By: Joe Schulz, VP Emerging Technology at Orasi Software
2020 proved to the world that we can all effectively work remotely. In fact, one of America’s corporate titans, Ford Motor Co., recently told 30,000 employees worldwide who’ve been working from home that they can do so indefinitely. Salesforce, Facebook, Google, and other tech firms have also said they’ll continue select work-from-home policies, too. As a result of this permanent cultural shift, we are already seeing large corporations reduce office space/real estate. At Orasi, we’re consolidating (for the better), too.
This seismic shift presents new virtual global training and development opportunities. Organizations are no longer reliant on conference rooms for classrooms and are delivering much needed continuing education directly to people’s desktops.
Five things we anticipate regarding corporate training moving forward include:
1. Organizations will again offer physical classrooms options for corporate training, but a combination of in-person and virtual learning will more likely be the norm. The same is true for traditional technical conferences that often consisted of in-person training and workshops. They will return with an on-site presence, but not until 2022 on any type of large scale, and companies will augment the large conferences with intermittent virtual experiences.
2. Big internal meetings will become a combo of in-person and virtual. It’s easy to imagine a day or two of a virtual “kick off” – most found that to work well in 2020 and Q1 2021 – with only one day of an in-person “boondoggle,” saving on travel costs and out of office time. We found virtual events/gatherings in 2020 stayed more focused, productive, and on schedule vs. historically in-person events, and people appreciated the mindfulness as well as efficiency.
3. Geographic training barriers will be broken down, forever. Training will become more global vs. separation of geographies. Meaning, in the past, software trainers have often scheduled public training classes (students from multiple companies) in multiple cities at the same time. That was expensive because it required multiple facilities to be setup/rented with many dedicated instructors that (likely) had to travel to get to the designated training destination. Also, it resulted in frequently cancelled and rescheduled classes because many locations would fail to enroll a minimum number of students to make the training cost effective. And, rescheduling classes resulted in a lot of extra administrative work, possible cancellation fees from rental facilities, upset students who’ve likely planned schedule around the dates, and frustrated instructors who had to rearrange schedules and were forced to deal with “dead time” that may have counted against their performance review.
Instead, 2020 proved that customers will attend virtual instructor-led training (VILT) classes and that VILT is as (or more) effective than in-person. Going forward, most public training will be virtually conducted with one instructor teaching any number of students across the country/globe at the same time. This is significantly more cost effective for the training organization, requires fewer instructors overall, and eliminates the likelihood of cancelled classes.
4. On demand virtual training will rise, but slowly due to lack of content creators. It’s more convenient and more likely to get people to “attend” when they can do it at their own pace. However, on demand training requires some prework by a content creator to build descriptive assets (e.g., videos, instructions, samples). Therefore, while this would be the ideal direction to move, few companies have dedicated content creators.
5. MORE training. Because money traditionally reserved for travel expenses is being allocated elsewhere throughout the organization, companies will be adding more professional development to people’s plates. In place of one expensive tradeshow, an employee can attend 3-5 online classes, enhancing their knowledge base to the benefit of the company.
“We had to rethink many of the ways we conduct our business given the state of the world and the current economy,” says Lara Olsen, Training Coordinator and an AEC Applications Specialist,” MicroCAD Training and Consulting. “For our virtual setup, I used to juggle eight physical computers that required VPN access and six virtual computers between all our trainers and classes, which was difficult and time consuming. We went from using two different training platforms that were unreliable and expensive to OrasiLabs’s single platform which is very easy to use, manage, and scale. Now we can offer better training to more people in a more efficient and successful manner.”
We agree. Certainly, with every challenge comes opportunity, and the global pandemic and stay-at-home shutdown is no exception. What has been an “interesting” year, to say the least, unveiled overdue opportunities for companies of all sizes to more efficiently and effectively train our workforce. With virtual training proven to work well, companies and employees are more empowered than ever to continually learn and provide more value to customers and shareholders.