failing later on.


End-user training checklist

To summarize the points above, consult this handy checklist and make sure you check off each item, from the initial planning phases through to implementation and training roll out.

Before you can even start thinking about training your end-users on the new software or technology you’re rolling out, it’s very important you:

Have defined the need for change
Explain the “why” of the project clearly from the start to help gain buy-in from your staff and to build enthusiasm for the implementation.

✅​​​Have endorsed the vision
You need everyone on board for a project rollout like this to be a success. Make it clear why the change is necessary and what happens if you don’t change to the new system.

Are clear on budget and resources required
Starting with the end in mind will help guide you through planning for resources and budget - so that the project doesn’t fall at the start.

When you’re ready to train your end-users, it’s important to:

Develop a tailored plan early
Well-trained end-users equal less time spent fixing mistakes and in need of less support. It helps to be clear about what the organization expects from the training and what’s in it for the employees.

✅​​​​​​​Secure resources
Know your budget and time schedule and don’t forget practical things such as making sure all staff has appropriate access to the new system.

✅​​​​​​​Ask for feedback
Knowing what areas users don’t feel adequately trained on will help mitigate the risk of implementation failing later on.

Start training your end users the right way

Training end-users is crucial if you want your software or technology project implementation to be successful. How you plan and implement that training is just as important. GoSkills can help you get your team up to speed, whether you are training a handful of people or your entire organization. The GoSkills LMS is gamified, mobile friendly, and easy for both admins and learners alike to navigate. And it's completely free to get started.

Are you ready to create bespoke learning courses for your end-users to make sure your implementation is successful? Use the GoSkills LMS to support their learning and development, quickly customizing learning for every employee with just a few clicks.

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Sara Meij

Sara Meij

Sara is a digital communications expert and former journalist with a passion for writing. In her spare time she loves Latin dancing and getting outdoors to run, hike or mountain bike.