Do Better Work: Build an Effective Training Program

At Lessonly, it’s our mission to help people do better work so they can live better lives. Our Better Work Method (and the accompanying Better Work Assessment) examines the six essential steps of building a high-performing training program. This blog series offers an inside look at each step and how the Lessonly team applies each one to do better work.

Meet Nicole. She works on the Lessonly Services team. Every day, Nicole helps our customers transform their outdated PowerPoint presentations, lengthy documents, and routine emails into streamlined, effective training that enables their teams to do better work.

We know how daunting it can be to transfer endless amounts of information into easy-to-digest training. Here at Lessonly, we have plenty of experience building training content that takes performance to the next level. That’s why one of the six steps of our Better Work Method is Build. Here are three tips that any organization can take to quickly and effortlessly build training content that their employees love.

Want to build training that drives business results? Get started with the Better Work Assessment.

Engage learners with bite-sized content

First and foremost, training should actually help your team do better work. Instead of handing every employee a binder full of information, focus on building a training program that’s engaging and effective. The most practical training programs focus on only the most essential ideas and break-up large pieces of information into smaller, bite-sized chunks of learning. This format results in 50% more engagement as it’s easier for employees to digest, understand, and retain information.

If you ask any Lessonly team member about our training, they’ll tell you it’s simple, easy to understand, and quick to complete. While we have a lot of information to learn, we break it down into manageable portions so it isn’t overwhelming. While every team member receives the same company-wide training, we also receive custom learning paths that are built to help each of us succeed. Job-specific training makes us more engaged in learning, effective at our jobs, and productive in the long-run.

Tip: Documents, emails, and lectures are ineffective learning methods for the modern employee. With Lessonly’s online training software, create streamlined lessons that can be easily completed in 15 minutes.

Create and update high-priority content—often

Training plays a pivotal role in keeping pace with the speed of business. As products, features, and promotions quickly evolve, it’s important to deliver training that supports these changes. The ability to quickly launch content—and change it instantly at scale—maximizes training impact. It’s important to build a training program that promotes rapid content turnaround.

We work hard to launch new Lessonly products and features every month to help our customers do better work. But that means our enablement content must change quickly too. Instead of sending out a mass email to every employee, our product team creates or edits training content that we can review as needed. This makes Lessonly the primary source of truth in our company and keeps us all on the same page.

Tip: Training content needs intentional care. Once you assess and plan your team’s training program, build and launch high-priority content within a month—if not sooner. Then, as your team creates more training, set a cadence for reviewing and updating the lesson or information; We suggest revisiting at least once a quarter.

Collaborate with team members

The best work happens when it’s a team effort—and training is no exception. In order to successfully build an effective training program, it’s important to collaborate with other trainers, managers, and subject matter experts. This process of democratized learning taps into the knowledge and skills a team already possesses in order to develop training materials. The benefits of working with other team members to build content are two-fold. First, content is more likely to be created and updated on a consistent basis. Additionally, this process fosters employee engagement and learning as they play a larger role in the training process.

Our driven and talented team members are the heart of Lessonly—that’s why we promote democratized learning. Recently, our Director of Sales Enablement decided it was time to update existing training content about negotiation. He turned to one of our account executives and subject matter experts, Mike, to update the lesson and share best practices with the rest of the team. We’ve found that this type of team learning makes all of us better and results in better work across the company.

Tip: Be sure to identify and involve key team members before the building process. They may be able to provide key insights and feedback into how your training program could be more effective.

Build a better learning experience with Lessonly

Forward-thinking companies around the world use Lessonly to build effective training programs that ensure tangible business outcomes. Our Better Work Assessment provides the framework needed to capture and distribute the knowledge and skills needed for high performance. Take a tour today.

Do Better Work: 3 Steps to Plan your Training Program

At Lessonly, it’s our mission to help people do better work so they can live better lives. Our Better Work Method (and the accompanying Better Work Assessment) examines the six essential steps of building a high-performing training program. This blog series offers an inside look at each step and how the Lessonly team applies each one to do better work.

Kyle has two new reps joining his sales team. As a sales leader, he wants to ensure the newest teammates start on the path to productivity from day one. In order to do so, Kyle needs to plan an employee training program that delivers important knowledge, teaches essential skills, and reinforces best practices that reps need to succeed.

While the thought of bringing new hires up to speed may seem overwhelming, our team uses a thoughtful process to identify essential objectives and outcomes. This helps us make easy decisions about what training content to prioritize so we can set milestones for creation and delivery. It’s saved our team hours of fruitless work and can help your team too. Here are three steps to planning a great training program:

Want to see how your team’s training program stacks up? Take the Better Work Assessment.

Involve more people, make better decisions

As seen in the first step of the Better Work Method, it’s important to involve a variety of team members when planning your training program. Once you’ve assessed your training program, share this information with trainers, managers, leaders, and frontline employees for additional feedback. This feedback identifies key opportunities for impact and what competencies or skills are needed to achieve them. By establishing top priorities and objectives, it’s much easier to craft a plan for content creation.

Recently, Lessonly’s sales team determined that account executives should self-source more opportunities. The team was hitting important milestones and goals, but we saw this as a great opportunity for each account executive to exceed personal quotas each quarter. As a high-priority objective, our management team planned and built a training campaign to equip each employee with the skills they needed to successfully self-source more deals, beat their quota, and positively impact the company’s bottom line.

Focus on onboarding and ongoing learning

While many companies realize the importance of onboarding and training, few focus on continuous and ongoing learning. All too often, organizations onboard new employees and propel them into their roles without revisiting training. Leading companies, however, plan out both onboarding and ongoing learning opportunities. Zoe Meineke, Lessonly’s Director of Services, notes “Onboarding is the initial piece of the learning puzzle that builds a good foundation for training. Companies need to plan and develop the second level, continuous learning, for maximum impact.”

Lessonly offers every employee a robust onboarding program that is paired with ongoing learning opportunities. With a constant flow of new roles, products, features, and processes, there’s plenty of knowledge that needs to be shared at any given time. While most of this information is included in our onboarding, we’ve found that the supplemental training boosts performance, increases employee satisfaction, and expands knowledge and skills. That’s why we put as much planning and intentionality into continuous training as we do onboarding.

Onboarding and ongoing learning should focus on company information, functional skills, products, services, and more. Our free employee training plan builder identifies these learning opportunities to help you create a detailed training plan.

Reinforce training across channels

Just as there is no one-size-fits-all training program, there is not just one channel for training delivery. The best training programs include in-person training, self-guided online training, regular coaching, and deliberate practice. Purposeful planning helps leaders pinpoint which pieces of training would be most effectively delivered online, in group meetings, or one-on-one. Training via multiple channels accommodates different learning styles, increases retention, and boosts learning engagement.

We’ve found that reinforcing training across channels decreases ramp time to productivity and drives employee performance. Therefore, we try to stick with a 50/30/20 mix—50% of training is self-directed, 30% includes one-on-one meetings, and the final 20% features classroom-style learning. For example, once a new sales rep joins the Lessonly team, they take a lesson that features the fundamentals of being a great sales development representative. This knowledge is reinforced through in-person shadowing, role-play scenarios, and coaching sessions. Our sales managers map out and plan every part of training to include a variety of learning methods and ensure training success.

Planning a training program is no small feat. Taking time to plan ensures that you prioritize essential objectives and create a training that drives results and enables employees to grow. In fact, that’s what Better Work is all about.

Fuel business success with a great training program

We designed the Better Work Method to help your team training succeed. Want to radically improve your training program? Save hours of ineffective training with our free assessment, or take a tour of Lessonly today.

How we Make Remote Work Work

This morning, the Lessonly marketing team gathered for our daily standup. A soaring mountain landscape filled the TV screen. That’s not our screensaver though—it’s Alex. Alex is one of Lessonly’s remote teammates, and today, he’s conferencing in from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Tough life, right?

In all seriousness, Lessonly’s remote workers are some of our hardest-working and most valued teammates. We’re no exception to the growing remote work trend: Right now, about 10% of our team works remotely. While some, like Alex, work from other parts of the U.S., other team members have a much farther digital commute to work—all the way from Nigeria and Kenya.

Meet Raphael, Waithira, Susan, and Joshua. Officially, they work for an organization called Andela—but we’re proud to call them Lessonly llamas.

Andela hires and trains software developers across the globe and places them at some of the world’s leading software companies. We’re lucky to have Susan, Raphael, Joshua, and Waithira as part of our product and engineering team. Waithira lives in Nairobi, Kenya; while the other three hail from Lagos, Nigeria.

Our African teammates work on some of the most exciting pieces of our product, including Learning Paths and integrations with Zendesk, Salesforce, and Chrome. They’ve also had a hand in building our internal reporting, helping to develop contextual learning, and assuring that product code is written with excellence.

But coordinating remote work across an ocean—and multiple time zones—isn’t easy. An HBR study in 2017 found that about 52% of employees have the option to work remotely—but other studies suggest that as few as 12% actually work remotely full-time. As flexible work becomes increasingly common, leaders and managers will need to cultivate intentional new strategies to train and engage these employees in company life. Here are a few tactics that have helped us do better remote work.

Keep everyone on the same page

Technology makes it easier than ever to communicate and share ideas globally. While it’s easy to use Slack and video calls to chat back and forth, transferring knowledge and cultural norms across continents is more challenging. Using a tool like Lessonly to ensure that every team member—from Denver to Nairobi—sees the same information is invaluable.

We also hold an all-team meeting every week where we make major announcements, discuss the latest business updates, and celebrate one another. We offer remote workers the ability to join the meeting via video conference so that they can be part of the team, ask questions, and join in on team camaraderie. These meetings are an opportunity for the entire organization to connect and stay up-to-date.

Joshua agreed, “I love all-team meetings. Seeing the impact of our work is important, and knowing that what we do benefits people is really helpful.”

Be together

A few weeks ago, our Andela teammates made the long flight from Africa to join us for two weeks in Indy. The chance to be together was worth every penny of the flights from Kenya and Nigeria. Whether working remotely from another state—or another country—finding opportunities to meet in person pays remarkable dividends.

Spending some time working right next to one another was invaluable for our product and engineering team. “It was much better to connect in real life,” Joshua added. “I’ve really grown technically through this. When you’re writing code for Lessonly, we have to account for millions of people using it. The Lessonly team is very helpful and supportive of me.”

Being in the same place takes intentionality, time, and money, but we believe it’s an essential piece of doing great remote work.

Invest time

Some organizations think of contractors as expendable “guns for hire”. But wholeheartedly integrating our Andela friends as members of our team has led to untold benefits. This means stateside managers meet one-on-one with our African teammates—just like they would with a local hire. Wathira is part of Lessonly’s QA team, but spending one-on-one time with Alex, our Senior Quality Engineer is immensely valuable.

She noted, “Meeting one-on-one in person with Alex has really improved our conversations—and now we work better together than we did before. It’s easier to talk about issues and ask questions.”

One of the Andela team’s favorite parts of their visit was spending time with our CEO, Max. Raphael added, “Max was ready to pour out knowledge, but asked about us most of the time. His personality was welcoming and he truly wanted to help us.”

When an entire team, from a single manager to the CEO, decides that investment in remote workers is a priority—distant employees move from feeling like an afterthought to an engaged member of the team.

Foster valuable connections

Our partnership with the Andela team doesn’t just benefit our product or our operations. The relationships we share help all of us grow together.

Susan noted, “Working with Lessonly has been awesome. The culture is so welcoming—and they really encourage us to do better work.” The rest of the Andela team nodded in agreement as Susan continued, “The Lessonly team appreciates every piece of work I do, which makes me want to do more. I see a real future with Lessonly.”

Our team in Indianapolis was equally inspired by their visit. Steve Grossi, one of our lead software engineers added:

“After working closely with Joshua, Raphael, Susan, and Waithira for so long, I felt like we’d gotten to know them. But there’s really nothing like meeting face-to-face, eating meals together, and showing them around Indy. They even showed us around! My favorite memory was a big lunch together at a Nigerian restaurant on the west side.

As for me, I’ll remember the Andela team laughing and enjoying a snowy day in Indy. It took me a second to understand why they had their phones out to capture the moment: It was their first snowfall.

For our team, after a long winter in Indy, the snow was an annoyance. But the wonder of the Andela team prompted my renewed appreciation for the slushy mix. This holds true for our entire business: Susan, Raphael, Joshua, and Waithira—like so many remote workers—bring a new perspective to our team. They don’t live in the same city, come to same office, or even live on the same continent that we do. That fresh insight makes our product, and our team, better than ever.

Remote teams do better work with Lessonly

Lessonly’s online training software enables teams like ours to engage with remote employees and drive change at scale. Customer service teams like Smart Rhino rely on Lessonly to train a distributed team of agents and deliver a consistent customer experience. Want to see Lessonly in action? Take a tour today.

4 Ways to Empower Customer Service Reps

Sarah places an order online and immediately realizes that she made a mistake on the order form. She calls the customer service line, but the representative tells her that he can’t fix the order—it was already sent to the fulfillment center. He places Sarah on hold while he tries to find someone with the authorization to change the order. After a half-hour on hold, he returns to tell Sarah that the only person who can make the change is out of the office for the week. Dismayed and exasperated, Sarah cancels the order completely.

Bryan, the customer service representative, is also aggravated. He truly wants to help Sarah, but can’t due to the red tape of an antiquated policy. Unfortunately, Bryan still doesn’t have the discretion—or necessary training— to resolve a simple problem like Sarah’s. He feels defeated and vents his frustration through unfriendly interactions with other customers.

This situation emphasizes the importance of empowering customer service reps. In fact, one study found that companies leveraging employee empowerment receive 50% higher degrees of customer loyalty. However, many employers misunderstand what empowerment really means. At its core, support team empowerment is a way to give representatives the tools they need to take care of the needs of customers. If done correctly, reps will find long-run engagement and motivation, while customer service leaders will have more time to focus on other tasks.

So, what does it take to truly empower customer service reps?

Create a shared vision of service

Empowering customer service reps begins by offering a mission to work towards. That mission must be a strategic vision of service that provides clear direction for every representative. Jeff Toister, Founder of Toister Performance Solutions, Inc. notes, “Customer service leaders need to get teams on the same page when it comes to outstanding service. This means creating a shared vision that is easy to understand, customer-centric, and authentic.”

Get more customer service insights from industry experts in The Future of Customer Service ebook.

A shared definition of customer service points reps in the right direction. Customer service representatives who work in a silo, without a true understanding of how their actions impact the entire company, are unlikely to feel empowered to take the organization to the next level. On the other hand, a shared vision of service makes it easy for reps to go the extra mile to make customers happy and bring the vision an amazing customer experience to life.

Encourage autonomy

The idea of autonomy often induces panic for customer service leaders. Contrary to popular belief, autonomy is not about letting reps loose to do whatever they please. Meaningful autonomy simply means giving reps the freedom to resolve customer needs and provide the best service possible—at their own discretion. Jeanne Bliss, President of CustomerBliss, advocates for autonomy, noting that “Reps ultimately need to feel assured that they are trusted and have the appropriate power to act to solve a problem.”

One key to encouraging autonomy is asking reps to use the same care and intentionality about the business as their own finances. Establishing a solid framework with general guidelines for approaching customer requests ensures that reps make the best decisions for the organization and customer. As an example, Ritz-Charles empowers its employees to spend up to $2,000 to solve customer problems without asking a manager. While this amount may seem steep, the average Ritz-Carlton customer spends $250,000 with the Ritz during their lifetime. By creating guidelines and boundaries for reps, employees are enabled to provide a level of service that delights the customer, builds their trust, and strengthens their relationship with the brand.

Deliver training to create experts

Customer service reps won’t provide exceptional service if they aren’t trained with the skills and knowledge they need to make smart decisions. Mike Aoki, President of Reflective Keynotes and a 20-year industry expert, adds that customer interactions are more complicated than ever before which, “requires customer service professionals to have more knowledge and a higher skill level.”

A well-trained customer service rep will feel comfortable, confident, and empowered during customer interactions. They won’t hesitate to answer questions or fix a problem because they know the products, services, and processes inside and out. Instead of overloading reps with too much knowledge at once, consider implementing a program that allows reps to learn at their own pace. Self-paced learning may help them better understand the information as they take time to digest the new material. Rushing through materials and new knowledge in a flurry of training will ultimately fluster reps, rather than empowering them.

Provide coaching and mentoring

Coaching and mentoring is an effective extension of customer service training. Coaching and mentoring gives reps the chance to gain more hands-on knowledge from experienced veterans and contact center leaders. With 20+ years of customer experience leadership, Steve DiGioia points out, “A successful team should receive constant reinforcement of best practices and procedures from their leaders.”

Mentored reps often receive one-on-one training, support, and advice from customer service veterans that help them better understand their role. From asking questions to providing helpful feedback, coaching helps reps think through a problem and practice possible solutions. Mentors also serve as a helpful resource, push reps to meet goals and objectives, and pursue professional development. Ultimately, this investment motivates and empowers reps to do better work—independently—with the new skills and expertise they’ve gleaned from coaching and mentoring.

A customer service team cannot truly be efficient until leaders deeply empower their representatives. This also creates a win-win-win situation. Reps are happy because they help customers—and grow in the process. Contact center leaders are happy because they can focus on more difficult, and high-value tasks—rather than stepping in to help reps all the time. And customers are happy because they get their problems solved—faster, better. In short—employee empowerment is the foundation of lifelong, enthusiastic customers.

Start empowering reps with training from Lessonly

Customer service leaders across the globe rely on Lessonly to empower their teams. Reps learn, practice, and perform better when they’re enabled to do their jobs at the highest level. See how empowered teams do better work and take a tour of Lessonly today.

The Next Generation of Contact Centers [Infographic]

Over five years of working with customer service leaders and executives, we’ve seen firsthand that the best-enabled customer service reps deliver the most exceptional experiences. In a world where customers want to be heard, understood, and appreciated, reps need to be trained, inspired, and empowered to do so. That’s why we were captivated by Deloitte’s 2017 Global Contact Center Survey. Businesses must prioritize and invest in customer service capabilities in order to adapt to and deliver on customer needs and preferences. The infographic below offers a glimpse into how your company can factor a superior customer experience into future business decisions.

View on SlideShare or share this infographic:

What Makes a Great Lesson?

Apple founder Steve Jobs once said, “Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” We agree—the best work happens when it’s a team effort, and training is no exception. That’s why we’re committed to partnering with our customers to create industry-leading learning programs.

Here at Lessonly, we have plenty of practice building lessons and helping customers create their own. So, we’d like to share with you some of the insights we’ve learned along the way to make training engaging, interactive, and impactful for your employees.

Engage Learners with Simple Content

Tip 1: The first question most lesson creators ask is, “What should I include in my lesson?” Start by zeroing in on one idea or job function at a time. Since you can’t teach employees everything at once, focus on three sub-ideas or responsibilities, and build the lesson around that framework. Jump start this process with our employee training plan builder and tap into the expertise of your team members to identify important job tasks.  

Tip 2: When building a lesson, it’s crucial to capture and deliver work knowledge simply—this increases the effectiveness of the lesson. This is when the classic acronym K.I.S.S—keep it simple, stupid—is useful. Be sure the lesson includes only most important information in a concise and to-the-point manner so employees can clearly understand it.

Tip 3: In order to keep lessons interesting, look for ways to break up text with engaging elements such as images and video. This is an easy way to add context to the lesson or explain something in more detail. For example, we love using screen capture to show employees how to follow a specific process, such as adding a lead in Salesforce. Just remember to keep video content relevant and brief so employees stay engaged.

Tip 4: The most effective lessons are designed to be short and easy to complete. The “microlearning” format breaks training down into bite-sized pieces that educate employees on a single subject—increasing learning engagement. If you need to share a lot of information related to one subject, consider breaking lessons down into more manageable chunks within a learning path so employees can easily digest the information.

Test Knowledge with Quizzes and Practice Scenarios

Tip 5: Learning new skills and knowledge is important, but it’s critical to make sure that employees understand what they’re learning. Consider adding a few quiz questions throughout the lesson to ensure employees understand and retain the information before they move forward. Lessonly offers both short answer and multiple choice question for the flexibility and customization that work best for your lesson.

Tip 6: The best teams and employees improve their skills through dedicated practice. That’s why great lessons should enable employees to practice and perfect their skills. Video Response allows employees to roleplay common scenarios or rehearse their answers to hone their craft. With Video Response, managers can encourage team practice and offer constructive feedback so employees improve faster.

Improve your Lesson with Performance Data Measurement

Tip  7: A great lesson leads to improved individual and team performance. If your lesson doesn’t deliver measurable results, consider updating so it provides clear and actionable data in two key areas:

  • Business outcomes—Each lesson should be linked to business outcomes such as demos set or average call time for resolution. By measuring these objectives, managers will be able to see if a lesson is providing the knowledge and skills that are needed to drive these outcomes.
  • Learning metrics—Lessons also provide valuable insights that determine the return of learning (ROL). Take a look at lesson quiz scores, feedback, and completion rate to see if employees are engaged in the lesson and understand the materials. This will help identify gaps in the lesson that needs to be addressed.

While building a lesson may sound intimidating—it’s not! These seven tips are a great foundation to build a lesson that delivers results. When in doubt, remember that every lesson should help employees learn, practice, and perform. This model will radically improve your lesson, and place your team on the path to greater productivity.

Lessonly isn’t just online training software

Lessonly is a full-service solution for all of your training needs. Create content, deliver it to your team, and measure results—all in one place. Interested in learning more about what makes a great lesson? Join us for our exclusive pre-conference training at Yellowship, where we’ll walk through the best practices for forward-thinking training programs. Learn more and register here.

The 2018 State of Retail Employee Training [Infographic]

As we examine retail and consumer trends—both in-store and online—we’re convinced that better associate training leads to exceptional experiences for customers. We hope this infographic informs and inspires retail leaders as they equip employees with the knowledge and skills needed to serve consumers. Enjoy!

View on SlideShare or share this infographic:

Behind the Scenes: How We Do Employee Onboarding

Most companies recognize the importance of team training, but struggle to implement a training program or employee training software. This blog series offers an inside look at how the Lessonly team uses our own software to do better work. We hope these tips and examples provide a framework for effective and engaging team learning.

Over the last few years, the Lessonly team has grown a lot. We quickly learned that employee onboarding can make—or break—a team member’s success. Great onboarding improves employee engagement, ramp time to productivity, retention rates, and the company’s bottom line. Because of this, we’re always updating our onboarding program to ensure we provide the best experience to our new team members.

Here are a few ways that we’ve leveraged our software to drive exceptional employee onboarding.  

Provide Essential and Engaging Preboarding

I joined the Lessonly team just 90 days ago. There were plenty of new job jitters. A few days after excitedly signing my acceptance letter, an email hit my inbox that introduced me to Lessonly. Already sitting in my account were lessons like, “Welcome to the Team” and “An Introduction to Marketing at Lessonly.” These preboarding lessons jump-started my introduction to a new job.

Preboarding efficiently uses the time between accepting the job and the first day of work. When employers share information about their office, company policies, or work logistics, they more effectively prepare new employees for their first day. This process is extremely beneficial—reducing the nerves of new hires, cutting down on administrative tasks, and helping managers provide a better experience for their new employee.

Tactically—one week before their start date, new Lessonly teammates receive a lesson that shares our mission, vision, and values; how to be an ideal team player; and information about our departments and roles. Additionally, this interactive lesson informs employees what to do and bring to nail their first day at Lessonly. By completing my preboarding process, I knew exactly what to expect and was ready to jump right in to my new role.

Create Custom Employee Training Paths

When I walked in the door at Lessonly, my manager had a unique and custom onboarding path waiting for me. Lessonly’s Learning Paths made it easy for him to create a seamless experience that provided the knowledge I needed for my specific role and team. My custom training path featured lessons about key metrics, marketing team objectives, and helpful resources. Instead of overburdening me with too much information at once, my path was laid out over the course of a few weeks—allowing ample time to process information and ask questions when needed.

Onboarding should not solely focus on procedures, processes, and administrative tasks. The best onboarding programs integrate new employees into their teams and the entire company as soon as possible—without overwhelming them.

From providing useful content to outlining performance expectations, effective onboarding should be customized for employees across different teams and roles for maximum impact.

The marketing department isn’t the only team that creates custom training paths. New members of Lessonly’s sales org complete a structured onboarding program that maximizes ramp time to productivity. The program, targeted toward account executives and sales development reps, is divided into three detailed onboarding stages. Each stage has a key theme and clear objectives to ensure that new employees understand what is expected of them during each stage. Additionally, each path requires reps to complete quizzes and assessments to ensure they understand the information before progressing to the next stage. This path ensures a smooth onboarding process for new employees and their managers alike.

Don’t Stop Onboarding: Focus on Long-Term Development

90 days into my not-so-new job with Lessonly, I still receive onboarding lessons. These lessons have equipped me with the knowledge I need to go from new hire to a valuable team member. Recently, I completed a lesson that helped me understand the processes that I needed to complete a new project. The onboarding process continues to be a valuable resource as I’ve accomplished larger projects and taken on more responsibilities.

Unfortunately, many other companies don’t offer their employees an onboarding program like this. According to SHRM, only 15% of companies continue onboarding after six months and many programs end after an employees’ first month on the job. The additional training, check-ins, and coaching sessions can make all the difference in engaging an employee.

SHRM also notes that nearly 90% of employees decide whether to stay or go within the first six months—proving that continued onboarding can have a lasting impact.

The best part of using Lessonly is that every single lesson and piece of information I received during onboarding is still accessible. I can search Lessony’s learning library to revisit the content anytime and anywhere. Whether I want to refresh my memory or find an answer during a moment of need, Lessonly empowers me to do so.

An employee onboarding process is the first impression that new employees have of their new company (outside of the recruiting and hiring process). Astound new teammates with high-quality onboarding and you’ll see higher retention that positively impacts the organization for years to come. If your employees are anything like me, you’ll wow them from the start.

Create a Robust Onboarding Program with Lessonly

Creating custom onboarding at scale doesn’t have to be difficult. Lessonly makes the process easy. Quickly build an onboarding program, share lessons, and measure the results, all within one platform. Take a tour today and see how Lessonly powers game-changing employee onboarding and training.

How Trunk Club Powers Retail Staff Training with Lessonly

Ask any retail employee or stylist, and they’ll tell you the same thing: The fashion industry is constantly changing. So how should a company in the clothing industry deliver exceptional customer service, train their retail staff, and keep up with continuous change? Just ask Trunk Club.

Since 2009, Trunk Club has been disrupting the clothing industry, bringing the world’s greatest clothes straight to doorsteps. With ever-changing fashion trends, evolving customer needs, and busy associates, Trunk Club turned to Lessonly for training that powers change at scale.

“Trunk Club changes every day, by the minute. I love that with Lessonly, we’re able to update content as quickly as our business changes.”—Kathryn Pelino, Sales Training Manager

Not only has Lessonly made it easy for Trunk Club to quickly create and update content—it’s also allowed the team to provide retail staff training like never before.

Effectively transfer knowledge with streamlined training

“With Lessonly, we streamline communication, we make communication easier, and we make training easier.”—Brittany Jansen, Training and Development Specialist

Before Lessonly, Trunk Club ran training with a blend of in-person meetings, physical binders, and Google docs. To keep pace with change, the Trunk Club team needed a better way to communicate and train more than 750 reps and stylists. With Lessonly, Trunk Club associates get up to speed faster than ever. Streamlined training and communication with Lessonly ensures that every rep receives the same information, enabling consistent support across thousands of customers and stylists.

“Lessonly keeps us all on the same page. Lessonly isn’t just a learning resource for new changes, it’s a resource that, moving forward, you can always refer to. I have a whole library that I can access. If I come across a case where I do have to do something that I’m unfamiliar with, I know I can just refer to Lessonly. It’s all there.”—David Rodriguez, Service Associate

Engage employees with intuitive and interactive lessons

While conveying information is valuable, the interactive features of Lessonly are especially exciting for the Trunk Club team. As opposed to static, text-heavy and static training content, the Trunk Club team uses images, videos, flip cards, and more to create engaging and effective lessons. Trunk Club is also looking forward to using Lessonly’s newest features, Video Response, to help their team practice and improve their skills. The Trunk Club team appreciates Lessonly’s powerful simplicity, making it easy to create, edit, access, and complete lessons for the entire team. In turn, better and faster lessons lead to improved efficiency and employee confidence.

“Being able to find that answer on your own not only instills a better confidence but also allows all of our teams to be more efficient. If we’re able to keep that content engaging and interesting for them, they will, in turn, be happier in their jobs.”—Kathyrn Pelino, Sales Training Manager

Measure and improve training to elevate customer experiences

The Trunk Club team also benefits from the measurement and reporting functions within Lessonly. Teams can’t improve what they don’t measure, and training data contains valuable insights about gaps in employee knowledge. Currently, Trunk Club offers bi-weekly style quizzes to their team to gauge how well employees understand the material. The data they receive from Lessonly helps them monitor performance—from individuals employees to entire business units.

“We’re looking at everyone’s quality. So, we can see at any given time if a person isn’t performing as well let’s look through Lessonly to see if we need to update the lesson, the process, or re-engage that associate.”—Katie Bithos, Service Lead

Trunk Club is revolutionizing how consumers buy clothes, and we’re proud of our small role in helping them accomplish that mission. They have seen an immediate impact from Lessonly—reps get up to speed more efficiently and stylists receive the regular updates on products and processes they need to succeed in their jobs. And when they do better work, they live better lives.

“We’re serving up so much content and so many changes to our sales team. If we’re able to keep that content engaging and interesting for them, they will in turn be happier in their jobs. We want to help stylists feel confident in their day-to-day, which allows them to do the best work they can. Lessonly helps us do that.”—Kathryn Pelino, Sales Training Manager

Get Started with Lessonly

With Lessonly, companies and managers quickly transform knowledge into engaging training, empower their employees, accelerate high-performance, and measure the impact of better learning. Read more about how Trunk Club uses Lessonly here or take a tour to see how your team can do better work.  

5 Methods to Discover Training Topics for Employees

Whether your company is well-established or brand new, you can’t afford to ignore great training. Ultimately, well-trained employees are the backbone of any organization’s long-term success.

The first and most basic issue leaders face when designing a training program is deciding what training presentation topics employees need. Organizations should create learning plans that address training challenges for the entire business, and individual employees. While every company is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all training solution, every company can use these 5 simple methods to discover and create a list of training topics for employees.

1. Use a Training Plan Template

A training plan that covers a variety of training topics in the workplace must be flexible enough for individual employees, full teams, and entire businesses. A training template helps leaders easily navigate through the process of identifying both company training topics and the core functions of each employee. This makes it simple to pinpoint the information and skills that need to be addressed by employees in roles ranging from support to sales.

Using a training plan template is extremely beneficial to discovering topics for training sessions. That’s why we created our free Employee Training Plan Template. This builder walks through a series of questions that result in a detailed training plan for your team. Our Learn/Practice/Perform framework makes it easy to detect the knowledge, skills, and topics employees need training on.

P.S. If you’re looking for an example of a training plan for employees—we have that too. Click here for pre-built templates that feature simple training topics for you to start with.  

2. Perform a Needs Assessment

Another quick—yet effective—technique to evaluate different training programs for employees is a training needs assessment. While this process tends to be easiest for small to mid-sized organizations to perform, it provides a glimpse of training needs for a specific group of employees. The activity gathers input from employees who have the same job and perform identical tasks. Each employee provides a set list of the most important—and specific—training needs in order to best execute their responsibilities. Then, the final list is reviewed by team leaders who prioritize and implement training to meet these requests.

Training needs assessments also detect employees’ current level of competence, skill, or knowledge in various areas. Rather than assume that all employees need training—or even the same training—management can make informed decisions about the best way to address knowledge gaps among individual employees and teams. It’s beneficial to perform these assessments periodically to measure changes in employee knowledge and skills, as well as training program effectiveness.

3. Review Employee Questions

Whether through online research or conversations with peers, people ask questions to find information. This natural habit is also a chance to discover what your employees are searching for. Leaders can classify common questions and problems to create new types of training programs for employees that address each need. This means less time searching for answers and more time helping customers, closing deals, and focusing on work.

We believe easy search functionality should be available for every team member, and that employees do their best work when they have on-demand access to answers. Lessonly for Chrome brings a fully-functional search bar, specifically for learning, straight to your browser. On any webpage, just type in a question and see relevant lessons with essential work knowledge. Additionally, employees can ask for clarification on important team knowledge from a coworker or manager, while leaders view  search data and easily identify queries with no associated training content

4. Evaluate Metrics and KPIs

Team metrics and KPIs are a deep measure of a training program and employee knowledge. Metrics and KPIs are quantifiable measurements that relate to business goals and objectives. When used correctly to track and evaluate the status of a specific process or action, they can highlight gaps in skills and knowledge. When KPIs are lower than expected, oftentimes business goals are not met.

For example, if you have a KPI that tracks a sales team’s opportunity-to-win ratio— and it’s consistently lower than forecast—there is a high probability that reps need additional training to improve their skills. If reps surpass lead acquisition goals but fail to convert those leads to closed-won deals, leaders should provide additional training and coaching to help reps become expert closers.

5. Access Training Data

Given how much time, planning, and financial resources are invested in a training program, it’s extremely useful to know what employees are successfully learning. Training provides valuable insight and data about employee skills. It’s important—and advantageous—to identify training objectives and then measure and evaluate employees throughout training to uncover needs that aren’t being met by existing training programs.

Using modern learning software makes it very easy to track employee engagement and performance. Leaders are empowered to see how much time employees spend on specific training topics, as well as course completion rates, test scores, and activity feedback. Additionally, leaders can see the areas of training that agents revisit and spend the most time on. Every piece of training data helps leaders determine gaps in training, then apply those insights to create and update training topics for employee development.

More often than not, when effective training takes place, a company decreases its turnover rate and helps employees perform better in their jobs. But, in order to be effective, training programs must deliver knowledge that employees actually need. By using a training template, talking to employees, and evaluating data, leaders can supply employees with the training they need to succeed in their roles—and drive results for the entire organization.

Lessonly Delivers Training that Satisfies your Employees Needs

World-class customers use Lessonly to provide their employees with the training topics they need to succeed. Our modern learning software also tracks the impact of learning so leaders can develop training programs that produce vastly superior bottom-line results. Take a tour today, and see how Lessonly drives powerful team learning.

Rethinking the Call Center: 6 Essential Training Tips

The contact center landscape is always evolving. As soon as new contact channels develop, customer preferences change. Efficiently overcoming and responding to these changes requires a solid foundation of basic call center training and agent development.

Agent development initiatives are crucial to help reps adapt to the dramatic shifts in technology and customer expectations currently taking place. Customer support leaders are also noting the importance of these initiatives, as seen in a study by Customer Contact Week. In an effort to empower call center agents, leaders are investing in training, coaching, learning management, and more.

Call Center Training Ideas

Modern technologies such as skill-based routing (SDR) and interactive voice response (IVR) have made contact centers more efficient, but training still lags behind. CCW reports that 89% of call center leaders believe that training should be a top strategic focus for the next year in order to better serve customers. Investing in call center agent training empowers agents, improves efficiency metrics, and positively impacts the bottom line of your business.

While training is important across every industry, it is often seen as boring, tedious, and unproductive—which results in wasted time and frustrated employees. Companies that invest time and effort into forward-thinking training and dynamic learning processes see higher agent engagement and less turnover compared to companies that don’t. Here’s a few steps to get started:

Create a Plan

A great training plan fuels business success, but sometimes it’s tricky to know where to start. To combat this issue, resources and templates help leaders create a call center training program that works best for their employees. This plan doesn’t need to be perfect—It’s more important to get started and keep it simple. Training plans should focus on the core functions of call center agents, and what it will take for them to learn, practice and perform in their roles.

Build a Manual

From evaluating your current process to creating a new and improved one, a call center training manual helps companies invest in training in the most impactful way possible. Organizations that develop a training policy—and stick to it—manage training and customer service more efficiently.  Looking for a place to start with your training manual? Consider how your organization defines service, who your customers are, and what a friendly agent looks like.

Focus on Coaching

When it comes to agent development and call center training best practices, 86% of contact center leaders say that one-on-one coaching is still a top priority. Not only does this interactive process help agents improve their skills and take their performance to the next level— it also provides almost immediate feedback from a recent interaction. By keeping this two-way interaction as timely and positive as possible, organizations will see coaching make a large impact on agents and increase the chance that they become long-lasting performers.

Train with a Group

Group training also proves to be a beneficial call center training tip. Group work provides an opportunity for agents to learn from and collaborate with their peers to identify key areas for improvement. Group training is often completed by someone in an organizational development role—we think this is a mistake. Consider asking other agents who excel in the role to help lead the group training. This gives everyone the opportunity to learn from someone who has experience with the interactions and tasks that agents complete every day.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Agents can also use call center training conversation scripts to practice mock interactions or address challenging scenarios. By working together to identify the best way to respond in difficult customer interactions, employees feel engaged and empowered and will be more likely to work hard to improve and continue learning. While this is a helpful exercise, it is also important to remind agents that these scripts should be a starting point and that interactions with customers should be conversational, customized, and personable to ensure quality service.

Invest in Tools

A key component to training strategy is streamlining the experience—make it simple and accessible for all call center agents to take part in.  While training is important for happy agents, the quality of tools and technology that enable their learning is equally essential. Therefore, CCW states that 76% of contact center leaders plan to prioritize investing in learning management systems over the next two years.

Training isn’t a one and done process, so your training and learning management strategy should allow companies to easily create ongoing and consecutive training. As both contact centers and customer needs change, companies will need to modify and update call center training programs so agents remain equipped to answer questions and deliver exceptional customer service tomorrow—and into the future.

These six steps are just the beginning. Call center leaders neglect training their agents at their own peril. A small, intentional investment in employee development today could pay remarkable dividends in call center productivity and customer loyalty for years to come.

Taking the Next Steps in Learning with Lessonly

Have training on your mind? Lessonly helps call center agents learn, practice, and perform with our online training software. Take a tour today, and see how Lessonly can help your team do better work.

Managing the Millennial Sales Team

Managing the Millennial Sales Team

In less than 10 years, the global workforce will be about 50% millennials. As Baby Boomers begin to leave the workforce, and Generation Xers take on new roles in leadership, the front line of the global salesforce will be filled to the brim with millennial account executives and development reps. Asa Hochhauser, Director of Account Development at Ion Interactive, realizes this more than most. As the leader of a team of ten sales reps, he identifies as a Xennial—the generation born on the border between Generation X and millennials. His team, however, is full of millennials, and that means cultivating a management style that matches his team’s unique needs.

Millennial Sales Team Graphic

After his first promotion into management years ago, Hochhauser was forced to reflect upon his leadership style. This came with its own challenges, “As I continued to grow into more responsibility, one challenge was managing my peers. You’re just friends one day. They’re reporting to you the next.” This common challenge for many young managers was a growth opportunity for Hochhauser, who cited effective communication with his team and the mentorship of a senior leader as keys to success. He’s enjoyed the continued personal development that has accompanied each of his shifts in job function—and managing a team of millennials was no exception.

First and foremost, Hochhauser recognizes the individuality of each salesperson. He notes, “You’ve really got to tune in and be attentive to each individual need—then adjust your style from employee to employee.” As an empathetic manager, who wants his all employees to succeed, Hochhauser recognized that a cookie-cutter approach to management wasn’t good enough, he needed more intentionality. “I used to do my 1-on-1s back to back, but I realized that was a mistake. If you really want to be mentally present for your employees, you have to be able to shift gears and take some time to plan for that interaction.” Recognizing the high need for personalized attention on his team has been a theme through his management of millennial workers.

The generational difference between Hochhauser and his team is always at play in his sales management dynamics. As part of a generation that grew up without the internet, Hochhauser jokes, “You never think you’re gonna say, ‘I was walking through the snow when you were just a kid,’ but it naturally starts to happen.” He sees the stark difference that the few years between generations reflects and has a few suggestions for how to best engage millennial employees, help them grow, and deliver powerful results:

Free the team to fail

Millennials are stereotypically known for being overly-reliant upon their managers for approval and guidance. But Hochhauser has found that sometimes pushing employees out of the proverbial nest is the best approach. While every team member will have moments of failure or inhibiting their own development, he sees value in “letting go a little bit,” and customizing his coaching from person to person to help them grow through challenging behaviors or seasons. This personalized approach to management, rather than a one-size-fits-all strategy, is absolutely essential to the success of Hochhauser’s team.

Open the door to feedback

As corporate culture continues to be a focus for millennial job hunters, Hochhauser wants to ensure his team feels free to offer feedback to him, just like he does to them. “We have a genuine, open culture of communication. So employees can walk into my office and tell me I’m doing a bad job any day of the week—and they know I’ll be okay with it.” Those personal connections, cultivated primarily through 1-on-1s, create opportunities to hear from his team, learn what’s going well, and discuss opportunities for improvement.

Match skills with job function

At Ion, getting promoted in the sales department isn’t just a matter of consistently meeting quota—it’s important to match personality with job function. “If an SDR is hitting quota, it doesn’t mean that they’ll necessarily be good for the ADM role.  There’s a much deeper level of business acumen that’s required, and a lot of soft skills that you have to have as well.” Hochhauser wants his people to grow and develop—but if their skills don’t fit the next step in the sales org, he works to help them find a place where they can succeed in the long-run.

Onboard with flexibility and excellence

While older employees might want to print out their training materials, Hochhauser has noticed that millennial employees gobble up online resources. He encourages this kind of ongoing learning for his team. “We really focus on self-propelling. So we lead you to the water, but we don’t make you drink it. It’s a good indicator for us who is truly committed and who can pick what we do up effectively.” Online training software like Lessonly provides a central hub like this, where employees can access the material they need—at their own pace. This style of training gives managers the tools to track and measure their team’s learning, leading to more productive, more empowered team members.

Prioritize personal development

Hochhauser recognizes that most every salesperson wants to grow personally and professionally in their job. To ensure a culture of learning and growth, his sales team reads a book together about once a quarter. This book club flavors their Monday morning team meetings with avid discussion in the spirit of helping one another improve. For sales leaders looking to start their own book club, Hochhauser always recommends books that have been personally impactful—he often suggests Jim Keenan’s Not Taught, Anthony Iannarino’s The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, and Adamson & Dixon’s The Challenger Customer.

Hochhauser has had the opportunity to learn and grow as a manager throughout his time at Ion. Managing a millennial workforce—or any team—comes with unique challenges and opportunities. In the end, a radical focus on people and their personal development continues to pay overwhelming dividends in better individual performance, team cohesion, and market success.

Want to help your sales team improve?
Lessonly helps hundreds of sales teams do just that. With faster onboarding, better training, and greater sales enablement—closed deals abound. Lessonly could be your sales team’s secret weapon. Take a tour today.