3 Considerations for Virtual Training to Engage Staff & Increase Sales
COVID-19 Leadership Series [PART 3]: 3 Considerations for Virtual Training to Engage Staff & Increase Sales
By Julie ann Wessinger, National Director, Client Performance Strategies | September 2, 2020
View Part 1 here: Tips to Keep Leadership Alive and Well in Uncertain Times
View Part 2 here: The Importance of Relationship-Building in Virtual Environments
With many employees still working from home, there is a continued need to develop virtual strategies for ongoing learning and training opportunities. Aside from supporting employee development and success, adopting virtual training programs can help build remote employee engagement and motivation, while at the same time reducing training costs by as much as 30-50%.i
Here are three things to take into consideration when building an effective, dynamic staff training program in a virtual environment.
1. Diversify the Formats
Studies show that varying the method of instruction can help improve retention and recall of information, and enhance the overall learning experience. Offering a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning tools can be a great way to train your staff in a virtual environment, as long as these tools are leveraged in an effective way. Deciding which format to use – i.e. hosting a live workshop versus assigning an e-learning exercise – is best determined once considering how your employees may best digest and the information being presented.
Synchronous Learning: Real-time sessions with more than one employee in attendance, i.e. virtual workshops and webinars.
- High interaction with instructors and other learners
- Feedback is immediate
- Learner questions can be answered instantly
- Needs a specific training schedule, so may be inconvenient for some learners
- Learners may feel they’re not receiving the individual attention they need
- Quality of the session depends on the facilitator
- Stay focused and communicate succinctly
- Build engaging presentations, through the use of visuals, stories, and interaction
- Be clear about participant expectations and involvement before, during, and after the session
- Encourage learners to participate, ask questions, and share insights
Asynchronous Learning: Independent sessions for employees to complete on their own, i.e. on-demand training videos and eLearning courses.
- Offers flexibility as learners go at their own pace
- Removes constraints of having to be in a certain place at a certain time
- It’s cost effective – no travel, venue or facilitator costs
- Scales training as you can train thousands of learners
- Contact through asynchronous learning may be limited
- Leaves some learners feeling isolated
- Learners need to be self-disciplined and motivated to complete the courses
- Make content engaging and easy to understand and follow
- Assign content that is relevant to the needs and skill-level of each learner
- Set clear, realistic expectations on when courses should be completed
- Track and review learner progress
2. Determine Levels of Interaction
When developing your virtual training curriculum consider if it makes sense to build interactive elements which can help build learner engagement and retention, but can take more time to plan and develop. If you choose to build in more interactive elements, it’s important to make sure these activities support the overarching goals and desired outcomes of the training. Examples of interactive elements include the following:
Chat features can be leveraged to inspire interaction and engagement during a live webinar. Instructors can position the chat feature as an opportunity for participants to ask whatever questions they have and an opportunity for the instructor to address these questions directly. Additionally, instructors can ask questions inviting participants to respond via the chat function. This tool is a great way to involve learners without too much interruption or distraction.
Use polls to ask simple content–related questions, such as ‘How many of you have offered this product to a member?’ You can also use polling to conduct a short quiz at the end. Aside from boosting interaction, polls can help to build a better picture of the participants to customize the training to their skill-level or needs.
Using exercises can help attendees tie concepts together and introduce ways they might apply what they learned. Using a closing exercise like a review game or final discussion can help reiterate the key takeaways from the session.
Discussions are an easy way to build engagement and interaction in a virtual setting. For smaller groups, you may have participants speak up freely to ask questions or answer questions. For larger groups, you may choose to leverage a tool that allows for breakouts to smaller groups. Collaboration tools like virtual ‘whiteboards’ or annotation tools might be considered for more technical or in-depth trainings.
3. Prepare & Plan Ahead
After deciding the logistics of your virtual training approach, it is smart to appropriately prepare to ensure all goes well. This includes pre-event, day-of-event, and post-event needs.
Preparations to consider ahead of each training include:
- Facilitator prep, like rehearsals or planning sessions
- Participant needs ahead of the session, like prework or login information
- Audio, visual, or other technology needs for all involved
Considerations to plan for during the live session:
- How to troubleshoot simple issues that may come up
- Audio, visual, or technology malfunction contingency plans
- How to engage with participants during the live session
Post-event considerations include:
- Follow-up communications or resources to send out to participants, i.e. the recorded session or application materials
- How managers should support employee application and accountability of newly learned skills
- If and when to assign follow-up trainings and/or new training sessions
Click Here to Download “Establishing a Strong Learning Culture: Checklist for Leaders”
As you build your virtual training strategies now and into the long-term, make sure to consider what style and approach will best support the needs of your organization and the participants involved. Selecting the right virtual training approach can enhance individual employee participation, support overall engagement, improve training goals and outcomes, and ultimately build more effective employees and sales producers within your institution.
Allied Solutions provides our clients dedicated training staff to help bolster employee engagement, confidence, and sales activity. Visit our “Accelerate” webpage to learn more about these services: alliedsolutions.net/accelerate
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Tune into our CUNA Operations & Member Experiences Council Virtual Conference presentation on September 30 at 12:15 ET: It's Not all Bad: Why and How to Adopt Long-Term Remote Leadership Strategies
About Allied Solutions
Allied Solutions, LLC is one of the largest providers of insurance, lending, and marketing products to financial institutions in the US. Allied Solutions uses technology-based products and services customized to meet the needs of 4,000 clients, along with a portfolio of innovative products and services from a wide variety of providers. Allied Solutions maintains over 16 regional offices and service centers around the country and is a subsidiary of Securian Financial Group, Inc.
Content in the blog posts are the opinion and views of the writer, and don't necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Allied Solutions.