Most firms, when they install new software, so some sort of training. The results of which are frequently abysmal, as Casey Flaherty demonstrated with his “Legal Tech Audit” several years ago. Add to this the new Bar Association requirements in many states that attorneys be more or less computer literate, and you have a training issue. My experience is mainly with Worldox, but the following is applicable to most software programs.
After the initial training, most firms don’t do any follow-up training or refresher training after a period of time. New hires frequently have to "muddle through" with ad hoc assistance from other users. Refresher training generally serves three purposes:
1) It lets users ask specific questions they might have and customize the program to meet their particular needs.
2) It helps establish a minimum level of competency and bring users up to speed. It will also fill in the gaps for new users without much formal training.
3) It allows for the introduction of new and/or advanced features that may not have been covered initially.
So why don’t more firms do this? Aside from simple inertia, objections to refresher training tend to invoke two main arguments.
The first is: we’re too busy. Aside from periods of peak activity, this argument is oxymoronic, since it boils down to the following statement: “we’re too busy to do anything that will increase efficiency and productivity and consequently become less busy.”
The second argument is: it’s too expensive. This is much more interesting, if equally fallacious. Most smaller firms don’t do a lot of ROI (Return On Investment) analysis, but consider the following: An hour or two of training for, say, 6 people, will cost $200-400. If each of those 6 people save 6 minutes a day, or 30 minutes a week, the total time savings for the firm is 25 hours per year per person, or 150 hours. If you assume a conservative pro forma billing rate for assistants and paralegals of $50/hour, then the time savings per year is $7,500. Cut the time savings in half and you still have a substantial gain.
Equally important is the decrease in frustration and aggravation that better training accomplishes. Many studies show that happier people are more productive.
So in reality the question is not: what does it cost to do refresher training, but what does it cost a firm NOT to train. Firms need to be proactive in this area.