Learning the Benefits of Virtual Training
Today, there’s a lot that we can’t control. But there’s a lot that we can. Virtual learning is one way to maintain connection to business goals- and each other.
So, you’re suddenly working from home. Join the club!
No, literally, join the club. Over the past few weeks, many people have joined communities of fellow co-workers, online, filled with other people whom they had previously not known. Just to get human connection and a shared experience.
In our new WFH set-ups, many are waking up to what many (read: Millennials) have known all along – video technology is fantastic. Video creates the feelings of connection and collaboration so desperately needed today.
At Integrity, we’ve had several company-wide video meetings over the past week. The energy was palpable. Especially with our social isolation, seeing everyone’s faces and hearing everyone’s voices and ideas brought a sense of relief and optimism. Togetherness.
For these meetings, we use Zoom. Zoom enables meetings of either one-to-one or up to 100 people with seamless functionality like video or screensharing, recording, breakout rooms, chat, and polls. We use the “Gallery View” to see everyone’s face (kind of like the Brady Bunch). These meetings feel like actual meetings, not the “one-way” webinars of the past.
Our Virtual Learning Keys To Success
One key reason that our meetings have been a success is that Integrity Solutions has been at the forefront of live virtual learning for many years. Our programs have always combined face-to-face workshops with virtual follow-up/sustainment sessions, so this is not something new to us. Another reason our meetings have been successful is because of one of our many expert facilitators. With his trademark enthusiasm, he read the room to see who was engaged and called on people to keep conversation flowing. He also shared with us some “pro tips” on how to make video meetings run like Swiss watch. Examples included sending ‘How-to use Zoom’ videos in advance and being 100% fluent in the participant experience to quickly troubleshoot issues (e.g. “Wiggle your mouse, you’ll see this toolbar at the top”).
Our facilitators have become fluent with Zoom recently, as have many others on the Integrity team. Last year, a healthcare client requested that we translate our flagship Integrity Selling® program- which traditionally has a blend of digital, face-to-face and live virtual training- to an all live virtual experience. This client needed flexibility. In healthcare, as in many industries, they simply couldn’t afford to have their sales team spend multiple days out of the field.
Adapting To Virtual Work and Learning
So, we went virtual. The program operates the same way – same pre-work, same core concepts and insights gained in the program, same follow-up sessions – but the delivery is online. The main difference is that the program is facilitated in three blocks of two hour sessions or two blocks of three hour sessions, depending on what works better for the client. (Most sales teams or call center teams opt for the three two-hour sessions, to fit better into their schedules. The learning experience is often tighter and more engaging this way as well.)
Benefits of Virtual Training
This has been a tremendous success, both for the client and for us. We learned a tremendous amount of best practices from that engagement and have since developed live virtual versions of our core offerings, Integrity Selling® and Integrity Coaching®, with more to follow in the coming weeks. For clients, flexibility of delivery is a benefit of virtual training delivery. Today, this is not only a benefit, but a necessity.
Other benefits of virtual training that our clients are seeing:
- Lower investment – 30-50% lower total costs, as travel and expenses for participants and facilitators are eliminated. Meeting room and audio/visual costs are eliminated. Time out of field is also mitigated, reducing opportunity costs.
- Companies can maintain their training schedules despite travel restrictions – Sales reps and managers still need to be trained, especially at times when improved skills are needed. This allows for business continuity.
- More individualized focus and coaching from the facilitator – With smaller groups of up to 15 people, participants with Behavior Styles which make them more prone to sit back passively are more likely to actively participate, as they are more comfortable. Additionally, using breakout rooms of 3-4 people vs table groups of 6-7 result in more involvement from everyone.
- Increase participation from everyone – People can’t hide in crowd and just listen passively. The facilitator can keep track of when each person talks and then let the group know that those who haven’t spoken yet will be called upon. That pulls (and keeps) people in.
- Less time out of the field – Virtual training reduces time out of the field by 50% (to/from traveling).
- Easy access – Instead of requiring people come to training, you are bringing the training to them. Participants can be anywhere in the world as long as they have internet connection.
So, virtual training has many benefits. (Some facilitators are even beginning to favor this delivery method for the learning benefits and ease of facilitation.) Live training events have many, many obvious benefits as well. But when in-person training is out, and sales teams are home on the bench, many are turning to virtual as a way to use this time to “sharpen the saw” and develop skills that will be needed to sell their way out of a potential looming recession.
Today, there’s a lot that we can’t control. But there’s a lot that we can. Virtual training is one way to maintain connection to business goals — and to each other. If any of this has resonated with you, please don’t hesitate to reach out for a conversation – video or otherwise!