Audio and visual training isn’t just for learning, but also generates interest in the technology and increases the likelihood that employees will accept it. When AV training is handled by a reputable integrator, the technology will be embraced and effective.
The Importance of AV Training
One of the biggest hurdles for any AV solution is getting employees to accept the new technology. The solution’s success, however, depends on getting everyone onboard, and this is something that reputable integrators are aware of. The only way to eliminate resistance to the technology is to involve employees from the outset and thoroughly train them.
When an AV system is put in place, there is a critical period that immediately follows. The integrator and the company only have a short window to get employees excited (or at least accepting) of any changes. If training is not delivered early on, chances are high that the technology will never be utilized to its full potential. What often happens in these instances is the technology is underutilized. Senior leadership is likely to consider such an outcome a disaster, which may dissuade them from taking similar risks in the future. A single mishandled AV solution can lock a company into obsolete methods and technologies, if only because its employees aren’t willing to transition to a new system.
Don’t Rely on IT to Handle the Training
Some AV integrators do not prioritize audio and visual training once the technology has been installed. These integrators usually leave the training to the company’s own IT personnel, and here are the reasons this is a big mistake:
1. IT departments are often understaffed and overburdened – When a company opts for an AV solution, its IT department has a lot of work to do to integrate the technology. For technical personnel, the most immediate concerns involve network security and ensuring there is enough bandwidth to accommodate everything. This can make it difficult for IT professionals to find the time to develop and deliver training materials.
2. IT personnel usually don’t have the proper perspective – IT professionals are adept at handling AV, but just because it is intuitive for IT doesn’t mean it will be easy for other employees to learn the technology. IT personnel, however, are usually technical people first and teachers last, so they may not be able to relate critical concepts in a way that makes sense to someone less technically inclined.
How AV Training Should Be Delivered
The company’s IT department is essential to configuring and maintaining AV technology, but they should not be the people in charge of training. An experienced, reputable integrator realizes this, and will assure their client that training will be part of the solution. In fact, companies shouldn’t accept any AV solution that fails to outline training methods and expectations. Don’t assume that the integrator will be around to help your employees pick up the technology. Inquire about it upfront and consider the risks if training is not part of the package. Effective audio and visual training is never an afterthought, but a process that starts before the solution is even implemented.
Fortunately, the most accomplished integrators understand the value of effective AV training and will provide the following to their clients:
1. Change management – Change management is the act of prepping employees for a transition, long before the transition begins. People reflexively resist change, and they are much more likely to do so if they aren’t given time to adjust. Change management, then, also falls to the employer, as leadership must consider their staff’s concerns with care. If several employees are expressing the same doubts, the best way to handle those doubts is with open, considerate communication. Many employees may feel the technology will be tough to learn, that they won’t have time to figure it out, or that the solution will add busywork to everything. Resolving these fears will go a long way to ensuring acceptance.
Change management is also proactive. Company leadership and their integrator can send out e-mails or other materials that demonstrate what the AV technology will be capable of and how it will improve workflow. The goal is to get people used to the idea, as this will naturally reduce resistance.
2. Setting expectations and goals – The integrator and company should work together to determine how to measure employee trust in the AV solution. For example, some companies want to see a reduction in support requests over time, or want to see as many employees using the technology as possible. Whatever the benchmark, it’s important to have one, or it will be challenging to gauge employee satisfaction with the AV technology.
3. Provide comprehensive training materials – It should never be up to the company to put together training materials for the AV solution. AV integrators know the technology better than anyone and can borrow from manufacturer training resources to create compelling lessons. Ideally, an AV integrator would have trainers on staff that have experience teaching adults and designing lesson materials. The trainer doesn’t need to be a technical whiz – they just need to understand the technology and put their skills as a teacher to work.
4. Customize training for different audiences – Everyone learns differently, so trainers need to be flexible in their approach. Older employees may need more time to adjust to the technology, while younger employees may be able to skip the first couple lessons. It’s up to the trainer to get an idea of who they will be teaching, and adjust accordingly.
AV integrators can train employees in one of a few ways, or combine them to enhance employee retention. Instructor-led training is the traditional approach, and brings together a small group of employees (fewer than 10) and the trainer. Lessons are short and may be offered over several days so employees can easily find time to learn. These lessons, again, should be tailored to the audience, as there is a big difference in training general users and power users.
Another training approach is roving, on-site support. During roving, on-site instruction, the trainer walks around the building and responds to any request for help with the AV technology. The trainer then provides one-on-one assistance until the employee understands what to do. Roving instruction ensures employees always have an answer to their concerns, which means they are much more likely to build confidence with the technology.
AV training is not just a formality. It is mandatory to get employees behind any changes. Without willing communication and proper instruction, companies are putting their considerable AV investments at risk of neglect.