There are two types of employee training methods: effective and engaging training sessions that leave employees excited to use their new skills...and boring training seminars that put your entire staff to sleep. Unfortunately, the latter is more common than the first one. Employees spend hours thumbing through thick training manuals, dozing off during three-hour presentations, and making fun of safety videos from the 1970s.
Not only is this training boring, it’s ineffective when your staff forgets most of what they were supposed to learn before they even reach their desks.
Video training can change this. It can be modern, engaging, and digestible — if only company managers would give it a chance.
If you want to update your training processes, then prepare to knock the socks off of your manager by highlighting these key reasons why video training is the best investment for your company.
Audiovisual Content Increases Retention Rates
The main goal of employee training is to apply what is taught in the video for a more effective workforce. If your employees don’t retain what management is trying to teach, the whole investment is a waste.
“People remember only 10% of what they hear, 30% of what they read, and 80% of what they see,” the MediaPlatform team explains. “Sure video is primarily visual, but it actually incorporates a variety of learning styles.”
Employees will listen to a presentation, look at slides, charts, and other graphics that emphasize the message, and click through the material to engage physically with the content.
In an article for Fast Company, editor Rachel Gillett writes that 65 percent of people are visual learners and 40 percent respond to visual information better than plain text. By adding creative visuals or useful charts to your existing training materials, you’re more likely to convey a message that sticks with your team. Furthermore, video training allows brands to tell a story and use the movement of images to keep the attention of trainees, making it more effective than a simple static powerpoint.
More managers than ever are looking for one-size-fits-all solutions for training. They don’t have the time or money to invest in different training programs. By pitching video training as an option that appeals to the majority of employees, management will treat it as the best solution for your organization.
Learners Consume the Information on Their Own Pace and Time
Along with finding a learning method that appeals to the majority of employees, managers also want training tools that employees will want to use and pay attention to.
The team at Industry Analysts, Inc. explain that video training is effective because it’s on-demand. Employees can determine the most effective time to review the content that will reduce wasted productivity and increase retention. For example, one employee might end each day with a training video, while another worker might choose to watch part of the training content after lunch.
Your employees won’t get upset because they have to reschedule their meetings or most productive hours around a randomly-chosen training seminar.
A further advantage is that video training allows employees to break their training into 10-minute chunks.
“Unlike traditional courses that pack a lot of information into a two- or three-hour session, video-based training can be consumed in bite-sized pieces,” Debbie Williams, Vice President of Content at BizLibrary, writes. “This helps workers retain the information their employers pay for them to be exposed to. Also, this promotes low-stress learning.”
Consider the earlier statistic that employees only retain 10 percent of what they hear. If you pay for a two-hour training course by a professional speaker, you’re really only paying for 12 minutes of retention. However, employees who spread video courses over the course of a few weeks can approach the material from a fresh perspective each time and stay focused throughout.
Training Can Be Scheduled Around Seasonal Rushes
Employees can access the training whenever they want and work through the material and return to it long after the training has ended, the team at iSpring reports.
The retail industry is a great example of this. Buyers and corporate planners preparing for the holiday season might not have time for training seminars as December approaches. However, this is the most important time for front-line employees to receive training. After the holidays, corporate employees can focus on training and improvements for next year, while the front-line staff sheds seasonal staff and doesn’t need training right at that moment.
This makes video training more effective than in-person training, where employees have to stop what they’re doing and focus on the message — regardless of how important it is at that time.
Video Training Creates a Unified Training Process
Another key benefit of video training is the ease of disseminating the information throughout departments. As companies grow, they often struggle to maintain training across all levels of the company.
“Your front-line staff, such as retail employees and customer service, are the face of your organization,” the team at Panopto writes. “This, however, can create a significant hurdle...as the front lines can often be where turnover is greatest.”
Corporate entities might struggle to reach all of their branches, franchises, and locations to provide employees with the latest training tools to succeed. This can leave some front-line teams floundering as they try to conduct business without the right tools. Video training is easily sharable. Within a few clicks, corporate staff can ensure that even the most remote teams have the latest information to grow their value within the company.
“In large organizations, it’s not uncommon to use more than one trainer [to train] everyone within the implantation timeframe,” Ten Six Consulting explains. “Using multiple trainers will bring different delivery styles and methods and different ways of engaging with participants.”
Some employees might have a fantastic trainer to help them improve their performance, while other teams struggle because of poor presentation and messaging. At this point, it’s almost as though your company decided to actually train only half of your employees. With video training, your boss can guarantee that everyone receives the same quality and type of training to help gauge its effectiveness.
Video Training Streamlines Training at Small Companies as Well
Even smaller organizations can struggle to train their employees — especially companies that rely on peer training or management to train staff.
“Since smaller organizations often don’t have well-documented processes, the success of [training] programs may vary,” small business growth experts Doug and Polly White explain. “Training depends on the skills of the experienced employee to deliver correct and consistent information. Even when a process is in place, most internal [on the job training] and orientation programs we've seen have no clear objectives and do not measure outcomes.”
Plus, internal training presents an additional risk: what happens if a manager who is great at training leaves the company? Your organization would lose both their knowledge and ability to train other employees.
Managers Can Check Whether Employees Understand the Content
Along with employee ease and preference, managers also have to think about effectiveness.
According to web psychologist Liraz Margalit, Ph.D., the brain processes videos 60,000 times faster than text.
“Think about the heavy lifting your cognitive system has to do when reading an article vs. watching a video clip,” Margalit writes. “Humans are hardwired to avoid demanding cognitive strain, so this tendency toward ‘laziness’ will, more often than not, invite us to choose information that is easy to process over the form that makes us put out a lot of effort.”
While text requires the brain to process the words and apply meaning to them, video delivers the message so we can focus more on the meaning and less on the mental aspects of deciphering the message.
Of course, you don’t have to rely on high-level research to understand how video is received by employees. Managers can actively track how team members work through video training materials and digest the information.
“Tracking and evaluating employees’ behavior when participating in and watching video-based training sessions helps you to understand what works and what doesn’t,” Cordula Schellenberger, founder and managing consultant at Shellinks, writes. “In-video quizzes also provide useful information on how different sections of the training course are being received.”
If there is one section that your team struggles with or a few important messages that keep getting overlooked, management can understand where the weakness lies in the training materials and work through that content at a slower or more individualized pace.
Employees Prefer Video Learning
An additional challenge that managers face when training employees is buy-in. Team members might not see value in training or might not think they have time to learn the content. Video training can help reluctant employees improve their skills by presenting information in an appealing way.
For example, content marketing strategist Ramona Sukhraj reports that 75 million Americans watch online videos each day. Furthermore, the marketing value of video content is through the roof:
Video increases Facebook page engagement by 33 percent.
Mentioning the word “video” in an email subject line increases opens by 13 percent.
Video content on websites can increase traffic by 55 percent.
A manager’s job is to market training content to your employees. Even if you mandate training, you have to encourage employees to pay attention and digest the information. By presenting the training in a format your employees actively want, you’re likely to have a better reception to the material.
This data is further backed by industry materials. According to The Industrial Safety & Hygiene News Group (ISHN), 75 percent of employees say they’re more likely to watch a training video than read through documents or web articles.
Millennials Need Shorter Training Sessions to Focus
Even if you run an older company that still relies on traditional training, hiring and sales methods, your management team should consider making the jump to video training. In an article for AdWeek, Julie Veloz, Vice President of Learning Development for IPG Mediabrands, explains that millennials will tune-out older training methods that are perceived as out-dated and ineffective.
“Few things hold [millennials’] focus for long, so they prefer information and communication in small chunks,” Veloz writes. “They are comfortable with jumping around in the information and communication realms and are nonlinear learners.”
This means the worst thing your manager can do is set up a new-employee onboarding process that involves two-hour long presentations and endless training modules.
Video Preference Isn’t Limited to Millennials
All of this data doesn’t just mean that your younger staff members will prefer video while older workers want traditional methods. Every generation’s learning process has been affected by the internet.
“When you consider the evolution of educational technology over the past few decades, it makes sense that there are generational differences in how employees prefer to learn,” Heather Huhman, Gen Y career expert, writes. “Older employees are more likely to be balancing work with family and children at home, which makes the flexibility of elearning more appealing to them.”
It’s likely that your older employees will be just as — if not more — excited about the video training options as your younger hires.
Companies Can Save Thousands By Switching to Digital Training
If there’s anything that will convince management to switch to video training over other options, it’s cost savings. The financial benefits of making the change are significant enough in most cases to make almost any employer consider the jump.
“Cost savings is a key attraction,” Julie Dickson, co-founder of ShotGun Media, writes. “Online video training can save you between 50-70 percent and can be up to 93 percent cheaper than instructor-led courses.”
List all of the additional costs that come with in-person training — they add up! Along with speaker’s fees, if they’re external, companies often have to pay travel costs (including hotel and per diem). Additional in-person training costs can include room or venue rentals if it’s off-campus, materials costs and even catering for attendees.
To understand how much your company can save, consider the same report by the ISHN mentioned earlier. It reported that switching to video technology allowed IBM to save $579 million over 2 years while Microsoft decreased its training expenses from $320/employee to $17/employee by switching to video. While investing in video training tools will cost money, the long-term savings of reusing them will significantly outweigh the investment.
The data is there to convince your boss to switch to video training. Whether they’re motivated by employee preference and effectiveness, or just by cold, hard cash, you can use this information to modernize your training methods and embrace video for your company.