Interview with an Online Training Expert
At one of the 439 holiday events we hosted at our home this year (yes, it was that year… I don’t even remember most of it) my globe-trotting brother-in-law and I discovered some common ground: online training with WebEx.
He’s a corporate training gray hair, the kind of guy who can map out a massive organization’s “talent journey” without breaking a sweat, and then deliver the soft skills needed to move folks along it so delightfully that they think they just watched a series of TED talks. What’s a “talent journey,” you ask? I asked too.
“Talent management is attracting the right people, interviewing, hiring, performance management, and promoting.
I help build systems and processes that simplify that journey. Sometimes an organization grows without anyone writing down duties, roles, and specific expectations. People get restless and say, “What’s in it for me? What’s next for me?” You lose good people that way.
We map out the skillsets and competencies expected at each level of an organization and develop curricula. Their people know what’s possible for them if they can see the whole landscape. That’s essential to retaining top talent.”
So where does WebEx come in?
First, it takes considerable collaboration amongst external experts and internal stakeholders scattered across the globe to map out a training ecosystem. Video conferencing makes that possible.
Next comes the training itself. Greg trains live using WebEx Training Center and is usually recorded for on-demand consumption later on.
How do his trainings look?
“It depends on the culture and course content. We did highly interactive trainings for an Asian bank. We used polling, hand-raising, and ongoing Q&A throughout the course. We found it was best to let people ask questions immediately, while the information was fresh in their minds.
Recently we did training for a large European retailer and it was more lecture-style. We were working on interpersonal skills. The moderator and I realized that the questions coming in weren’t for comprehension or clarity. People wanted to share vignettes from their daily work lives. They needed to talk about challenges in applying these skills. ‘I’m a sales person but I’m an introvert who doesn’t like to speak out at meetings.’ Things like that.
We found what worked best there was for me to give a very engaging presentation while the moderator fielded the questions that came in. She chose a handful that would benefit the most people, and then I addressed those scenarios at the end.”
Greg is admired within my husband’s huge family for being the only one of our generation to learn Lakota, their Sioux father’s native tongue. Greg picks up languages like most of us snatch up butter-clogged treats from a holiday buffet. He comes stateside for a couple of weeks a year, during which the kids drink up his anecdotes about countries from Vietnam to New Zealand.
“The virtual training space in Training Center amazes me. I’m working in a space with a team I’ve never met in person and conducting the training that they need to help them perform better in their jobs.
It’s totally learner-centric. Individuals can directly contribute to each other’s learning. You can have people get into small groups in break-out sessions and then come back to the larger group and report.
And I just find it fascinating that the training partner is in Sydney and the moderator I’m working with is in Houston Texas, and I’m in Singapore, sitting no where near any of them.
I might have a session at 10 a.m. for learners in AsiaPac, and a 10 p.m. training for North and South America and Europe. It’s exciting to me when I realize that people are joining a session from different continents. That energizes me.
So many people make it possible in these different locations and yet it’s all very smooth. It’s the new normal.”
So there it is, a shameless but authentic plug for WebEx, from my family to yours. Happy New Year! You can find training expert Greg Hoehner on LinkedIn.
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