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Staff and IT training

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The issues surrounding employee computer use in your company don’t finish once you’ve chosen the right equipment and installed it correctly. Your staff may need IT training to perform the tasks expected of them.

You also need to be aware of the HR, management and legal issues around IT. For instance, you probably need to decide what constitutes acceptable employee computer use and communicate this to your staff.

Employee computer use

There are a few areas you need to think about when planning or reviewing how IT is used in your company:

  • Health and safety: computer health and safety issues can affect your company and its employees. As in other areas of business, you have a duty of care towards your staff – and some legal obligations too.
  • Appropriate use of IT: although the internet is an important business tool, you will need to set boundaries so your staff understand what constitutes appropriate employee computer use.
  • Remote working: computers are changing how we work. Homeworking is more common - and although there are benefits, you need to think carefully about how to implement it.

You can address many of these issues by setting and implementing IT policies. These help your staff understand how to use IT effectively, as well as explaining any rules regarding inappropriate use of company resources.

In many cases, you need to strike a balance between minimising risk and allowing employees the freedom to work effectively. For instance, some companies block access to social networks like Facebook, whilst others encourage employees to use them for marketing purposes.

IT training

Good IT and computer training can help your employees become more comfortable using IT – and less fearful of it. As a result, it can bring a number of benefits to your company:

  • everyone in your business will be able to use IT more effectively – so your overall productivity should increase
  • staff retention and morale may improve, as employees see you investing in their development
  • as your staff learn more about how to use IT, your business can start to use it in new ways

It’s important you plan your IT training carefully. Consider how it will help you achieve your business objectives and what the other benefits will be. There is a cost to training – usually in time and money – so always evaluate the return you’ll get on this investment.

Remember to consult your staff too. As well as helping your business succeed, IT training plays an important part in their personal development. So it’s important to ask them what they want from it.

Finally, spend your training budget effectively. For instance, if you need something done as a one-off, it generally makes sense to pay a professional to do it for you rather than training up a member of staff.

For more information and advice on staff and IT training, see the Resources box on the right.

You might also be interested in the section on internet, email and other policies and the data protection and IT law resources on the Law Donut.

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