Training For Multiple Business Locations: Virtual Training Approach
When integrating new technology and systems, especially across multiple locations, virtual training is one of the easiest ways to train all employees. Virtual training can be a great asset to the trainer and to the employees as this allows information to be given to multiple business locations simultaneously. This also allows all employees to interact and ask questions that pertain to their specific location that someone else may not have thought of yet. Virtual training can be conducted through various systems, such as Ready Talk or WebEx (there are tons of other virtual training mediums out there).
Typically, I like to have a deck, or at least an outline, prepared of what I want to talk about and cover. When training, especially on a specialty program such as a CRM, I like to conduct the training live while going through the program. This will help the trainees see exactly how to get someone in the system or how to run specific reports. Employees can also speak up during the training to ask questions and to ask for clarification on how to get to a certain part of the system.
As with any type of training, the trainer should focus the items being covered on what the trainees will use the system or technology for. Directors and executives will typically use a new system in a different way than customer service employees (i.e. for reporting purposes), so these trainings should be scheduled with a smaller timeframe. Employees using the system to input data, run reports, or manage the system on a consistent basis will typically require a longer training time to go over all details.
Setting up virtual trainings is just like setting up classroom trainings. The employees for the training can meet in one meeting room and have the training up on a large screen so everyone can view what is going on. Or, the employees can log in from their own computers to view the training. One of the largest challenges I have found with virtual trainings is to schedule a day and time when everyone is available (and to get everyone there). It is much easier to blow off a meeting with the organizer is not physically present in the room.
Another challenge with virtual training is that the trainer cannot see the trainees and cannot see if they are being distracted by emails, their phones, or even each other. Taking role call in the beginning will help determine participants for each training. With virtual training, the trainer should be available for additional questions and/or issues from employees.
A SME, or Subject Matter Expert, should also be trained in each location so they have knowledge on the entire system so that any employees who have questions about the system (or suggestions on how to improve the system) can be taken to one person in the location. This will help with the chain of command in the location and will decrease the amount of inquiries to the trainer to help keep him or her from becoming overloaded.
With all trainings, the trainer should have a survey for all trainees to fill out to rate the trainer, the overall training, and to give comments and suggestions for future trainings. I use these surveys to hone my own trainings skills, to refine the training, and to get additional information out to employees they may be requesting.