While researching his book 1,001 Ways to Engage Employees, Dr. Bob Nelson performed an ambitious analysis of three million employee surveys. He wanted to discover what the greatest drivers of employee engagement were.
The greatest? Employee recognition.
The second greatest? Career development.
He found that where employees receive learning, development and advancement opportunities systematically from their employers, they are far more engaged.
Research shows that employees who self-sponsor their learning are more than twice as likely as those who receive organizational support to see their development as a stepping-stone to a new employer1.
That’s not what you want.
Employers and managers should not stop at just sponsoring their employees’ training. Instead, they should actively create a conducive environment for training, maybe by allowing employees to learn during office hours or by lightening their workloads.
As remote work becomes the new reality, virtual training and e-learning (slated to be a $200B industry by 20242) present an excellent opportunity for employers to keep their employees engaged. There is a small learning curve involved, though.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- Why you should consider conducting training online
- How to set up a virtual training session on RingCentral Video in 4 steps
Why virtual training?
Look to the success and reputation of “academy” companies like General Electric and Proctor and Gamble3, and it’s easy to see the correlation between employee development and company success. Small and medium businesses (SMBs) can reap the same rewards at their own scale. For SMBs, virtual trainings are the more effective option, and here’s why:
1. Virtual training is cheaper—both for employers and employees
Employers save money on logistics, accommodation, venues, and snacks, the presenter saves precious time, and everyone saves on their commute. This removes the pressure on organizers to cram too much information into a few days or hours. The resources could instead be diverted to improving the program as the business scales up.
2. Virtual training supports the way individuals learn
A learning dump as described above isn’t exactly conducive to long-term retention. (Instead, for today’s attention spans, consistent, bite-sized lessons might be better.) Virtual training allows you to teach the way people learn.
Tip: According to the theory of “The Forgetting Curve,” about 75% of new information is forgotten within a week if it isn’t applied.
3. Participants can join in from wherever they are
With virtual training, employees can have access to the same standardized curriculum whether they’re at the headquarters in New York or tuning in from work-ation in Nepal. When virtual training is made more accessible, it encourages more participation.
4. Virtual training allows participants to pace themselves
Different people learn differently, and with the sophisticated tech available to us today, we can ditch the one-size-fits-all approach. With recorded virtual trainings or open online course-style trainings, participants can return to the material if they need a refresher.
5. Virtual trainings are more easily customizable
Researcher Monica Hamori advises that for best results, individuals should be matched to different training formats and different topics based on the skills that they’ll need to put to use in the company4.
This would be harder to execute in the traditional form of training, but it’s possible with technology like RingCentral Video.
How to set up a virtual training session on RingCentral in 4 easy steps
RingCentral Video makes it ridiculously easy to organize virtually anything that involves communication across distances. The RingCentral app (which comes with the RingCentral Office® license) consolidates your team messaging, video conferencing, and phone calls in one place, taking the pain out of coordinating training and materials.
You could organize pretty much any kind of virtual training using RingCentral Video. Here’s how:
Step 1: Sign up for RingCentral Video
Head to the Plans and Pricing page to select the features and add-ons you need:
Step 2. Invite participants to a scheduled training session
You can add up to 200 participants on RingCentral Video. Participants don’t need a RingCentral account in order to join the training—they can join just by clicking a link in their internet browser.
Here’s how to send your invites:
1. Tap “Schedule” to create a meeting, then input the date and time, and set up the options for audio, video, and calendar. (If you want to start a meeting right away, just hit “Start.”)
After you click “Schedule,” you can choose the time and date, and also make your meeting more secure by using a meeting ID and setting up a password:
2. You can send invitations to participants via email (Google or Office 365 are the default) or text message, directly from your phone’s RingCentral app.
3. You can even just give participants a meeting ID, and ask them to sign in on their browsers.
If you’re running an ad-hoc training session, add your participants on the fly directly from your team’s chat on the RingCentral App:
Step 3. Prepare
With RingCentral Video, you won’t need complicated tech-checks and sound-checks hours before the training session, but you do need to have easy access to the presentations and multimedia materials you want to use. Here are a few preparation tips—whether you’re using RingCentral Video or any other virtual training tool:
- Clean up your desktop so you have all your files easily accessible during the training.
- Set up a second display monitor. This will make it easier for you to manage the materials and programs you might have open while running your virtual training.
- Subject matter experts (SMEs) often suffer from the “curse of knowledge,” which is a cognitive bias that makes them think that other people have the same level of context and background info that they do (which isn’t always the case). Have a non-SME or a layperson sit in on a dry run (or observe the actual training session) to evaluate the accessibility of the presentation.
Step 4. On the day of the training, make sure everything goes smoothly with RingCentral Video’s options
Familiarize yourself with all the options available to you in advance to have an easier time while presenting.
1. Bar latecomers from entering
If you really want to enforce punctuality, you can also “lock” the meeting room (so no more people can enter after a certain time):
2. Mute yourself (see #1)
Background noise is minimized to a large extent on RingCentral Video, but if you’re in a particularly bustling place, hit the microphone-shaped icon on your main dashboard to mute the mic.
3. Mute your participants (see #6)
The icon next to “Invite Participants,” takes you to a menu of controls that allows you to mute your participants’ audio, so you can focus on presenting.
4. Pause video (see #3)
If you’d like to create breaks during long training sessions, you can pause the video until you’re ready to return.
5. Share your screen (See #7)
If you wish to present with notes or files you have on your computer, you can opt to share your screen with your participants:
6. Annotate your shared screen
Draw directly onto the screen using the annotate feature to highlight or demonstrate key points during your presentation:
7. Enable non-verbal feedback
Participants can use the chat box during meetings to ask questions and give kudos without verbally interrupting the speaker:
8. Hand the remote to participants
Sometimes employees might have questions and need to point out something in your document. You might also want them to demonstrate their understanding of a problem by working it out for everyone to see. You can do that by assigning them to be the moderator:
9. Share assignments and resources
You can toggle the “Manage on File Sharing” setting on the administration page to share worksheets, exercise files, and any other materials with employees as the session goes on:
Get the best results from virtual training on RingCentral Video
Virtual training is often seen as the lesser method of traditional instruction. People argue that there’s a lack of “personal touch,” and miss the in-person atmosphere of a classroom or a seminar room.
It’s easy to forget that often, setting up traditional training sessions can be really resource-intensive—don’t be tempted to skip out on training altogether. And in traditional training, extroverts tend to overshadow introverts. Virtual learning creates a more level field in that sense.