October 23, 2014

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Training Managers Discuss Innovations in Employee Education

By Rachel Madison

October 23, 2014

Salt Lake City – A panel of experts in training and professional development spoke on the innovations that keep their companies moving ahead in the training realm during a Women Tech Council Tech Talk Thursday.

From service reps wearing Google Glass to iPads containing a company’s entire suite of training videos and manuals, training has evolved in numerous ways thanks to technology. The four panelists discussed this technology and what it means for companies today and in the future.

Jeff Ross, vice president of sales at Pluralsight, said training has changed a lot in recent years.

“As a company, what we’ve recognized is the way people want to learn is different now than what it’s traditionally been,” he said. “For millennials it’s all about mobility—that’s how they want to learn. Our product is available on mobile devices and it has to be, because that’s how people learn. Forty percent of our users find their information on their phones—not at their desktop, in a training class or at school.”

Ross also said independent learning has become very important when it comes to training, because of the idea that everybody has their own way of learning.

“Most companies are focused on a single type of learning, but companies need to have a strategy in place,” he said. “You may need to try the blended approach, with both face-to-face learning and e-learning.”

Clain Udy, field services training manager at Vivint, recently developed a totally mobile training platform for his employees. Employees are able to watch videos, read instructions and more through the app.

“With millennials, their learning is more micro-learning,” he said. “It’s part of what they do and they do it on the fly. They use all sorts of different vehicles to do that. Learning becomes a part of the work itself.”

John Love, who manages quality and regulatory training at GE Healthcare, says mobility has become extremely important for his company because 30 percent of their business is done remotely, due to many individual employees being the only ones at their location.

“They don’t come into the office,” he said. “We have to spend a lot of money to bring them in and do a training class, so e-learning solutions are needed to master the content. The interaction you get from face-to-face learning is important, but there are a lot of additional opportunities like video chat, web interfaces and message boards that can be used as learning tools. It’s not face-to-face, but there’s still that level of interaction.”

Emily Lucht, manager of employee education and development at inContact, said her company employs a three-part training program that was created to take employees from “hire to retire.”

Employees participate in a two-week training when they are hired, in addition to some e-learning before they start their job, and then six months into their career, they have additional training that builds on what they’ve learned on the job. Finally, there’s a master level where those with tenure are recognized and encouraged to participate in an ongoing learning process, Lucht said.

“How do you keep employees engaged so they continue in their career and professional development? How do you encourage seasoned employees to give back to less tenured employees?” she said. “We want to take employees from hire to retire. What we’re also trying to do is alleviate our managers who are spending too much time in the role of training, and we’re trying to internally use subject matter experts to make them feel like there’s a place for them to give back.”

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