Reap the Benefits of Excel Training for Employees (But Ask These 3 Questions First)
Microsoft Excel is an excellent business tool on which employees can build a solid and trusted foundation for their technical and business software skills. An employee with Excel skills can provide your company with endless benefits, but before sending your team to a class, ask these three questions.
A great leader understands the value of building the skills and experience of their employees.
Skill building is focusing on areas that can improve the overall performance of an employee.
By focusing on building your employees' skill levels, you show them that they are valuable to you and your company.
In turn, your employees will likely feel motivated to stick around because they understand how important they are to your team. Additionally, improving employees' skills can overlap with other job functions, making them better prepared for promotions or other positions within the organization.
One great skill that is beneficial to a person's overall abilities in business applications is Microsoft Excel.
MS Excel is used in many business applications for reporting, sorting, summing, and doing all sorts of number crunching activities. But the navigation and logic skills that Excel demands are very similar to all Microsoft Office products and many other business applications.
Learning those skills through accessible software such as Excel will encourage a strong foundation for users to build their software knowledge.
As a leader, providing training in Excel skills will help your team expand their software knowledge and give equal gain to both the individual and the company.
If you do not have an internal resource that offers Excel training classes, here are 3 tips to consider before signing your team up for Excel training courses:
1. What is the current Excel skill level of your employees?
While some users catch on quickly, others need to build their foundation slowly.
A beginner’s Excel training course starts with ideas such as what a cell is, how to save an Excel document, or how to navigate with columns and rows. If someone has never worked in Excel, a beginner's class is a great place to start.
For someone who has been using Excel as a calculator, look for an intermediate course that will enhance their skills and inspire them to advance their knowledge.
If you're unsure of your team's skill levels, ask your employees these questions to gauge how familiar they are with Excel software and find the right class -
Start with a class for Beginners if they answer 'no' to any of these:
First and foremost, have you ever used Excel?
Have you ever created an Excel spreadsheet, entered data, and formatted it to analyze meaningful data?
Have you worked with Excel formulas and are familiar with how to use them?
Do you know any Excel shortcuts?
Start with an intermediate class if they answer 'no' to any of these:
Do you understand the sorting and filtering capabilities?
Have you worked with tables, lists, and pivot tables?
Have you set data validation rules?
Start with an advanced class if they answer 'no' to any of these:
Do you have advanced skills in using formulas?
How familiar are you with lookup and text-based functions?
Can you fix another user's mistakes and solve their errors?
Are you familiar with "what if" analysis tools?
Have you worked with Excel macros/VBA?
2. What teaching format will be most beneficial?
In-Person or Online
Excel classes can be held in-person and online. Depending on your team, you will need to decide which option will be more valuable to the group.
In-person training offers users the capability to ask questions, get assistance, and work with other users personally. If someone is learning a new skill, in-person training can offer the user many benefits because the expert is available, and unique questions can be answered quickly and easily.
However, online Excel training classes offer more flexible scheduling and can be started and stopped at the user’s pace. If you opt for online training, make sure the employee has dedicated time to train and focus on the information.
Watch or Hands-On
Another format decision is: “watch the presenter” versus hands-on testing.
There are some very affordable Excel training conferences, yet they are usually “watch the presenter." These training conferences do not usually allow you to have a computer to test with or repeat what the presenter is doing.
This might be acceptable for a user who is already intimately familiar with Excel but might not be best for a user trying to build a new skill.
Contrarily, hands-on testing offers the user a trial and error experience and is a great option for beginners to advanced-level users.
There are many free Excel resources that you could compile. Still, you will have to weigh whether your team will do better learning new Excel skills on their own by following a video shot in the past or if they will benefit from being in a classroom (or virtually) with hands-on teaching in real-time.
3. Does the specific training meet your business goals?
Once as a controller, I sent a group of employees to an Excel training.
When they came back, they were excited to show me that they learned to insert their picture into a comment. While a cool trick, I was disappointed because my expectations for the class were not reached.
As a result, the training did not meet my business goals.
A training class or trainer should tell you the skills they will teach to ensure the class aligns with your overall business goals.
If this is a beginner’s class, this point is less relevant because learning the basics must be achieved first.
However, if this is an intermediate or advanced class, this point becomes more important to the results you hope to achieve through the employee learning this skill.
Great leaders tend to see employees as the greatest asset to their company, which is why it is so important to pour time and money into skill-building opportunities.
Microsoft Excel is an excellent business tool on which employees can build a solid and trusted foundation for their technical and business software skills.
In turn, building an employee's knowledge of Excel can truly have a huge benefit of equal value for both the employee and your company.
When your employee grows, so will your company.
But before registering your team for an Excel training course, make sure to determine your people's skill level, the best training format, and what your business goals a successful Excel training will accomplish.
Infuzion Solutions offers local Excel training on-site and at our Knoxville offices. We can tailor an Excel class for your team and/or your organization. We offer classes from beginners to advanced VBA/macro classes. If you would like to learn more about training options, email me at Corrie@infuzion.com.