The dead zone—this was how Gary, my team lead and Kayako’s Support Manager, described the first few hours of my shift. It’s a 2-hour period when the Day team have yet to rise while the Night team have signed out for the day.
With just Slack and my onboarding materials to work with, I spent the first five months at the job walking on wobbly legs as I gradually built my product knowledge and adopted team processes.
I’m no stranger to working in solitude though. Having done so for nine years, my location and that of my previous clients have always been on opposite ends that it’s nearly impossible for me to strike up a live conversation. I still managed to deliver work under these circumstances, so I felt sure I could easily adopt to a larger and more diverse environment as that of Kayako’s.
Those five months, however, proved that I was putting myself up for struggle if I relied solely on myself.
Since onboarding involved understanding the inner workings of Kayako and how to best deliver customer support for a SaaS product, I needed my team to teach me the ropes. Unfortunately, there was no meeting room where I could sit down for training sessions, or 24/7 mentors who can walk me through the topics in my onboarding sheet. When I had to face the queue, I couldn’t always get an immediate answer if I had questions about a customer’s issue or a product feature.
What every onboarding program should have
I would have probably needed more time getting through the teething phase had it not been for Kayako’s training videos. These videos covered core and advance product features, internal procedures, and customer service best practices that one could watch and learn at their own pace.
If you’re currently building or restructuring your team’s onboarding program, you can create training videos alongside existing documentation to help new recruits learn and adopt the team’s processes efficiently. Before we dive deeper into the how of it though, it’s important to understand the value they bring both to the onboarding process and to the entire team.
Speed up onboarding by empowering new members
Round-the-clock resources give onboarding members opportunities to learn independently, which in turn helps them breeze through the onboarding process. This is especially useful for remote teams when time zone differences create dead zones within the work schedule.
Rather than waiting for the next staff member to sign in, new hires can spend that quiet time learning the product or memorizing company policies. Once everyone else starts coming in for work, the learning curve eventually becomes easier for the team to manage.
Training videos as a format may sound like a lot of work for onboarding, but they’re useful since they supplement any existing onboarding documentation you may already have. You can watch, listen, and repeat what is shared or taught, which comes in handy when learning the technical aspects about the work, which helps speed up the process.
In the context of remote work, training videos can also create a deeper connection between the new hire and the team. It recreates training sessions at the meeting room where you can listen to your team members as they walk you through the product, best practices, and company policies. It’s a small but significant opportunity to get to know the people behind the screen and build rapport with the people you’ll be working with.
What do you need to make great training videos?
The kind of training you provide will impact both the learning and onboarding progress for any new hire. Keep these 5 important key steps in mind when building an internal training video library:
#1: Plan your training content well
A good start would be a detailed list of topics your new hire will need to know to be able to handle customers and deliver great work. These can be product or system-related topics that internal members need to know about, or best practices to help them become contributors to the company’s success.
Kayako’s training video library cover product-related tutorials on both the basics (i.e. features and functionalities) while quickly touching on more advanced topics (i.e. APIs and Twig documentation), since these are necessary for the Support team to solve customer issues. It will take several videos to cover everything about APIs or PHP, so the videos offer a contextual introduction instead where you can see how they come into play within Kayako.
Whether you have existing self-service content, or you’re creating training videos from scratch, you need to begin with a clear vision of how you want your training videos to help new members, and how much coverage each training video should have.
#2: Have the whole team contribute
Bringing a new team member on board is a collective effort, so why not tap into your existing team of experts to help create training for them? It’s a great way to delegate the work and introduce new hires to seniors they’ll be working with soon.
With your content list in hand, share and discuss the training topics with your team to see if there are any that should be added or removed from the list. Once you’ve decided on the final list, delegate to different members of your team. You can then share screen recording tools and template slides to equip them with what they need to make their videos.
#3: Aim for quality
Training videos need not be expensive, but they need to maintain a standard of quality for any kind of learning to take place. If your training videos are blurry, inaudible, disorganized, and outdated they can potentially hamper a person’s onboarding experience.
The goal is to teach your new hires what they need to know to be great members of the organization, so ensure that each video passes that target standard of quality. You can use or tweak the sample criteria below:
- Clarity – audio should be loud and clear while the speaker discusses the topic in an organized manner
- Consistent – use the same style, design, and duration of each training video so nothing distracts the viewer from the training proper. For example, provide a template Powerpoint slide to use when creating training material.
- Conciseness – the video should cover and explain the important aspects of the topic clearly while keeping within the expected duration of the training. Proofread material for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and omit information that may not be helpful.
Policies, processes, and product features will change as the organization grows. Take time to perform a content audit to see which training video needs to be revised or updated. This saves onboarding members from unlearning and relearning new things and potentially slowing down their onboarding progress.
This was one of the things the Kayako training library fell a bit short of due to lack of bandwidth within the team, so I decided to create a new list of current procedures for my use so I have something to refer to when handling specific cases.
#5: Gather feedback from your onboarding members
Take the onboarding experience full circle by asking for feedback and suggestions. This is crucial to understanding the training’s impact and effectiveness.
Sit down or start a 1:1 video conference with your new employees to see how the training videos have helped or hindered them from learning the product or fitting in within the organization. You can then use their feedback to improve your training resources further.
Turn painful onboarding into a smooth and impactful experience
Resources like training videos can take out much of the friction involved when onboarding new people, especially for remote teams who can’t always interact with one another off-screen. Any new team member who feels empowered to take on the work is proof of success right there.