Productivity can be a frustrating concept. Even if you feel you're working effectively, projects can still emerge lacking efficiency and doing nothing to increase your ROI. However, the good news is that with a quick refresher your team can be up and running again with vigor. If you seek out where productivity is lacking, you can have your employees take a quick break to engage in virtual training geared toward solving the problem. At the same time, you can conduct an audit of your current virtual-training resources to make sure you have something relevant in your dashboard.
Benefits of virtual training for productivity in the workplace
When it comes to virtual training, if you build it, they will come. As described by Grant Cardone in a contribution to The Huffington Post, "Virtual training has the prospect of greater interaction, two-way communication, full accountability, testing and allows for 24/7 accessibility." That last point is particularly relevant to boosting productivity. At times, in-person group seminars or lectures may seem like more of a detriment to productivity than a catalyst. On the virtual side, no travel is required and employees are able to train at their own computers, according to their own schedules.
And for many practitioners of virtual training, the benefits are visible in the numbers. Even if there's just one area where productivity is lacking, make sure you're tracking analytics on any assignments that you send out. IBM, for example, found that "Skill levels linked to business value yield a 10% increase in productivity," when it studied The Value of Training. In other words, a skilled staff is a productive staff.
Once you've embraced virtual training, there are certain steps you can take to update the process and positively affect productivity.
Ask yourself these four questions about your available learning tools in order to adjust them for higher productivity:
Question 1: Are they outdated?
Yes, it's an obvious question. But it's also a dreaded one because depending on the answer it may involve updating or recreating existing learning tools. Nonetheless, if your workplace is switching to MS Office 365 from the 2007 version, there will be a lot in your current training that becomes moot. In addition to the content of the tools being outdated, ask yourself if the format or construction needs revamping. Take videos, for example. Since high definition is now the standard, fuzzy screens, dated clothing and elevator music all detract from the message and can make watching them a chore.
If you know you're using software that's updated regularly, leave the training to the experts. By seeking outside help, you're relieving yourself of the duty to find every aspect of the software that has changed and acknowledging it. You may even want to order custom modules that cater to the way the software interacts with specific roles in your company, especially if you're short on time.
Question 2: Are they relevant to everyone who has to use them?
Let's say you toiled to create a comprehensive video of Excel geared toward helping all of your employees. At some point you'll likely schedule a time to have them all sit down and watch it. While your intentions are noble, you may be setting yourself up for trouble if different departments use Excel for different tasks. Use a dashboard of shorter videos that cater to specific tasks one a time. If the topics are solution-driven, your employees will follow suit.
Question 3: Are they rewarding?
Do your learning tools have any sort of achievement system? Does it have training tracking in place so you know when someone has accomplished the assignment? With the availability of positive-reinforcement devices such as badges, you can reward your staff with more than just money. If you don't have access to badges, provide your employees with suggested verbiage for adding completed training to ther LinkedIn profiles and resumes. By doing so, you're re-emphasizing that training is mutually beneficial.
Question 4: Are they engaging?
Not every training module can be deemed "fun" without forcing the issue. But there are certain things you can do to up the fun factor in a subtle way. Take the theories behind gamification in the workplace and put them to use. And if you notice your staff needs an injection of energy, use a method with an interactive element and hire a trainer with a sense of humor and engaging personality. Even just being able to ask questions during a live webinar or group session can make them more memorable and entertaining. Finally, find ways for your employees to share their accomplishments on social media. The chance to earn bragging rights can bolster their participation and push them to seek more learning opportunities.