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Finding the right training solution for your company requires balance. Your teams need the latest information on ever-changing technology to be productive, yet product development cycles never stop.
While sending your staff to training could mean short-term delays in your schedule, the alternative could be even more costly. Without ongoing training, team performance drops by 25% every four years [i]. More importantly, PwC found that opportunities related to training and career progression were top measures for employee retention—ranking above benefits, ethics and corporate values[ii]. If employees leave, it can cost your company 33% of their annual salary to replace them[iii].
The question, then, isn’t whether or not you should train your employees—but rather how you can do so most effectively to maximize productivity and innovative potential, all without overrunning your training budget or sacrificing too much of your production schedule.
Thankfully, technology-driven IT training vendors are providing the answer with virtual training. This relatively new and evolving offering revolutionizes training for busy IT and technology-driven companies. There are five critical reasons why you should consider virtual training for your teams.
What is Virtual Training?
Virtual Training is any form of instruction carried out in a virtual or simulated environment when the teacher and student are in different locations. Virtual training environments simulate classroom training experiences. ExitCertified virtual training solutions allow you to benefit from real-time, on-line, instructor-led training from the convenience of your office or home. Through virtual training you can lower the travel time and cost of going to an education facility, get consistent high quality training for your whole team no matter where they are located, and get the same level of instruction and classes offered when you take a classroom training course.
The Benefits of Virtual Training
Virtual Training is Immersive
Unlike self-paced online IT courses, virtual training with a highly-qualified instructor is essentially the same as being in the room.These courses are technology-enabled, instructor-led offerings that include full student participation, no matter where that student is sitting. In the virtual classroom, online students feel the same level of engagement, get equal attention and achieve the same learning objectives as those in the room.
Train More While Spending Less
Offering training to your staff comes down to a cost-benefit analysis. You must carefully consider the time that they’ll be away from their desks (including travel days before and after) and the expenses for airfare, hotels, car rentals, shuttles, meals and more. That’s before you even figure in the cost of the training. These expenses add up quickly, which means you may not have the budget to train as many people as you’d like.
Virtual training is the classroom experience that comes to you. Whether you or your employees elect to take a virtual class at home, at your desks or in a conference room, you minimize the cost per employee while reducing the time that your staff is away from the office. You can extend training to more of your team or you can allow your staff to take additional classes without inflating your training budget.
Virtual Training Becomes Part of Your Company Culture
Industry leaders like IBM have realized the business value of training. In its report, IBM noted that companies that increase team skills meet their objectives 90% more often[iv]. The more people you train, the better off you’ll be. In the best-performing companies, 84% of employees are receiving the training they need, compared to the worst-performing companies, where only 16% receive sufficient training[iv].
Virtual training broadens the availability and accessibility of training, allowing you to create a culture where continued learning is part of the process. By providing highly accessible training into your work environment and encouraging employees to enroll, you enable your teams to learn the techniques and technologies they need to be more productive in their jobs, which will improve both employee morale and retention.
How to Fit Virtual Training into your Busy Schedule
Find Out What Your Company Offers
Business leaders know that investing in their staff leads to a greater competitive advantage[iii]. Most technology companies and IT departments have professional development programs in place, but often, due to hectic schedules and deadlines, those benefits go unused.
Whether you’re entitled to training hours, tuition reimbursement, certification support or time to attend industry trade shows and conferences, you should take advantage of all the training opportunities you can. In-person and online learning allows you to explore topics in great depth, and earning industry certifications can increase your chances for a promotion or pay raise.
Time Your Training Well
No matter what your day-to-day job entails, your company has a technology roadmap that will impact your future there. Requesting training at the right time requires you to stay engaged with the goals of the company. You want to get the training you need before those skills are required to do your job. However, at the same time, you don’t want to get trained too far ahead of a strategic effort that you forget what you’ve learned when those skills become necessary.
By keeping track of your company’s technology strategy, you can request training ahead of changes. You’ll show both initiative and dedication to the company by keeping yourself current, and you might even have the chance to make significant impacts on the business and demonstrate your commitment to your company’s longevity.
Make a Case for the Future
Many companies focus on capabilities training, allowing you to learn what you need to do your job, right now, just as it is. In some cases, a chosen few employees may be sent to learn new technologies in support of a strategic direction. If you’re not one of those few, and you’re finding it difficult to convince leadership to let you take the time to get training, you’ll want to show them how continual learning turns workers into innovators. Make a case for training by demonstrating to your leadership team how disruptive technologies can be embraced and used to their fullest potential when the workforce understands those tools.
Make IT Training a Habit
Just like an exercise routine or a healthy diet, training can become an integral, regular part of your life with some dedication and repetition. Start small by setting aside one or two hours per week that you devote to training. Choose a topic that interests you (and benefits your company), and get started with online, self-paced courses.
If you’re already trying this, or find that you have difficulty keeping your self-scheduled training hours, try reserving a small conference room or take your laptop to an area away from your desk. Mark that time as “unavailable” on your calendar, and, of course, make sure to discuss your training goals and plans with your manager so you’re both on the same page with your training schedule.
Additionally, don’t forget to keep track of the courses you complete so you can highlight these accomplishments in your annual reviews. You’ll also want to update your resume and professional networking profiles with new proficiencies and certifications. Before you know it, you’ll form a new habit of training and gain impactful skills you can use every day.
Get Virtual Training No Matter Where You Are
Very few modern organizations operate from a single location that’s central to leading IT training centers. Remote offices, branch locations and home-based employees increase the challenge and cost of corporate training programs.
By offering the opportunity to take virtual IT training courses, you provide ample opportunities for even your most remote offices—including those offshore and over-seas—to receive the training they need. Even if your employees are in tech centers like Seattle or Chicago, they can still opt to take the training from the comfort of their home or office, foregoing the potential for lengthy and stressful commutes to unfamiliar parts of town.
Take Advantage of Flexible Training Options
Training used to require traveling out of town and taking several days or weeks out of your work time. While in-person classroom training still provides many benefits, you don’t have to travel to get a “classroom-level” training experience.
Thankfully, there are a variety of options that fit into nearly any work schedule. Self-paced courses can be taken a little at a time as your schedule allows, and virtual training enables you to attend instructor-led classes without leaving your desk. Modern training formats provide a wide array of executive overview and in-depth technical training, including single courses and complete certification tracks.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint with Every Employee Trained
Businesses around the globe are under tremendous pressure to reduce their carbon footprints, and aircrafts are one of the biggest producers of carbon emissions. Just traveling 500 miles per month generates 2.91 tons of carbon emissions annually. That small amount of travel would require 14 new trees to be planted and matured for 20 years to offset the generated emissions[v]. If a company sends just one employee per month to training, it could easily exceed 500 air miles.
While there’s no way to eliminate the need for business travel, minimizing the use of air travel per employee is an easy win for companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint. By opting for virtual training instead of flying employees to a class location, businesses can easily show positive movement toward green practices that protect the Earth.
iMVP Increases the Value of Virtual Training
Virtual training offers a host of benefits for both the employer and the employee, but not all virtual training courses provide exceptional student experiences. Since the inception of virtual training, many vendors have earned a reputation for faulty technology, slow or intermittent connections and instructors who fail to include online participants in crucial discussions.
ExitCertified offers the experience of Individual Multimedia Video Presence, or iMVP, an exclusive remote-learning technology platform where the emphasis is on “presence.” Through iMVP, IT professionals can choose from courses offered by ExitCertified in person and receive the same immersive, instructor-led training that they would get in a classroom setting. With dedicated production specialists that ensure clear and consistent two-way communication, high-definition video and audio and instructors who are expertly trained to include and involve everyone, both online and in the room, the iMVP experience makes virtual training a viable and desirable platform for continued learning.
“ExitCertified has spent the past several years pushing the boundaries of what is available in a virtual environment,” says Mark Morrissey, Senior Director of Cloudera University. “The iMVP virtual solution creates an atmosphere of collaboration among instructors and students that regularly is missing from remotely hosted training engagements.”
Getting started with iMVP is easy. You sign up for a course and follow the instructions provided. We’ll even send you a high-definition webcam and headset to enhance your training experience. Whether you use your technology or ours, our producers are online before, during and after the class to quickly resolve any technical issues that students might have. During the course, you’ll be surprised at how interactive and immersive each class is, and you’ll get to know not only the instructor but the other students online and in the room. It’ll be just like you’re there.
As you expand your knowledge and skillset, bring new ideas back to your organization and continue to demonstrate the value of your learning. Be sure to share what you have learned and get others excited. Continue to stretch your depth of knowledge into new and emerging areas and encourage others to do the same. Fueled by a culture of learning, your company will achieve greater employee satisfaction and competitiveness in the market, and you’ll expand your skillset and develop your career while working for a company that supports your goals and ambitions.
Staying current — and getting ahead — in a technology-fueled job requires access to training that enables you to use today’s leading IT technologies and prepares you for the future. So why not find a way to fit training into your busy work schedule, skill up for the fourth industrial revolution and succeed today?
- [i] IDC, IDC Market Analysis Perspective: Worldwide and U.S. IT Education and Certification, 2018, https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=US42761218
- [ii] PwC, Workforce of the Future, 2018, https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/services/people-organisation/publications/workforce-of-the-future.html
- [iii] Work Institute, 2017 Retention Report: Tends, Reasons & Recommendations, 2017, https://www.hrdive.com/news/study-turnover-costs-employers-15000-per-worker/449142/
- [iv] IBM, The Value of Training, 2014, https://www.ibm.com/services/learning/pdfs/IBMTraining-TheValueofTraining.pdf
- [v] http://www.carbonify.com/carbon-calculator.htm