Increase Productivity, Lower Costs and Do More with Less despite Coronavirus
Mainstream American companies like Twitter, Apple and Google are quickly embracing and mandating “Work From Home” in the wake of Coronavirus. It means corporate employees are working from their home office and not at their company’s office building. They don’t have a cubicle, the ability to look over a peer’s shoulder or walk over to the IT department for help on how to do their jobs or use enterprise applications. They are working from their living room (or bedroom, patio, dining table) reading emails, attending virtual meetings, working on projects, responding to instant messaging.
The trend for working remotely has been rising in popularity since the internet. Remote work has increased to 91% over the last ten years, according to Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs. Some experts predict that the coronavirus will impact business operations for many years and “work from home” will continue to rise in popularity. Employees may be wondering how to do their jobs and managers may be concerned with how to remotely onboard, train and manage their teams.
The wide range of Collaboration tools has made it easier for companies to establish a virtual work environment. Collaboration tools allow your employees and teams to communicate and support productivity. Microsoft, Slack, Zoom and Google have reported a significant increase in usage of their collaboration tools fueled by the increase of remote workers.
“Work from Home” requires knowledge of software applications related to an employee’s job functions. Instructor-led classroom training is not effective for imparting “how to” application training and is not practical due to gathering restrictions related to Coronavirus. Remote employees may undergo online training for the new software, but find it difficult to retain knowledge with time and as software updates are released, leading to poor engagement. Further, managers and trainers must realize that not every generation of workers is comfortable with remote work, due to varying levels of digital dexterity. As remote workers have questions on “how to” do their job tasks using enterprise software, they turn to support desks. However, due to call center closures as a precautionary measure and support staff getting sick, enterprises support resources to help “work from home” employees with digital adoption can be limited.
Learning and development (L&D) teams can play a major role in helping employees make the transition to working from home. Learning research shows that 70% of employees prefer to learn while they are working. 94% percent of employees feel they don’t have the time to learn yet 30% of a typical workday is spent finding information that helps get their work done. L&D leaders must develop new and creative training approaches that address the learning preferences and needs of today’s workforce including remote workers.
Digital Adoption Platforms (“DAPs”) are a new category of enterprise software that provides in-app learning, training and support that is contextual, personalized, interactive and real-time at the moment of an employee’s need. With a DAP, remote employees can stay current with technology through digital adoption widgets and increase their efficiency in how they use enterprise software. Over 500 enterprises are using DAPs to educate remote employees and enable learning in the flow of work. Companies that dive into remote work without a proper game plan could find themselves at a severe disadvantage.
Strategies for onboarding, training and managing Remote employees
1) Achieve Faster Onboarding of Remote Hires and Transfers
The stream of new hires, transferred employees and those seeking major re-skilling necessitates regular onboarding and training to enable digital proficiency quickly. HR and Trainers can leverage Digital Adoption Platforms to ensure employees logging into various applications during their initial months, can be shown guided pop-ups that give virtual application product tours and prompt them to complete high value actions like completing their profile, changing their password, setting up benefits and payroll etc.
Digital Adoption Platforms also provide remote employees with mini task-lists for users to accomplish in-app tasks and track their progress. L&D can easily author interactive flows (walkthroughs) to empower users to become proficient quickly. They can progressively help employees grow their digital expertise by sharing a broader set of processes and features. Each user’s task completion rate can be automatically monitored and they can be reminded to complete pending tasks.
Experian, the global information services company experienced 2.5X – 3X faster time to proficiency for new employees with Whatfix’s DAP Platform. PlanetHS reported 60,000 employees using applications within 12 months.
2) Gain Higher Employee Productivity with In-App Learning in Flow of Work
Recent research shared in a keynote by Josh Bersin in the LinkedIn Talent Connect, on February 14, 2019, highlighted New Learning Technology Market Segments. Digital Adoption and Workflow Learning Tools were highlighted as offering all three desired benefit areas, viz. learning experience, program delivery and micro-learning.
DAPs like Whatfix provide in-app guidance such as interactive walkthroughs that guide users step-by-step across various fields, smart tips on what various fields mean, and data entry validation rules to help them enter the correct data. Employees no longer need to remember where to click different fields in each application and across different applications to do similar tasks.
DAPs like Whatfix can help L&D professionals put a spotlight on new application changes through using beacons that focus users on what is new and smart pop-ups that broadcast informational messages.
DAPs also provide a layer of self-help atop and across applications. Users can simply type their questions and get highly relevant answers that are contextual to what they asked, where they are in the application, their role, their application instance and their in-app click behavior.
Leading L&D organizations that have leveraged a DAP, have reported 25-37% Increase in productivity, 40% reduction in information discovery time and 50% reduction in query resolution time. Dimensions, a UK based company witnessed an increase in digital adoption from 10% to 50% within 3 months.
3) Simplify employee learning and digital experience across Web, Desktop and Mobile
Enterprises have 300+ applications that employees need to navigate, such as Applicant Tracking Systems, End User collaboration systems, Human Capital Management systems, Learning Management systems, CRM systems, ERP systems, Procurement and Supply Chain Management systems, Support tools and Content Management systems.
Each of these systems have a different user interface requiring employees to mentally make the switch and remember how to address the same need (e.g. create a record, access application documentation and search for help) differently in each of these systems. This causes employee frustration and degrades the employee experience.
Learning & Development organizations can use DAPs to provide employees with a consistent familiar learning and digital work experience within and across all these applications and the multiple devices they can be accessed through. This is especially meaningful in remote work scenarios as employees may be on their desktop working in their home office, then transition to working on their laptop as they move to the couch and then to their mobile phone as they sit on the dinner table as they navigate different physical environments and devices that the luxury of working from home provides. With Whatfix DAP, employees can start or stop a walkthrough or flow in any Web, Desktop and Mobile Application.
Enterprises such as Dimensions and PlanetHS using DAPs have reported perfect (i.e 5/5) user satisfaction scores. Others like Sophos have reported 9/10 user satisfaction scores. Across Whatfix customer base, L&D, Sales, HR and IT organizations have reported the highest i.e. 100th percentile satisfaction with a Customer Net Promoter Score of 65 for the Whatfix DAP platform which compares favorably to an average of 41 and high of 55 for the Software industry.
4) Enable Adoption Everywhere – help each remote employee wherever they are
“Fish where the fish are” is a timeless adage. Enterprise employees work in and out of dozens of applications each day. An employee can have a question any moment about how to perform an activity or task. At their moment of need, the employee may be inside an enterprise application, or maybe chatting with a support agent, may be pursuing an online LMS course, or reading a knowledge base article. To effectively help employees in their flow of work, L&D must use DAPs to provide e-learning content that is omni-present in the enterprise. DAPs enable this via deep integration with LMS systems, content repositories and an open ecosystem driven by APIs.
Further, different employees have different preferred learning formats. Some learn best by walking through a step-by-step flow, others by watching a video of someone else doing the task, while others like to read a PDF, click through a slide-share or ask a question and read an article. Leading DAPs automatically creates a version of In-App Flows into a SCORM and xAPI compliant LMS course, a Video, an Article, a PDF, a HOT URL, a SlideShow and shares it across the enterprise. Employees can click this content in any format everywhere and come back inside the application via “See Live”
Leading DAPs have powerful Content Aggregation capabilities that crawl and tag learning, training and support content in enterprise content repositories and brings it inside Whatfix Widgets (e.g.Self Help) to answer employee questions inside enterprise applications at their moment of need.
Whatfix clients have reported wide user adoption with 320,000 times in-app flows helping users, 9 Million tool-tips used for guided navigation and 820,000 Alerts of useful information shared via Pop-Ups.
5)Keep it Easy for L&D, IT and HR to Create and Maintain Content for Remote Work
Enabling learning and training for “Work From Home” initiatives should not be taxing or already resource constrained and stretched L&D, HR and Training teams. Leading DAP platforms should let them easily create and maintain content. Business users should be easily able to author in-app flows (walkthroughs) using the DAP’s Editor, without any coding or certification. Further, these flows should be self-adjusting as the application changes and not be brittle. DAPs should automatically contextualize Learning Content to the user’s role, in-app location, department- without any configuration, even for single page applications. This saves content authors effort and time in writing If/Then/Else rules.
DAPs should enable Content Exchange i.e. sending automatically generated Multi-Format content to LMS systems, Content Repositories, Support and Chat tools- in a contextual manner. This saves effort and time in manually converting Flows into each of the formats and manually adding the context via If/Then/Else configurations. DAPs should auto-create LMS courses that are SCORM and xAPI compliant. When employees make progress on the course tasks inside the DAP’s Task list, this progress can be tracked inside the LMS. This saves weeks on video course creation and tracking.
Your L&D teams have great instructors and near perfect content- but it’s not being viewed or engaged with, as it’s outside the app and not available to learners in-side the app at their point of need. By bringing in pre-existing content that L&D teams have worked so hard to create, inside the app, our clients have increased user views and engagement by 3X. DAPs should enable Content Aggregation i.e. automatically crawl Knowledge bases, tag the content in these and bring this content contextually inside the DAP’s Self-Help atop the application, in response to employee search queries.
Finally, DAPs should auto-update the multi-format content created as a version of Flows, saving content managers weeks of effort manually updating hundreds of documents in dozens of places in the enterprise.
Whatfix clients have reported 50-84% reduction in content creation time, annual reduction of 1070 man hours, and 10 mins of time taken to update content.
6) Don’t let “Work From Home” compromise Data Privacy and Security
Employees working from home often go back and forth between using their corporate laptops (or phones) and personal devices as they work in different parts of the home and try to change up the monotony that comes with working in the same setting and device. Many companies new to ‘remote work” are struggling to provision laptops to remote employees due to logistics disruptions related to Coronavirus.
HR and IT teams need to make sure that enterprise applications and DAPs are compatible with multiple browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge, Safari and Opera. Further, extensive remote testing needs to be done to ensure that neither these applications nor the DAP are gathering any personally identifiable information (“PII”) data. Application vendors should be ISO27001, SOC2 and GDPR compliant.
Whatfix DAP does not gather any PII and is really secure as it provides each enterprise client with a dedicated browser extension (vs. shared across customers).
7) Encourage transparency
Whether remote working is new to you and your employees or it’s the norm, reports indicate that fostering a culture of transparency helps employees feel connected. Encourage employees to be involved in many aspects of the business and share with them the company’s vision and objectives. Set clear expectations and specifics as it relates to virtual working.
8)Hold regular virtual meetings
It can be challenging to work remotely, especially if members of the team are in different time zones. Companies work effectively from different time zones. In fact, it’s very common with companies who operate remotely as their regular way of doing business.
Holding digitally-enabled meetings enable you to get to know your employees. Strive to set a tone that creates a friendly environment and encourages employees to interact with each other. Use email to communicate and keep information flowing. Have a meeting agenda and structure to make sure the meeting is productive.
Some companies call their weekly meetings “virtual coffee.” There are many benefits to virtual meetings. It doesn’t matter if the remote workers are traveling, at home, at a co-working space or in an office. The purpose is to connect with other employees, discuss the status of projects, and share company updates. Over time, employees feel and function like a team.
Experts recommend having a clearly defined structure to help manage your employees and teams. Managing people across the globe without knowing what everyone’s working on and having many projects on your hands can easily turn work into chaos. It’s important to create procedures and implement project management systems, set rules and share them with everyone on the team.
When managing specific projects, set clear deadlines and make sure everyone knows the next steps on the project. Use collaboration and sharing options that come with project management tools. This will help you efficiently keep your employees on track, review their performance, set clear objectives, and increase team productivity.
Working remotely usually requires the use of multiple applications that can improve employee and team efficiency. Digital Adoption Platforms have options, such as context-based, interactive and real-time walkthroughs, that can support employees who use different applications to perform their job.
10) Create a strong company culture that fosters continuous employee learning
Your company may have multiple locations and operate in different time zones. But, it’s very possible to have a positive and united company. This can happen by getting to know each other, working towards the same goals, respecting each other’s time and valuing everyone’s skills and talents. With the power of collaboration and digital tools, you can foster a vibrant company culture with dedicated employees.
No matter how much you train your employees, they will always have learning needs and questions that will arise in their flow of work, that you cannot anticipate. DAPs track all user search queries and track the ones to which users did not find a response in Self Help within applications. These are then routed to L&D and Training managers to build new content around.
Deloitte Consulting, the leading Learning and HCM Consulting firm, recently published a report titled “Learning in the Flow of Work Solutions Report 2019” In it, Deloitte featured Whatfix as a leading DAP provider of Learning in the Flow of Work solutions with Full Capability Scores across a majority of Learning Technology dimensions.
“The Whatfix Digital Adoption Platform is designed to provide personalized training for workers within web applications. The solution delivers learning content in various formats, and it includes real-time Guidance. It can also integrate with an organization’s learning management system (LMS) to create interactive training programs.”
The events relating to the coronavirus are unknown and unfolding. Companies who are prepared for a remote work reality can continue to conduct many aspects of their business and come ahead when the economic recovery starts. Whatfix customers have reported a 342% ROI on their DAP initiative. A recent survey conducted by Whatfix revealed enterprises achieving and expecting to achieve $8.7 Million in annual savings from a DAP on just one application area (i.e. CRM) alone.
Whatfix understands the importance and value of having the right digital tools and a digital adoption platform that can help make your “Work from Home” initiative successful by providing Remote Training.