Digital Training

I joined this fast moving, exciting industry nearly 5 years ago.  Previously I had HR and recruitment jobs in the music industry.  Training and development courses for people in music are not standard by any means but there are recognised courses and skills based training that people can attend in order to help their personal growth. 


The situation is definitely different in digital.  The challenges I’ve been faced with are many and not limited to:-


  • How can you train someone on flash when new versions are constantly being released – the training you’ve paid for is obsolete soon after its done?


  • How can you commit budget to training around an application that may not go any further and become obsolete?


  • How can you train someone about digital marketing approaches that are constantly shifting when different forms of communication through new technology, applications and sites are sweeping across the market place?


It is very easy to just rely on old style courses and hope that there are some transferable learnings.  They can work but not on its own.  I have discovered however that there are some key things you can do to try and ensure your people are growing in skills and experience while they work with you.  None of it is rocket science but hopefully the combination of these will help!


  1. Look at the key competencies for a position and find training to address them specifically
    This is particularly relevant for marketing, account management and strategy.  There isn’t a course that I can find out there that can teach you how to be a great Digital Account Manager (unless you specialise).  We have looked at the different qualities and skills that make a great account manager and organised training around those eg negotiation, presentation.  I am really looking forward to see how the Account Manager course that’s being put together by NMK goes.


  2. Encourage people to learn themselves
    We hire and encourage people to take the approach that they always want to find new and better ways of doing things.  They want to be ahead of the game with their knowledge and understanding and will go about doing that themselves, no matter what official courses you arrange for them.  We will help them along the way by pointing them in the right direction eg seminars, networking evenings etc but it is mainly directed by them.


  3. Use the talent & experience of your managers to teach others
    Try to ensure that people who join you at a more junior level work are managed by those who have worked in the industry for a while and can teach them day to day how to tackle new things, challenging them at every step of the way.  In addition, a mentoring scheme can provide people with another way to learn through seeking other people’s opinions and advice.  Finally, these more senior people can run sessions for the company on their particular expertise whether that be for example an audience specialism, specific technical knowledge etc.  You may want to hire someone to help you deliver this in-house training.  We have found that having someone in to train the trainer really useful when we have run our own sessions (and saves us a lot of cost!).


  4. Share the knowledge and learnings


    1. With all the information that’s going around make sure the important stuff is easily accessible to everyone in whatever way works best for your company


    2. Hold best practise workshops within teams/across the company – they can be hugely helpful to those new to the industry (and to those who’ve had more experience too)


    3. Use company meetings to share learnings (whether good or bad) across client teams /disciplines.  Celebrate your successes! 


Hopefully we’ll be able to use all or some of these tactics to help everyone grow and develop even during these difficult times.