Spotlight on Software Application Training

Relationships between employers and employees define a workplace and influence every employment experience. Trust can create or destroy a company’s culture and bottom line through recruiting, onboarding, and continuous career development. Cloud-based virtual learning laboratories are helping to restore employee faith in training, and employers are finally on board.

Trust is important. It is a timeless principle that has served as the foundation of great organisations in every field. Employer-employee connections define a workplace and have an influence on every element of a person’s professional experience, whether favourable or poor. Setting the tone early in the recruiting process, from hiring and onboarding to ongoing skills and career development, will surely define a company’s culture and bottom line.

Application software training is a good illustration of how building trust in the workplace pays off. Whether you are a C-level executive, a middle manager, or a front-line employee, training has changed away from in-person instruction and towards a more contemporary, virtual (or hybrid) approach. While the COVID-19 pandemic tipped the implementation scale in favour of learning lab environments, virtual and hybrid training has been racing to the forefront of training and development programmes since the turn of the millennium. It now depends on the constructive collaboration between learning and development (L&D), human resources (HR), information technology (IT), and operations.

Spotlight on Software Application Training: Onboarding

Hiring and onboarding one employee costs an average of $4,000, whether on-site, remote, or hybrid, and it takes around six months for a firm to start seeing returns on a new-hire investment. Cloud-based training tools can assist to cut employee ramp-up time and ease the onboarding process by eliminating the cost of shipping gear, avoiding difficult installs, and avoiding the need to labour through extensive instruction manuals.

Secure, scalable learning lab environments that can be deployed through an internet browser connection and enable complete training capabilities with the flip of a switch result in a superior employee experience. Standardisation and deployment of virtual learning laboratories result in real-world development experiences that may be adapted to any sector, from onboarding to role-based software application training to ongoing education. Employers and workers alike gain from increased communication, cooperation, and adoption, which helps to strengthen trust throughout an organisation.

Hands-on Learning Labs Help Mercer Accelerate Onboarding and Performance

Hiring and onboarding processes that are effective reduce the cost of recruiting, enhance the chance of retention, and guarantee that the appropriate individuals are linked with the jobs where they will be most productive. Mercer, a division of the $20 billion professional services giant Marsh McLennan, recognises the variables in that equation, and its current virtual training programmes for onboarding are now setting the standard for other businesses.

Mercer’s approximately 25,000 employees strive to transform investing results for millions of people in 130 countries. Throughout their Mercer career, the staff will require training on various software applications. COVID-19 changed the way Mercer executes L&D programmes, as it did for many other firms. Unlike others, its nimble architecture permitted a swift turnaround to produce 152,000 virtual (yet hands-on) training hours to boost engagement and performance above pre-pandemic levels.

Prior to moving to an online learning lab platform, Mercer relied on Zoom and Microsoft Teams as its primary communication platforms to run virtual classrooms. However, both had limitations when compared to the benefits of a physical classroom. They were not satisfying the requirements of Mercer, its professors, or its students.

As an example:

The L&D team saw an increase in the amount of time spent on desktop configuration, which irritated everyone.

Instructors had to stop a whole class to assist one lost learner, rather than addressing their needs and continuing with class so they didn’t lose time or attention.els.

Due to technological and system integration issues, training settings were not easily available (or at all).

There was no alternative for hands-on instruction, which created a barrier between instructors and learners and hindered acceptance.

Finally, Zoom and Teams were unable to create an efficient and effective method for replicating the best aspects of the physical, in-person classroom experience in a virtual context. Mercer needed to create a solution that would allow for engagement and performance, giving learners confidence in the training they received. With a new 2022 recruiting class preparing for onboarding, the L&D team recognised the time had come to make a change.

At Mercer, onboarding new employees was and continues to be a worldwide endeavour. During open enrollment, the 700-person class of 2022 required immediate training on all business systems. Previously, Mercer discovered that it took more than four weeks and an average of $854,000 to train personnel during open enrollment, with a cost of up to $210,000 if the system went down.

Mercer’s inventive L&D team redesigned training programmes with that new onboarding class, with the aim of:

Reduce the time and expense of providing high-quality, personalised training.
Implement a cloud-based, hands-on, virtual learning lab strategy to improve learner/instructor experience, engagement, and performance.
Simplify connection, improve feedback channels, and relieve IT of as much platform responsibilities as feasible.
Create a successful model that may be used by other Marsh McLennan firms.

Mercer reduced its learning experience for business-critical application training into an easy-to-setup and access virtual lab environment by leveraging an interactive, hands-on software application training platform. A logon to a virtual desktop and teaching platform was supplied to learners and educators. Facilitators were also able to instruct and watch learners in real time, as well as take control of the settings if necessary, to further personalise assistance and knowledge transfer thanks to the cloud-based setup.

Cost, time, and resources (particularly IT resources) were saved; engagement and performance improved; communication and culture flourished; data and intellectual property were safeguarded; and confidence in skill development and career progression was developed.

Mercer is currently pushing out its cloud-based virtual learning laboratories plan to other organisations for skill development and beyond for 2023. Furthermore, the L&D team is collaborating with internal operations and technology teams to integrate Mercer’s enterprise systems in order to streamline processes and deliver invaluable training solutions that meet the needs of every department.

Register for the upcoming Training Industry Conference & Expo (TICE) in person to hear Joe Schulz’s talk, «Cloud-based Virtual Learning Labs Rebuild Employee Trust in Training: A Mercer Use Case.»


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