The Collaborative Approach Creating to Product Training
When hiring new employees, one of the first things employers do, both in the job listing and the interview, is describe the company. While this usually touches on company culture and its foundations, there is almost always a discussion of the services and products that the company provides. But what if product training was more than features, how to’s, and FAQ’s? This is where collaborative training comes in, an approach to learning creation that takes in the knowledge of all (or most) of the company’s departments, creating a pool of information that can be specifically tailored and shared to all employees.
Taking the collaborative approach when creating product training will enable you to make training in an effective and timely manner. Reaping benefits such as, broadening employees' understanding of the entire business, how their role contributes to company success, and allows them to better serve customers.
Instead of walking you through how to create product training, we’ll discuss the importance of collaboration and the contributions each department makes to the effectiveness of product training development.
What is Product Training?
Product training is a form of training designed to boost employees' understanding of the products and/or services that a company offers. While it does cover features, there is much more to it; pricing, use cases, customisation, troubleshooting, product policies and regulation, target customer groups, industry trends and even related products or services within the industry.
The role of different departments
When it comes to creating effective training, involving individuals from various departments can be a game-changer.
Subject Matter Experts from R&D to Engineering:
With an in-depth understanding of the product's technical functions, the development process, and its features, this team is the cornerstone of product training. Their role is to provide the ins and outs of what the product is, ensuring that the training is accurate, up-to-date, and in-depth.
Marketing and Sales:
These are the individuals that convey the value proposition to potential customers. They contribute to the training by providing insights into market positioning, customer pain points, and the competitive landscape. This information helps in tailoring training content to address the specific needs of target audiences and highlight what sets the product apart.
The front-liners who work directly with customers to clarify inquiries and issues that may arise. They add the information that customers want to know; the FAQs, pain points and how to’s, helping trainees to handle customer interaction.
Human Resources and Learning & Development:
HR professionals are the first point of contact for new hires, they know the product and understand how to convey it effectively. L&D on the other hand, understands the learning styles and strengths of employees, making these two departments essential in process of creating and distributing product training.
Legal and Compliance:
In industries with stringent regulations, the legal and compliance departments are essential for ensuring that product training adheres to legal requirements. Their input can help in creating content that keeps the company in regulatory compliance and reduces the risk of legal issues.
Operations and Quality Control:
These departments can contribute insights into the practical aspects of using the product. They can help design training that includes real-world scenarios, best practices, and quality control measures, making it more practical and actionable for employees.
The key components to product training
Product features and spec: from basic, surface level features to the more advanced, this information is vital for all team members.
Pricing: Your product’s price points, pricing tiers, and other price-related information is essential for most of the company to know, especially those in sales.
Use cases: What does the product do? What is its purpose? What problem is it solving? Again, essential knowledge for your team to know, no matter their department.
Customisation: Personalise marketing and sales efforts by including customisation options in the training.
FAQs: What your customers commonly need to know should be common knowledge for all team members.
Troubleshooting: Different departments will have differing levels of knowledge in this, having a basic understanding of common malfunctions across the company is a good benchmark.
Competitors: What sets the product/service apart? Why should the customer choose you? What does the competitive landscape look like? Being able to answer these questions, no matter your role, will help guide how the company progresses forward.
Policies and Regulations: Avoid legal ramification by ensuring everyone understands product and brand policies as well as legal specifications.
Customers: Everyone should know the customer, who is the service/product for? And why are you targeting them?
Industry Trends: Having this knowledge throughout the team will keep the company up-to-date.
Creating Learner Engagement
Creating the course is one thing, but getting interest from your learners is an entirely different task. This is due the fact that employees are already doing their jobs, they think they have the knowledge required to perform at their best. By outlining the benefits of taking on product training, employees are likely to be more engaged. Outlining these benefits in ways that link directly to the learner’s specific role and goals is a great way to build the encouragement required.
One option is to give every team member their own personalised training material. It is not necessary nor efficient to create and deliver one massive, long course to all employees that covers every single little thing about what you offer. Rather, compile the knowledge and segment it into relevancy based on each department/role. When learners understand that the training is tailored, they are more likely to partake.
An employee in the Human Resources department may initially question the need for product education that goes beyond their current scope of expertise. However, by clarifying the benefits of being able to better explain the product/service to new hires and answer any questions, you’re building an incentive for them to engage in the training.
A collaborative workplace that involves all departments pooling their knowledge, skills, and perspectives is important if you’re looking to create effective product training. This multi-departmental approach to creating training materials ensures that training is not only covering the knowledge and skills required, but that it fosters a sense of ownership and collective responsibility from the company and its employees. This approach to product training becomes a collective effort that reflects the whole organisations commitment to success, leading to better product understanding and enhances job performance.