The Importance of Purpose in Virtual Training Success
“The purpose of your company should be crystal clear as the company’s name and not just another page in your HR manual.” - William Vanderbloemen
The Virtual Training Team Principle #1 - Purpose, Purpose, Purpose
Today’s fast-paced world demands us all to be expertly efficient. The age of tech acceleration is forcing companies to relook at ways they are doing almost anything and everything, whether it be client interactions or internal training processes. With an expanding global workforce and easy connectedness via Skype, FaceTime, and Whatsapp crossing over into the business world, more companies are turning to virtual instructor-led training (VILT) to not only save costs but also deliver tailored, interactive and engaging content. However, the world of VILT is a challenging one, with participants time limited and with many calls on their focus success of VILT comes down to key words principles that any training organisation needs to have. A key principle at The Virtual Training Team is “Purpose, Purpose, Purpose.”
What does Purpose, Purpose, Purpose (PPP) mean?
For The Virtual Training Team, PPP is one of our core principles. It is weaved into what we do as an organisation and how we design our virtual workshops. PPP provides us with a laser beam focus on what we want to achieve, how we deliver solutions to a client, how we design training materials and coach trainers to move online.
We constantly evaluate everything we do; each activity, e-mail, task or even challenges raised need to align with the central purpose. If it doesn’t, then we simply don’t do it. After all, the world around us is transforming rapidly, so there is limited time, resources and energy to do the things that serve our end purpose.
Purpose at Every Single Stage
Having PPP penetrated through all layers of an organisation has multiple benefits. First, it allows companies to constantly strive towards delivering the best to their clients and employees. The purpose is a mission, and according to a recent study from Korn Ferry, having purpose, that is beyond just company slogans and taglines, rallies entire organisations together to collaborate in teams and deliver the best, consistently. This generates bottom-line results. Having purpose allows companies to connect with the reason behind what they do and not get easily swayed by the latest trends and trivia.
At The Virtual Training Team, we are constantly asking, “Why is this email being sent” “Why is this meeting being set up?” “What are we trying to achieve from them?” etc. While designing a workshop, where user attention is of utmost importance, we ask ourselves - should an activity that feels like fun but doesn’t align with the purpose of the workshop be included? The answer is that if it doesn’t tie to the purpose, edit it out. Purpose enables us to remain productive and focused on our learners and creating learning transfer.
Purpose in VILT
In the VILT environment it is common for trainers to add energisers or ice-breakers just because they like them and they are fun. But it is important to note that training, whether face-to-face (F2F) or virtual, should be energising in itself. A well known ice-breaker used in countless training sessions is asking participants to describe themselves as an animal. Many learners opt for being like a lion because it shows courage or a dog as it demonstrates loyalty. Rarely does anyone pick a snake or a racoon! However, the question to ask here is: “What are we achieving with this ice-breaker?” Will knowing what you as an animal represents help the purpose of the virtual workshop? No!
In virtual workshops we are competing for the time and attention of our participants. Running activities or exercises without purpose may result in learners asking themselves - “Okay, this activity is fun, but is it really relevant?” or “Is this benefitting me?” If it is not creating learning transfer then it may encourage them to disengage and start checking email, Facebook etc.
Crystal Clear Purpose, It’s Now Or Never
Having a defined purpose is more important than ever. A study by EY Beacon’s Institute found that companies that have clear purpose saw 10% more growth than companies that did not. It is quite straightforward, rather than doing something for the sake of “doing it,” invest your time and energy in practices, events or interactions that have a clear goal or end in mind. Regularly ask “Why do we do the things we do?” and that’s purpose, purpose, purpose!
The success of virtual training (VILT) is dependant on participants checking in and staying engaged in the learning process. Simply don’t waste time and energy on processes and activities that are not helpful. Time and resources are precious, and having a crystal clear purpose to focus the design and delivery of your virtual training sessions will make them more engaging and create better outcomes. Let’s learn from companies that really focus on purpose and take their approach and apply it to our learning environments to maximise outcomes.
What is the number one principle that your organisation follows?