One of the most popular pieces of business software in the world is certainly Microsoft Office. The original product has now evolved into Office 365, a cloud-based subscriptions software. But that hasn’t stopped companies all over the world adopting the new version. With new versions, of course, come new training needs, so you may find that even the most experienced staff need to do a little upskilling.
The most popular programs within Office 365 are Word, Outlook and Excel. Also included is PowerPoint. What you might not know, however, is that Office 365 is now just part of a huge suite of business tools called Microsoft 365. This overarching package includes Office 365, but also a stack of other products for accounts, collaboration, communication and much more.
But, it’s still the original Office components that are most widely used. Being such a popular product, it’s essential that your staff are skilled in using it. While not every staff member will use the same programs regularly, at least a basic understanding is crucial in the modern world.
So, whether you want to give all of your staff the Office 365 basics, or you want certain staff to become experts, here’s how to do Microsoft Office training the right way.
Find Microsoft courses online
One of the best ways to help you staff learn Microsoft office is through online training courses. Microsoft courses online are flexible, cost-effective and easily accessible for all of your staff. They can even take control of their learning and access modules themselves.
The beauty of completing Microsoft Office courses online is the huge range available. There are quite literally thousands of titles to choose from. There are entry- level courses to learn the fundamentals of a program, right through to very specific advanced training. Plus, sessions are usually only 90 minutes long, which means there’s less impact on the work day.
These online courses come in a variety of delivery methods too, which is perfect because not everybody learns the same way. You can find self-paced modules, similar to E-learning, right through to facilitator-led virtual classrooms.
Online courses give you control over staff training
By connecting with a trusted training provider, you can get access to thousands of Microsoft Office courses. Some are quite broad, covering the basics to get new staff up and running. Others are very targeted, such as working with advanced formulas in Microsoft Excel. The beauty of this is you can take more control over staff learning and development.
Rather than lock everybody in to attend a mandatory Microsoft Office refresher, you can be more selective. This is huge for staff engagement, and we’ll tell you why. Staff usually dislike attending training when they feel they already know the content. Have you heard people ask how this or that training applies to their job? Well, by choosing online training methods, you can schedule people into specific training sessions based on their own individual needs.
Sure, it takes a little management, but the boost in engagement will be dramatic when you organise meaningful, relevant training for your staff. It ties in beautifully with monthly performance coaching, because you can talk about an individual’s goals and how you can help them achieve those.
Microsoft courses online are extremely cost effective
The very nature of courses being online makes them extremely cost-effective. There’s obviously an expense associated with running in-house training or even attending off-site courses. It’s not just the fees charged by the training provider, either. Think about the lost productivity when multiple staff members are out of the office for days at a time.
With online courses, people can complete them at their desks at a convenient time. It’s easy, cost-effective, and your staff don’t have to deal with the stress of a day’s worth of work piling up while they’re out.
Send staff to off-site training courses
Another great option for learning Microsoft Office is to attend face-to-face training. Some people don’t enjoy this option, for many of the reasons we mentioned above. However, there are a lot of people out there who learn much better with that face-to-face facilitation. Being able to seek immediate assistance and ask questions is crucial to many people.
If you’re going to send people off-site for learning, try to find a training provider who can work with you. It’s great if you can get multiple staff members to fill a course, creating more of an in-house feel. However, a lot can be learned from the experience of others, so sending staff along to mixed training sessions is also valuable.
Self-paced learning with Office 365 Training Center
Like all good software programs, Microsoft Office has its own learning centre to help people through. It’s more than just basic help functions (which Office 365 also has), rather it’s an actual resource where people can learn new skills online.
The Office 365 Training Center is filled with training templates, cheat sheets, tips, video tutorials and more detailed user guides for all Office products. Basically, whatever you need to learn, you’ll find some handy information in the Training Center. Overall, it’s a great way for people to get instant answers to questions, and it boosts their overall learning significantly.
Seek out tutorials online
The other way staff can learn more about Office 365 is by simply going online. The internet is full of guides, tutorials, and a host of other learning tools. While it doesn’t replace proper, certified training courses, this can be a great way for people to solve one-off issues they encounter.
A simple Google search for whatever you’re having difficulty with should generate a range of results to browse through. By supporting this type of learning, it also contributes to creating a good learning culture. Staff can even be encouraged to share their learnings with others.
One disclaimer, however, is that not all online resources are going to be correct. Because software evolves and changes over time, so too do the answers to your questions. For example, reading an article about how to create a formula in Microsoft Excel from 2012 probably won’t even line up with the software version you’re using today. In that sense, you should never try to use uncertified online resources in place of formal training.
Package online tutorials for internal training
When you do find great online resources, you can even try to package them together for in-house training. This should always be done from a central point, mainly from a quality control perspective. You want someone who is very skilled in the topics to check and make sure they’re accurate.
However, if you find great little video tutorials or detailed online guides, you can share them in daily emails or even in team meetings. This way, people can check it out if they want, or ignore it if the learning doesn’t apply to them. It’s also a great way to address training and development needs at short notice, such as times when you have staff temporarily moving into a role that requires specific software use.
Go old school, and use training books
Ok, so we know this might sound like something everybody’s parents would say. But there is indeed still plenty of value in books. With so much information available online, we often forget that books and operation manuals used to be our only source of learning.
Remember those ‘Windows for Dummies’ and ‘Office for Dummies’ books? Well, they’re still around, and they’re still useful. You certainly don’t want everybody poring over instructional books all day, but there’s still plenty of value in having a bit of educational literature around the office.
Encourage staff to practice what they learn
Finally, it’s important to encourage learning through doing. It’s one of the most popular ways of learning, with many people preferring to just learn on the job rather than through facilitated training. There are always times when formal training is necessary, but make sure you give staff the chance to embed the skills they learn by actually doing it.
Consolidation of learning is always important, to ensure that training doesn’t go in one ear and out the other. As always, practice is one of the best ways to improve!