Over the last few years front-line and mobile workers have been under more pressure than ever. From the COVID-19 pandemic to economic uncertainty, many front-line workers are facing a lack of organizational support that’s contributing to poor productivity and impacting company innovation, culture, and bottom line.
How can learning and development (L&D) decision-makers improve front-line employee training in order to motivate, educate, and retain their essential workers?
Let these best practices guide you in developing consistent, engaging, and effective training to help front-line workers stay connected and productive – whether in financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, or beyond.
1. Ensure consistent front-line training with on-demand content
Despite their essential roles, front-line employees often receive less training than other positions, with 40% participating in training just once a year or less. As front-line and mobile roles are often situated in disparate locations, ensuring consistent and uniform training across distributed teams is essential to productivity and strong learner outcomes.
The first step is capturing front-line training as video for on-demand viewing. Whether it’s through pre-recorded training modules or recording live sessions for later distribution, asynchronous training allows front-line workers to easily digest training anytime, anywhere. With 6 out of 10 front-line workers using mobile devices at work, on-demand training videos allow workers to view and review material when it fits their schedule – encouraging them to continually improve skills and participate in career development.
American 1 Credit Union used Panopto to transition to on-demand training across their 17 locations and 201 employees – 65% of which are front-line workers.
“Previously, all training was in-person, time-consuming, and very disruptive. We would have to pull front-line team members out of the branch, find someone to cover for them while they were out, and take them on-site to our Resource Center for training,” says Marla Sanford, former VP of Marketing & Communications at American 1 Credit Union.
“Now, we have a hybrid model. We pre-record the training that we know we will consistently need, and provide it on-demand. We also have trainers record their live sessions so people who aren’t in attendance can revisit them later. Panopto has been amazing because we can reach anyone, anywhere with the same information. It’s really helped us expedite our training and save hundreds of hours,” Sanford says.
2. Humanize instruction to build culture and rapport
Whether they’re the face of your business interacting with customers or the backbone of your company working in a warehouse or plant, front-line and mobile workers are often separated from wider company communication and culture due to their distributed roles.
According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index surveying close to 10,000 front-line employees and managers in eight industries, 63% of front-line workers report that executive communication doesn’t reach them and 69% of front-line managers report that leadership does not effectively communicate with them either.
Rather than relying on dry documentation or sporadic live training, bring your essential workers into your company culture with video training that helps build a sense of community and connection – a priority in today’s challenging employment market. In fact, more than 60% of deskless workers believe additional training would help them feel better connected to their company’s mission or values.
Video training doesn’t have to be professionally produced material, either. Social learning videos – informal training modules self-recorded by current employees, leaders, and subject-matter experts – are an easy and effective way to surface and share institutional knowledge across front-line staff while helping build peer-to-peer relationships and organizational buy-in.
3. Efficiently scale front-line worker training with a video learning library
Video has already become the foundation for how we communicate and share knowledge in a distributed world, but it’s only as valuable as it is actionable. It’s critical to ensure that video training content is discoverable and easy to navigate in order to best support front-line workers today – and help scale your front-line training programs tomorrow.
The key is a corporate video learning library – in other words, a central, secure, and searchable channel for an organization’s training resources that integrates with existing communication and collaboration tools. According to data from Gartner, building on technologies that front-line workers are already familiar with is the best way to improve engagement and employee experience.
An integrated corporate learning ecosystem should include your existing video conferencing solution, a learning management system, and a video learning library. This ecosystem allows front-line workers to access, search, and share training without leaving their flow of work – from watching a training video directly within workspace communication tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack, to recording a quick social learning module on their mobile phone or tablet.
With a video learning library as a foundation, it’s easy and cost-effective to scale training programs. Rather than gathering employees from across your national chain or regional franchise in one location for in-person training, front-line workers can tap into an organization-wide training library from their specific branch or location – saving time and budget.
4. Incorporate interactive and personalized training elements to strengthen engagement
Employees each have a unique learning style that live training or documentation-based programs often don’t cater to. Video training supports all workers by allowing them to personalize their viewing experience – from video speed to captioning to in-video search.
It also offers the opportunity to integrate interactive elements that empower front-line workers to take an active role in their training experience. Sales and customer service teams might choose to record prospect calls and demos to teach soft skills like problem-solving and customer communication, while technical organizations might use multi-source video feeds to record equipment maintenance that technicians can watch on-site while servicing the same equipment.
From live demonstrations and group discussions to video quizzes and virtual polling, incorporate interactive elements into your training program to elevate engagement, improve knowledge retention, and boost learning outcomes.
5. Measure engagement and outcomes to continuously improve front-line training
Like most L&D leaders, you’re probably already tracking training completion for departmental or compliance requirements. But do you know how your front-line employees are engaging with training or how effective your programs are in improving skills and productivity?
Video training opens up a world of data and analytics that help companies understand how employees are interacting with content – such as topics of interest, search queries, or courses revisited. From individual participation to team-wide learning outcomes, understanding how your workers use your training, what areas they have mastered, and where they can continue to grow can help you shape future courses and professional development opportunities to be as relevant and valuable as possible.
Keep in mind that your choice of video management system will play a crucial role in how you’re able to collect data and what types of analytics are available.
Front-line and front-of-mind
With these best practices in mind, you are well-placed to prioritize and personalize your mobile and front-line worker training, boosting engagement and productivity while building a sense of connection and empowerment among your workforce.
Download The Essential Hybrid Training Playbook
Whether you’re new to hybrid learning or ready to scale your existing hybrid training programs, we developed The Essential Hybrid Training Playbook as your actionable guide to creating a future-proof hybrid L&D strategy.
Download The Essential Hybrid Training Playbook to discover:
- 6 steps to building a future-proof hybrid training strategy
- Best practices for building a corporate video learning library
- An actionable checklist to strengthen training initiatives
- Case examples and lessons learned from L&D leaders