Due to technological and system integration issues

Relationships between employers and employees define a workplace and impact every employment experience. Trust is built via recruiting, onboarding, and continuous career development, and it can make or break a company’s culture and bottom line. Employers are now on board with cloud-based virtual learning laboratories as a catalyst for restoring employee faith in training.

It is important to have trust. It’s a timeless principle that has served as a pillar of success in organisations of all sizes and industries. Employer-employee connections define a workplace and have an influence on all aspects of a person’s employment experience, whether favourable or poor. Setting the tone early on 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 may be beneficial. Training, whether for a C-level executive, a middle management, or a front-line employee, has generally transitioned away from in-person instruction and towards a more contemporary, virtual (or hybrid) paradigm. 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 millennium’s turn. It now depends on a fruitful collaboration between learning and development (L&D), human resources (HR), information technology (IT), and operations.

Onboarding is a focus of software application training

Hiring and onboarding an 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 systems that minimise the cost of shipping gear, avoid costly installs, and eliminate the need for employees to labour through large instruction manuals can assist to cut staff ramp-up time and streamline the onboarding process.

Secure, scalable learning lab environments that can be deployed using an internet browser connection and provide complete training capability with the flip of a switch result in a superior employee experience. The standardisation and implementation of virtual learning laboratories result in real-world development experiences that may be customised to any business, from onboarding to role-based software application training to ongoing education. Employers and workers both gain from increased communication, cooperation, and adoption, which helps to build trust throughout an organisation.

How Mercer Uses Hands-on Learning Labs to Speed Up Onboarding and Performance

Hiring and onboarding processes that are effective reduce the cost of recruiting, enhance the chance of retention, and guarantee that the proper individuals are placed in jobs where they will be most productive. Mercer, a subsidiary 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 over 25,000 employees strive to improve investment results for millions of people in over 130 countries. Throughout their Mercer career, the staff will require training in a variety of software applications. COVID-19 changed the way Mercer executes L&D programmes, just as it did for many other firms. Unlike others, its nimble architecture allowed for a swift turnaround to produce 152,000 virtual (yet hands-on) training hours to boost engagement and performance above pre-pandemic levels.

Prior to switching to an online learning lab platform, Mercer relied on Zoom and Microsoft Teams as its primary communication platforms for running virtual courses. However, both had limitations when compared to the advantages of a physical classroom. They were failing to satisfy the demands of Mercer, its professors, and its students.

As an example

The amount of time spent on desktop setup increased, which irritated everyone on the L&D team.

Instead of being able to address their needs and continue with class so they didn’t lose time or attention, instructors had to halt a whole class to aid one learner who was lost.els.

Due to technological and system integration issues, training settings were difficult to access (if at all).

Hands-on training was not available, creating a barrier between instructors and learners and slowing uptake.

Finally, Zoom and Teams failed to create an efficient and effective method of 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 while also giving learners confidence in the training they received. With a new class of 2022 recruits preparing for onboarding, the L&D team recognised it was time for a change.

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

Mercer’s inventive L&D team redesigned training programmes with that new onboarding class, keeping the following aims in mind:

Reduce the time and money spent on 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 systems, and offload as much platform responsibility as feasible from IT.
Create a successful model that may be used by other Marsh McLennan Companies.

Mercer reduced the 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 virtual desktop and teaching platform were made available to learners and educators. Facilitators were also able to educate 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.

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

Mercer has already begun to push out its cloud-based virtual learning laboratories plan to other organisations for skill development and beyond in 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 provide invaluable training solutions that meet the needs of every department.

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


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