Storytelling in Training

Storytelling Training 1

Stories have a way of sticking with us. Whether it’s the book on your bedside table, an anecdote shared over coffee, or the latest drama on a favorite TV series, there’s something about a well-told story that captivates.

Entertainment is just a secondary perk, though. The art of storytelling is centuries old, used initially to pass on information from person to person. When we employ the technique in training, we’re looking to capitalize both benefits: spreading knowledge to learners while holding their attention and engaging their interest.

 

Why Use Storytelling

Storytelling is just one of the many tools in our training arsenal. It’s one of our favorites as it allows us to draw on our creativity, however, there are three other core reasons we gravitate toward the solution.

1. Storytelling creates an emotional connection between learners and lessons. As stories draw us in, we continually react, both emotionally and physically as they unfold. Scientists have seen this come alive in brain scans of learners. When presented with narratives and sensory-heavy language, larger portions of the brain are activated than just the language processing areas.

2. Storytelling allows us as content experts to injects creativity and levity into complex, dry topics. From systems to security, we tackle topics that are critical for organizations and learners but may skew a bit boring on the boring side. By transforming facts, processes, and procedures into a narrative, we’re able to hold learner attention longer and boost the likelihood that they’ll actually enjoy their training experience.

3. Storytelling makes content memorable. We want our training to stick. When a learner completes one of our training programs, our intention is that they can take what they’ve learned and immediately apply those skills. Beyond that, we want them to retain that information and be able to carry it through their work for a long period of time, sharing it with other team members as appropriate.

How to Use Storytelling

 

Storytelling Training 1

 Now that you know the value behind the technique, let’s pull the curtain back on some simple best practices for incorporating storytelling into your training:

• Follow the classic story arc. Start with a clear beginning to set the stage for what is to come, introducing concepts and characters on which to build the rest of the story. Create tension or conflict in the middle of the story, resolving it and reinforcing the lesson in the end.

• Be creative. Use relatable characters and probable scenarios to help illustrate the concepts and/or processes that a learner needs to understand. Imagine the learner’s on-the-job experience and look for ways to create an engaging, parallel experience with your content.

• Use descriptive language. Choose phrasing that connects with the senses, describing experiences in terms of the way they look, feel, smell, sound, or taste.

• Incorporate supporting images. Nothing makes stories come alive like compelling imagery. Whenever possible, incorporate graphics, animation, or live-action visuals to better illustrate concepts and provide some visual support for what is happening in your narrative.

Regardless of the modality your training employs, consider ways you might incorporate these concepts into its construction. That’s the approach we take, looking for opportunities to inject our signature creativity into our content to engage learners and drive results.

 

Storytelling in Practice

When it comes to using storytelling in training, we’ve found that simulations lend themselves particularly well to the approach. These choose-your-own-adventure style trainings allow learners to explore different pathways and their results with no actual risk.

We recently built a pair of simulation videos for a real estate leasing company as part of a multi-modality curriculum focused on their new sales method. The videos followed the actions of a leasing agent as she worked to fill a unit in her community.

Throughout each, we created opportunities for learners to choose how to approach various points of conflict within the process. A play off of ‘Million Dollar Listing,’ the project allowed us to pull cultural references and humor into the story, making it particularly relevant to the company’s audience of leasing agents.

Want to see how we can help you take your training to the next level with creative storytelling? Connect with us today.

Change Management Training for Employees – Embracing the Change

 

Picture this – you’re ready to make a big change in your company. Maybe it’s a change to your benefits or compensation structure, or a big shift in management. But you look around at all of your employees comfortably working and hesitate to upend what is familiar to them.

That hesitancy is understandable. McKinsey estimates that “70% of change programs fail to achieve their goals, largely due to employee resistance and lack of management support.” The good news is there’s a way to reduce the likelihood of your change program failing. That’s where change management training for employees comes in.

 

Preparing Employees for Change

When a big shift happens, wouldn’t it be great to not just prepare employees for change but to create advocates for change. With effective change management training, you’ll be able to ensure your employees understand and are invested in the change at your company. 

You might be wondering how this works. The best change management training contains three main elements:

1.   A Communication Plan – How are you going to communicate an upcoming change to your employees? For big changes, a simple email isn’t going to do the trick. It’s important to think through the change and how best to convey it to employees. This might mean a phased approach, plans for team meetings, and bringing in executives for support. Take time to really evaluate the impact of the change and how to best minimize surprise and difficulties for your employees.

2.   A Leadership Toolkit – Leaders set the mood for your change. Everyone is going to look to them to gauge how to feel. An effective change management training program provides a toolkit for leaders to guide their teams through change. It gives them the resources they need to field questions from their teams, address any pushback from team members, build empathy, and set a positive example for the rest of the organization.

3.   A Strategy to Maintain Productivity – Change can be disruptive, but it doesn’t have to bring everything to a grinding halt. Training should include how to deal with potential distractions and roadblocks as you implement change, that way you don’t lose profits while you work toward change. Maintaining stability in this way can also help your employees feel more secure amidst all of the change.

 

Making Change Management Stick

Training shouldn’t end once the change has been implemented. We all know sustainment training can help training stick by reinforcing lessons learned. But change management sustainment training can look a little different. Here are a few ideas to try to make sure your change works long term.

Use micro-learnings: Once employees have completed their change management training, reinforce what they learned with quick quizzes or mini-eLearning modules that cover key concepts.

Create a support network: Set up a network and encourage team members to meet, discuss the change and any challenges they’ve faced, and work through problems with their leaders.

Check-in with teams: Following the completion of their training, encourage team members to set goals for how they will effectively deal with change. Check-in at 30, 60, and 90 days after the program to ensure they’re working toward their goals.

 

Moving Forward

Instead of fearing change, embrace it with a great plan in place. As John Assaraf once said, “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.” Grow your company’s potential by making changes that move you in the right direction.

Ready to make a big change but need some support? Check out our change management training for employee options for more details.

The 5 Fundamentals of Great Sales Training Videos

Great Sales Training Videos

 

An alarming 66% of sales teams describe their training as irrelevant. Knowing 75% of employees are more likely to watch a video than read text, how do you create sales training videos that wow and make a positive impact on the bottom line? Here at Unboxed, we’ve been creating training videos that learners actually want to watch, and we’ve seen encouraging results, like a 15-60% increase in year over year sales.

When creating a custom sales program, you should use video strategically to show and reinforce the behaviors you’re teaching. Here are the five fundamentals of great sales training videos to guide your content creation.

 

1. Custom Sales Training Video Content

The first place to start is making sure your content is specific to your organization. There are plenty of generic sales training videos out there, but you can’t count on them to give you the positive results you’re looking for. Why? Because your team is less likely to take it seriously and the real impact comes from videos that match your organization’s specific culture, sales process, products, and challenges.

Your team is unique, and their training should be too. Show that you’re investing in their success with custom content.

 

2. Real World Scenarios

Along the same lines, your sales training videos should address realistic scenarios that your teams encounter every day. To make sure our training content is as authentic as possible, we interview sales team members in the field and other subject matter experts to gut check scenarios that we’d like to include.

In addition to real scenarios, your script has to sound that way too. To accomplish this, use conversational language and contractions (hasn’t, won’t, couldn’t, isn’t, etc.). Try your best to listen to actual sales conversations either by observing on a ride along or listening in on a sales call. When you’re done with your first draft, send the script to a few rock star sales team members to get their feedback. When your scenarios and scripting are as true-to-life as possible, you’ll gain your learner’s credibility and they’ll want to learn from you.

 Great Sales Training Videos_2 

3. Professional Quality

If the acting is bad in a movie or show, you’re less likely to watch it, right? The same goes for sales training videos. If you want your learners to take the content seriously, and engage with it, the quality should be professional. This means everything from the filming, to the lighting, sound, and talent should be as polished as can be.

As Hollywood enhances their quality, the modern learner’s expectations rise too. If you sacrifice on quality, you run the risk of losing your audience’s attention and your credibility.

You may be thinking, “professional talent sounds expensive.” While a lot of organizations try to cut corners and use internal team members instead of professional talent, we advise against this. Ultimately, you won’t save as much as you think, and you’ve now gambled with the main focal point of your sales training video. Rembmer to try and eliminate as many distractions for your learners as possible.

 

4. Use a Creative Concept

Your training videos shouldn’t be a narrator or person in leadership talking to the camera the whole time. It’s best to use a creative concept where you can set clear expectations and show what those behaviors look like in a fun, engaging way. After all, it’s much more powerful to show than just tell.

Think outside the box when it comes to your creative concept. Can you find inspiration from a popular show? Would it work to show a compare and contrast of a team member who portrays good behaviors vs. a team member who uses great behaviors? As you’re brainstorming, consider themes that will fit with your culture and entertain and motivate your learners.

 

5. Show Positive & Negative Outcomes

Sales training videos provide learners with a safe space to learn. That’s why we use video simulations whenever possible. A simulation let’s a learner see a scenario play out, respond how they would handle it, and see what happens as a result. If they get the answer wrong, they’ll see the outcome (maybe it’s awkward silence or confusion from their customer), either way, they get to see the result of not using the best-in-class behavior. We know learners are going to make mistakes, and that’s okay. We’d just rather have them happen during training instead of real customer conversations.

To learn more about creating amazing training videos, check out our free guide, Employee Training Video Production – Humanized, and learn what to expect during pre-production, production, and post-production.

Training New Employees – 3 Essential Elements for Every Onboarding Program

Training New Employees_2

So you’ve scoured the applicant pool and found the perfect person for the job, the hard part is done, right? Really, you’re only about half-way up the hill. The training the new employee receives is just as important as who you’ve hired.

Don’t believe us? ADP says that 91% of managers, 81% of HR administrators, and 75% of employees say onboarding is not done right. It’s also been reported that it costs an organization 1.5x the employee’s salary to replace and get a new employee up to speed. It’s safe to say, getting onboarding right is crucial.

Here are the three essentials to keep in mind so your training will hit the mark.

 

1. The Warm Welcome: Ease Their First Day Nerves

New employees have a lot to get the jitters about—a new job, an unfamiliar commute, a new office space, possibly a new city, and all new co-workers (not to mention new responsibilities). It’s important to start to build trust and confidence the moment they walk in the door. Let’s face it, first impressions are important, and a team member’s first day is also their first peek behind the curtain.

On day 1 new team members will start to make judgments on what makes you tick as a company, how the organization is run, and your culture. Are managers hiding behind locked doors? Are their new co-workers friendly? Do the leaders really care?

You only get one chance to set the tone for their first experience. Alleviate their fears and establish a culture of caring by showing them that they’re more than just a number.

If you’re a small company, have each new employee sit down with someone from the C-Suite to get the story of the company. It helps them feel like they’re more than just a number—the leaders care about them and take the time to get to know them.

For larger organizations, a good option is an Introductory Video – a short and sweet message from leadership that all new hires can watch. It tells them a bit about the company, the role employees play in their continued success, and how excited leadership is that they’re joining the team.

Why does this make such a difference? The Gallup organization reports that 71% of employees today are either not engaged or are actively disengaged at work. Establishing a culture where every person matters and is valued is a great way to help build a new employee’s trust that they joined the right organization—and that buy-in is an important factor in keeping employees engaged.

 

Training New Employees – 3 Essential Elements for Every Onboarding Program

 

2. The Coaching Mindset: Establish Check Points and Expectations

87% of Millennials recently surveyed stated that professional development and career growth are very important to them. Your employees are hungry, and they want success – they just don’t always know how to get there. That’s where you come in.

Outline clear expectations and milestones using a BARS (Behavior Anchored Rating Scale) Chart. The BARS Chart serves as the foundation for the new employee. It outlines what not acceptable, good, and GREAT looks like in their role.

Peer mentor check-ins are a great way to reinforce these GREAT behaviors in a less intimidating setting. New employees can watch a tenured employee perform the GREAT behaviors, talk through their best practices, and openly discuss challenges with someone in their same role.

Then use a 30/60/90-day Plan to build off that framework. These plans allow managers to work with an employee to gauge where they fall at each milestone (according to the BARS Chart) and plan for next steps.

At each of these milestones, the manager should meet with the new hire to discuss their progress and goals for the coming days using the 30/60/90-day Plan as a framework. 

 

3. The Wow Factor: Cater to the Modern Learner

We all know that there are certain things that simply have to be covered when it comes to training new hires: your company’s mission, vision, values, the tools/software they’ll use, and the knowledge, skills, and behaviors they need to do their job well. Check out this Onboarding Checklist to see if your program covers the basics.

But it’s not enough to just check all the boxes, you have to make it memorable. The average employee checks his or her phone more than 150 times per day, so it’s not surprising that the modern learner has a shorter attention span and will tire of the “required” content quickly if you don’t make it exciting.

Reading a manual, sitting through a presentation, or taking a compliance course isn’t going to cut it for the modern learner. Instead, weave in as much interactivity as possible.

You can do things like a VR scavenger hunt for office essentials, add mobile-friendly self-paced foundational courses, or include Simulated or Animated Videos in to your onboarding program. We promise your learners will notice the difference and their knowledge and retention will improve.

Remember, finding and hiring the right people is only part of the battle—how you train them, starting at day 1, is a big factor. For more info on onboarding, check out our article on Onboarding Best Practices. And if you’re interested in learning about Introductory Videos, BARS Charts, 30/60/90-day Plans, Animated or Simulated Videos, incorporating Virtual Reality and more, let us know. We’d love to talk to you and help assess which onboarding training elements are right for your company! 

5 Impactful L&D Trends to Watch in 2019

As 2018 draws to a close, many L&D leaders are beginning to explore the top learning and development trends of 2019. As you weigh needs and resources, we wanted to give you some early insights to support your planning. The topics in our list of 2019 L&D trends are based on our experience working with a diverse group of clients and our steady research.

Learning and development is transforming at a quicker clip in recent years as a crop of new technologies like virtual and augmented reality, automation, and artificial intelligence disrupt our expectations for engaging, action-oriented learning.

Below are the five top trends in training and development we believe you need to watch and discuss with your teams as you plan for 2019.

 

Trend #1: Making Learning More Accessible

As our roles become more complex and the way we work more dynamic, L&D needs to provide access to training “anytime, anywhere, on any device.” Waiting in line? Pull up a simulation on your phone and review. In a lull between meetings? Jump on your computer and work through an interactive learning guide.

Creating this level of accessibility has its challenges, but it’s worth it. That’s why it tops our list of L&D trends to watch in 2019.

A recent Gartner study found, “The effortless learning experience has the greatest impact on learning application and digital learners value it the most.” Learners cited “Ease of career application, ease of access, and ease of consumability” as the three most important factors with training.

2019 L&D trends - making learning accessible

Micro-learning and accessible learning go hand in hand. The process of repackaging training for agility also sets you up for quicker, more efficient development of training. When a role responsibility changes, your trainers won’t have to update an entire course or video if the material is broken into smaller pieces. They’ll find the segment that needs to be updated instead of recreating the entire piece. Your L&D teams will be quicker to tweak courses with more granular access to the content. If learners are struggling with a concept, they might reorder the course or repackage that segment to increase effectiveness.

Making training into smaller bites isn’t enough to meet your learnings in any situation. If your courses are available on a phone, but are impossible to work through on that device, the learner will walk away. Designing training that considers the advantages and challenges of each device is key to making learning easier to digest.

There’s an added benefit to structuring your training this way. Your material becomes a rich resource for your managers to extend formal training and reteach concepts when team members are struggling. Organizing these resources in a system that tracks usage will help your L&D team prioritize training development, and this data is an important point of reference when discussing ROI for training offerings.

 

Trend #2: Exploring Immersive Technology

Much of the current excitement around augmented reality and virtual reality is centered around gaming, but these technologies will have a larger, lasting impact on the L&D. A 2018 Capterra survey on top tech trends found as many as 46% of U.S. small and medium-sized businesses are looking into leveraging VR in the next two years.

Virtual and augmented reality are becoming more accessible each year. These emerging technologies have the greatest potential to help manage change in an organization. AR/VR replaces traditional courses and assessments with a single solution where the mastery required is taught and practiced in a simulated environment.

2019 training trends - immersive technology

 

Imagine sales training where a new hire learns your company’s sales process (knowledge acquisition) then immediately enters a scenario to practice and refine learning through a pair of glasses or VR goggles (skill building). Each stage of your process would have this balance of learning then showing what you’ve learned. i.e. This is how you pitch to the decision-maker.  You try it. This is how you get the SOW through legal. Now you do it.

Virtual simulations like these provide rich, emotionally connected experiences that feel real. No one loses a real client in virtual reality, but a well-designed virtual scenario will evoke the same emotions associated with a loss in the learner. In other words, it will feel real.

The process can be slowed or broken down so each step of a call can be evaluated and practiced. Variations on the core simulations help learners extend their learning into new products and markets.

2019 is the year to start giving these new technologies some of your time and resources. You might not be ready to jump in with both feet, but investing in a VR system and testing out some of the early L&D resources would be a measured first step. If this is too much of an investment now, read up on the companies that are early adopters. Learn from their experiences now so you are ready when the price allows your company to jump in.

 

Trend #3: Designing Training for Sustainment and Retention

Whether custom-designed or off-the-shelf, the impact of your training will be minimal if your organization doesn’t have a plan for application and reflection in the field after the training is complete. All instruction, especially skills-based training, requires validation and reinforcement.

2019 l&d trends - sustainment training

 

Effective training is not a “one and done” event. Smart companies recognize the real change happens when the team walks into the field with their new learning in hand and starts putting it into practice. These companies design training with the longer view of change in mind.

The goal of refresher training is to sustain learning, increase knowledge retention, and fight the forgetting curve. People forget 50% of what the learn in 1 hour. 70% within 24 hours. And 90% within a week.

Learners need more than simple reminders. Reminders are not reinforcement. Reinforcement should be positioned as a part of your learner’s overall experience. Managers, too, should be equipped to coach their teams to success. Review your training and provide your leaders with the tools they need to support their teams as they put training into practice.

 

Trend #4: Embracing Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence and machine learning stand to make two significant impacts on how we learn in the coming year – personalization and measuring effectiveness.

This rapidly growing technology will continue to change how we consume training. IBM recently noted by applying AI to a workplace, “employees can receive more personalized recommendations to facilitate evergreen, curated learning paths and anticipatory career management.” Applying AI to an LMS will create a learning environment highly tailored to the individual employee.

 

2019 training and development trends - artificial intelligence

 

We see the consumer application of this all the time. Netflix, Amazon, and Facebook are using AI/machine learning to deliver personalized recommendations each time you visit. This same smart curation applied to your learning environment will create more engaging, timely experiences for your employees.

AI’s more significant impact will be around measuring effectiveness. It’s a vexing issue for any company. You create a well-designed, sound learning experience for a team, the trainers deliver as well as you expected, and you’re left feeling good about the L&D team’s performance.

Oh, you’re also left with the little voice asking, “But how effective was it?”

AI already has the tools to answer that question. For example, face-recognition technology we see in our phones could be leveraged in training, role-playing, simulations, and in the field to assess how each learner is applying new learning. Based on that assessment, the learner could be directed back into the LMS where custom follow-up training is waiting for them.

We know. It sounds like science fiction. But it’s here. You stand to lose real money and market share if your training isn’t agile.  AI is a cost-effective way to manage that flexibility. It will give your L&D teams more time improve the quality of training. Make it a tentpole of your 2019 strategy.

 

Trend #5: Accepting Automation

“The Bots are coming!  The Bots are coming!” – Paul Revere on Facebook Messenger

Much of the focus of bots in the news has been on how a coming “Bot-pocolypse” will result in major job losses. This alarmist perspective mischaracterizes how bots are impacting work. They’re being used most often in places where we look for answers and to augment services, but they are not coming for our jobs.

 

L&D trends 2019 - automation and machine learning

 

The rise of customer support chatbots and chatbot integrations in communication apps creates two unique L&D opportunities.

  1. The bots themselves become vehicles to quickly place training in front of employees.  Remember, “anytime, anywhere, any device?”
  2. Using a chatbot system to distribute your training literally puts the learning at their fingertips—or thumbs.

As these bots help employees and customers and take over repetitive, process-oriented tasks that provide little meaning to us humans, they will make our work more engaging. The Training Journal points out, “Increasingly, businesses will look to automation to handle technical and process-driven tasks, and they’ll look to their people to spend more time on value-add tasks, which require creative and objective thought.”

Companies embracing automation need to work closely with L&D to teach employees how to work alongside these new tools. As work becomes more creative and objective, the role of L&D will shift along with our teams in response to automation. L&D must ensure workplace training is designed and delivered for more complex work. What an amazing opportunity for Instructional Designers and Trainers.

Your 2019 plan needs to include transitioning process-oriented training into chatbot systems while designing training for those “value-add tasks.”

 

2019 L&D Trends Recap

Technology is delivering more personal experiences every year. The new trends in training and development all bend towards that individual learner experience. Let’s recap.

  1. Make training easily accessible. Make sure your training is at the fingertips of your employees whenever they want it.
  2. Explore immersive technologies. Augmented and virtual reality create “real and safe” ways to help teach valuable, human-driven skills.
  3. Design for sustainment. As you plan your training strategy, include time for reinforcement, reflection, and application in the field to make your training stick.
  4. Embrace artificial intelligence and machine learning. You’re going to need help managing this truly employee-focused learning experience.
  5. Accept automation. If process-oriented tasks are going to machines, focus your training on the complex stuff only humans can do.

It can feel exciting and a bit overwhelming all at the same time.

Need help navigating these new L&D trends? Let us help. Schedule a free training consultation with one of our experts to learn how.