Technology for Employee Development

The Changing World of Technology for Employee Development

This article was updated on August 5, 2018.

Life's dramatically changed for people in charge of training. Employee training and development initiatives used to be done exclusively in-person. Today, there's a mixture of training processes. We sat down with Pegine Echevarria, founder of award-winning organizational development and training firm Team Pegine Inc., to discuss how things have changed and where employee training is headed.

How Has Training in the Workplace Changed?

Technology for employee development has changed dramatically. The move from live to online training used to look like what you'd expect from an online driver course, when you get a ticket and click through for two or three hours and voila! You have your certificate. The problem is, that's boring. And you don't know if you're retaining anything because you could be multitasking at the same time.

Gamification is where training is headed. With new product rollouts, people have to know the functions and how to use them. In training, people compete with each other through gaming — there's interactivity and competition. Other technology for employee development includes web conferencing, blogs and vlogs.

Senior leaders have shared that managers oftentimes say, "Why don't you find it on YouTube?" when someone needs to learn something. The challenge with that is that it doesn't contribute to their culture, which is why companies invest a lot of money in their own training. There are many companies with their own TV streams that produce original visual content. Video-based training works well when you teach procedures. Trainers must be comfortable with things like Skype and Zoom. They have to be comfortable conducting conferencing, training and communication — having interactivity. They have to know how to be on camera, like a game show host, and not be monotone.

What Should Pre-Training Assessments Look Like?

Effective pre-training assessments are not necessarily what you think. Rather than find out how much a participant knows on a subject, it's better to do a deep assessment on where the company is, what the objectives are and then customize training. Executives and leaders, who are limited on time, want video training that's short and to the point.

Does Collecting Information Before a Session Affect Employee Experience?

It's dramatically important for impact. Knowing age range, for example, is critical, because you'll know what tools to use. You'll know how they're comfortable learning. Are they visual, kinesthetic or auditory learners? Are they millennials? Are they gamers or creatives? Gender is also important, as well as the ratio of men to women. And whether they're introverts or extroverts. Men, women, introverts and extroverts all learn differently. Women, for example, need time to process, whereas men like interaction and competition. Also, were they mandated or invited? If they're invited, then training becomes an honor.

Is There a Time to Pre-Train a Session?

No, you should pre-train role players but not the session. If someone is not at the level of the course, however, that person would need to take another course first to get up to speed.

Is Some Training Better Done Through Technology?

Yes. Air Force pilots have to use technology-based training to practice scenarios because they can't be done safely one-on-one. Also, safety issues in manufacturing are better done in virtual simulation experiences.

Globally, people love visual and interactive trainings because it's cheaper and builds camaraderie by bringing people together virtually. There are also cost savings in not having to fly or pay for hotels.

What's Next in Training?

Live presentations will never stop, but there's already a higher call to interactivity at live training. Trainers are going to have to be camera ready. Companies with in-house trainers will want to see how potential trainers present on camera. That's going to be a big mandate — are you engaging enough?

You're also going to see a lot more virtual. is a good example — people are demanding more of this internally because the medium is a TV show specifically for executives.

Is There Anything Else a CHRO Should Know About Training?

HR leaders are going to have to understand the challenge of incorporating technology for employee development while still being mindful of the marketing and recruitment implications.