Monday Mornings with Madison

The Video Revolution – Part 2

Word Count:  1,711 

Estimated Read Time:  7  min.

Using Video for Training

Two of the biggest challenges that regional and national companies face are training new hires and then keeping all staff up-to-date on company changes such as new software programs, updated policies, and evolving procedures.  Just getting corporate office staff trained and keeping them current is enough of a challenge.  Training takes time and consumes resources.  A lot of information is thrust at employees at one time.  Meanwhile, productivity drops or stops during training.   Customer service suffers and employees are tasked with keeping up with the workload while making time for training.  If doing that for corporate staff is hard, then training regional or national employees is even more difficult, especially when some or all of those employees are working remotely from small regional offices, executive offices or home offices.  This is particularly difficult in the U.S. due to the country’s vast geographical size.  Bringing a cadre of regional or national staff together to one location for training incurs a lot of hard costs and generates a lot of down time not just for training but also for travel.

The challenge for training new hires is even greater.  Managers need to share a great deal of information with new employees in a very short amount of time.  New hires often report that it is like drinking from a fire hose.  This is not the ideal way to retain new information or make a new hire feel comfortable and confident.  Bringing all new employees to one central location for in-person training is also hard and expensive.  New hire training often can make or break an employee’s effectiveness for years to come.

To tackle both issues, companies are discovering the value of training videos.  Video facilitates training and ensures that training is effective.  Live Webcasting and dynamic on-demand training modules that employees can watch and process at their own pace help increase retention. And video-based training can be done without travel—at employees’ exec suites, home offices, or even a nearby Starbucks.  This minimizes disruption and costs.  Here are tips and best practices on how to use video for training.

Why Using Training Videos Makes Sense

Some leaders may think that the cost and hassle of creating training videos cancels out the benefits.  Besides saving on travel, coordination of schedules and the time spent by trainers to do the training over and over, there are a multitude of reasons why it just makes sense to use video for training.

1. Video training can be viewed any time.

Employees can watch the training video when work is slow or when it is most convenient for the employee’s schedule, not necessarily when the training is being taught.   And videos are now more accessible than ever, making learning available anytime, anywhere.

2.  Video lessons can be viewed over and over, as needed.

Not everyone learns at the same pace.  Some people need time to process information.  Some may need to hear a lesson more than once before they ‘get it.’  With video, a lesson can be repeated over and over.  And if some aspect of a process or procedure is learned and then forgotten because it was not used or implemented right away, the employee can go back and view the video again to refresh their recollection.  Also, every time a new employee is hired, the training videos are immediately available so that the person can begin the onboarding process.

3.  Video offers both visual cues and sound, which reinforce learning.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then consider how much can be learned through video which offers both pictures and sound.  There is strong science behind the use of images, pictures and diagrams to convey information.  Research shows we recall more easily when we learn with visuals and auditory input.  Pictures communicate a thought or an idea in a tangible way.

4. Video storytelling is more engaging.

When information is presented in a PowerPoint presentation of slides of bullet pointed lists, it engages only one part of the brain: the Broca’s or Wernicke’s area which processes language by decoding words into meaning.  But video is much more than just a combination of visuals and sounds.  Video tells a story.  When a person hears a story, not only are the language processing parts of the brain being used, but every other area in the brain is utilized to interpret the story.  Video motion causes the motor cortex of the brain to become active as well as the language processing area.  Also, stories are told in narratives, which is how we think.  Stories offer cause and effect, tapping into the very way we understand the world.  It is simply more engaging.  As the ancient Chinese proverb says, “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”

5. Video lessons ensure information is presented consistently.

When teaching a new process, it is important for everyone to learn it the same way. If the training is offered to various groups, offices or departments over the period of a week, chances are the lesson will be taught differently each time.  Each trainer has a different style or emphasis, which means it’s impossible to make sure everyone hears one consistent message.  With video training, this is not an issue.  Video training ensures everyone learns the same information the same way.

6.  Video is cost effective but must be done right.

There is a misconception that videos are expensive and time-consuming to produce.  That may have been true years ago, but not anymore.  Video can be a cost effective method of communicating with employees anywhere.  That said, video must be done properly and professionally.  Poorly executed videos with technical distractions can have a hugely detrimental effect to the message.  Employees distracted by a shaking camera, poor lighting, blurry images, or muffled sound will neither engage with the story nor master the lesson.  It is important to prepare the lesson carefully and ensure that the instructor and instruction is engaging, and that the video quality is clean and clear.

Types of Training Videos

Training videos are being used now for a multitude of reasons.  Here are some of the top ways that companies are using video for training.

1.  Speeding up Onboarding of New Employees

New employees must absorb large amounts of complex information for a new job typically within in just a few days. This is best done in a visual manner.  And, rather than have new employees all report to one location where the subject matter experts are located, videos are used to share knowledge quickly and easily from multiple people to a variety of others — hired over a span of time.

Brief explainer videos of easy-to-digest content are best.  Each video can focus on a different policy or topic. Short videos – up to 5 minutes in length – can be viewed and understood quickly.  A library of video assets that covers a variety of corporate policies, programs, and procedures makes it easy for a new employee to absorb a lot of information.  Companies that use an enterprise video platform can ensure that employees watch the videos and comply with onboarding by tracking viewer statistics by employee.

2.  Introducing New Products, Programs, or Procedures

The fast pace of change for practically every industry today – from software to medicine to banking – means companies must be constantly introducing new products or services, upgrades, and changes in delivery.  There are ever more details for employees and sales teams to learn.  Videos can dramatically streamline and speed up employee learning versus traditional in-person training.   That means training videos can actually give one company an edge over another.  By staying in-the-know, employees can knowledgably discuss changes internally as well as with customers, partners, and media.  When stored in an internal company library, employees can view videos on the go for quick reference or a refresher before meetings.

3.  Providing Ongoing Professional Development

Once new employees are on board , the learning process is not done.  There is still more to learn. Many businesses provide continuing education options, beyond their own company’s products and services.  Many companies will offer training on the latest market trends, sales strategies and professional development skills.  Valuable content is preserved and shared, improving employee knowledge retention and collaboration.

Sometimes, a short video can demonstrate something, explain a point or answer a question better than words ever can. The first-ever moving picture, shot in 1878, was created to answer a basic question: How do horses move their legs when they run?  Before moving pictures, it was not known. Stringing several frames together in quick succession provided the answer.  At times, a 10-second tutorial video can say more than an entire novel could.

4.  Delivering Safety Training

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) understands that training videos are incredibly useful in disseminating important information, answering FAQs, and demonstrating the right and wrong way of performing tasks on the job in order to prevent accidents and injuries.  Topics range from how to prevent strains, sprains, drowning and falls to how to deal with tornados, floods and fireworks.  They show how to walk on scaffolding, work in confined spaces, and protect the respiratory system.  Videos are as short as 1 minute 36 seconds and as long as 55 minutes, depending on the topic.

The reason safety training videos make so much sense is because they can show – not just tell – someone how to actually do something and how not to do it.  It might be difficult to describe in words just how to walk on scaffolding – placement of feet, balance, awareness — but a demonstration shows what is the right protocol and what not to do. A video can actually both show and tell, and it can even show what could happen if the instructions are not followed. In safety training videos, reenacting case studies is particularly helpful because they show mistakes made by others and ways to prevent them.

Ultimately, with all training videos, they key thing to remember is that they should be brief and concise, simple and straightforward, and should get relevant information across in an easy-to-understand method. That will ensure those training videos are useful and worthwhile for a long time to come.

Quote of the Week

״It’s all to do with the training: you can do a lot if you’re properly trained.״ Elizabeth II, Queen of Great Britain


© 2017, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.

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