by Vanessa James
If you’re like most IT professionals, you spend a lot of time fixing, improving and monitoring the company database. But are we really doing everything we can to make sure the database is running at its best?
We all know that the biggest database variables are the people using them. This is why we need to focus some of our time (not a lot, but some) on training employees to use the company database correctly. But let’s face it — training isn’t exactly our specialty. That’s OK. These tips can help you train employees to use the database without breaking it, without sucking too much of your time out of other, probably more important, projects.
Host a Seminar
The best way to explain database usage to employees is to show them. The most efficient way of doing this is to show all of the employees at once. Take a half hour out of a day when everyone is in and explain the importance of correct data input and show them exactly how to do that. If you need to have a couple of sessions to reach everyone, then do it. Keep the seminar short and engaging. Leave time for questions but in case no one has any, have some extra features to show off.
Make a Handout
This is a good thing to have at your seminar so people can take notes, and also to always have on hand to pass out, especially to new employees who may have missed your training. Make sure the handout is as simple and jargon-free as possible. Have step-by-step instructions with screen shots — imagine you’re writing an online tutorial.
Only Share the Basics
You may be fascinated by the inner workings and advanced functions of the company database, but other employees aren’t. Don’t go into the minute details of how the database works. They don’t need to know that. Just show them how to do what they need to do and let them get back to the part of their jobs that they enjoy.
Send Emails… But Not Too Often)
It’s important to let people know whether information has been entered incorrectly, and how to fix it. But if you send three emails a day, they’ll start to skim or even delete them without reading. Combine several points into one email in order to cut down on the quantity of messages, and only send emails about pertinent information.
Be sure to keep each message short and to the point. People will gloss over stuff they care less about, so bold or highlight key items. Also, only mark emails as important if they actually are. Otherwise people will start ignoring you altogether.
Make sure people know you’re the expert, and that if they have any questions they can ask you. By being approachable, you’ll avoid having the database clogged up with useless information and you’ll make your biggest variable — the people — more predictable.
Vanessa James is a business technology consultant specializing in database management. She has a passion for sharing her knowledge with individuals and companies alike. She currently writes for Oracle monitoring solutions provider confio.com.