Learning & Development, Technology

How to Create Effective Digital Training Content for Future Hires

After the shift to remote work, companies began rethinking their workforce models. Businesses like Twitter have announced they’re letting employees work from home permanently.

As an HR professional, this will dramatically affect how you onboard employees. New team members won’t be able to just stop by your desk to ask questions. Instead, they need resources that can be accessed anytime and anywhere without going through the HR team.

When hiring employees for a hybrid work model, consider how your traditional onboarding materials and processes need to change. Running an in-person and virtual experience might seem like a viable option, but you might not have adequate resources for both. The key will be creating new content to supplement existing materials.

Already, 33% of survey respondents say they’re experiencing increased demand for online training materials, according to research by Voices. Moving forward, you’ll need to leverage training videos to help employees navigate their first few months at your company. This will ensure your corporate training lives up to expectations as the business landscape evolves.

The Demand for Digital Training Materials

In addition to onboarding, employees are also using training videos to learn new skills. Massive open online programs like MasterClass and Khan Academy surged in enrollment in 2020, and Coursera experienced a 640% spike. Why? Without corporate events and trade shows, professionals needed a meaningful way to grow and advance their careers.

These trends will likely continue due to how expensive air travel, hotel rooms, and conferences are compared with online videos and digital classes. Plus, virtual training offers more opportunities for customization than in-person training. By updating your existing online training materials and creating compelling video content, you’ll be able to support new hires and current team members who might be interested in learning different skills or exploring other roles.

Comprehensive training content offers numerous benefits: It increases job satisfaction, streamlines processes, heightens innovation, reduces turnover, motivates employees to perform, and more. As your company switches to a hybrid work model, you’ll need to create new training videos if you want to continue to reap the same benefits.

How to Create Engaging Training Videos

Before you begin making video content, research what works. Online training materials need to successfully engage and instruct employees to help them know exactly what they will need to do on the job. Here’s how you can produce videos that resonate:

  1. Remember your objective.

Ask yourself what the purpose of the training is. Is it information that future employees will need to know, or is it a temporary update? Is a video the best way to get the job done? If you have a short message for a lot of people, for instance, a quick e-mail might be better. Meanwhile, a presentation on a core process is something that could benefit new hires years down the road. Purpose dictates content.

  1. Define your audience.

Your audience determines the language and format of your presentation. Because Voices is a data-driven company, our employees and executives appreciate a clear storyline, data, and action items. Avoid “inside speak” and industry jargon to deliver the most value to employees and other stakeholders who might watch the recorded video later.

  1. Focus on your message.

Organize your message as a story with three parts. Write headlines for each section, and fill in the slide body with visuals and data. Why? Training sessions often follow a three-step format because it’s easy to remember and turn into action. This approach also enables companies to explain the past, talk about the present, and propose the future.

  1. Use advanced features to drive engagement.

After the pandemic, people are tired of videoconferencing technologies like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft® Teams. Pique your audience’s interest with breakout rooms, polls, and other engagement tools during your presentation. For instance, you might use Jamboard, a virtual whiteboard developed by Google, to encourage team collaboration. After the presentation is recorded, you can create similar touch points for future virtual audiences.

  1. Rehearse your training.

Practice running through your presentation, and iron out any potential recording issues. Anticipating where things can veer off course will help you feel more prepared and confident. Hint: If you have an hour blocked off, make sure your presentation is only 40 minutes long; this will allow room for questions and conversation along the way. Employees who watch the video in the future will likely have similar questions to your live audience, so don’t view these interactions as distractions.

Don’t mistakenly think your existing onboarding materials will work for remote audiences. As the business world evolves—and the hybrid work model becomes the norm—your online training materials must also change. By following these five steps, you will create engaging training videos that can be used again and again.

David Ciccarelli is the founder and CEO of Voices, a marketplace for audio and voice-over products and services with more than 2 million business and voice actor registered users. Ciccarelli is responsible for setting the vision, executing the growth strategy, creating a vibrant culture, and managing the company on a day-to-day basis. He is frequently published in outlets such as The Globe and Mail, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal.