Why Your External Training Program Needs Calendar Sync
Author: Jérémy Bourhis
3rd October 2017
It makes sense for businesses to invest in technologies that create a better training environment for employees looking to improve their skills.
But there’s only so much that can be achieved with in-house training, and while online courses are great, nothing beats the external knowledge or objectivity you get from courses delivered in person. External speakers and mentors can answer any questions that you may have and tailor their answers to your company, something which can make a huge difference.
That is why many organizations hire the services of external speakers and mentors to help them train their teams. External training provides the team with knowledge in various areas of expertise from HR to Marketing and Sales. It’s easy to get stuck in company culture and lose sight of outside trends, which is why it’s always good to bring in someone from the outside.
In-person training sessions are also more engaging than a webinar or online conference. And let’s face it employees are more likely to give someone their undivided attention if they stand a few feet away from them.
Arranging for external trainers to come into your office and make sure that all interested employees can attend isn’t always easy, though.
Consultants are busy people and so are your employees. Finding a time that works for everyone can be a real pain and hinder productivity. Let’s look at some of the ways you can implement a smooth process when booking external training.
Syncing employees’ calendars to your HR software
The main problem when it comes to blocking a couple of hours or a few days for a training session revolves around coordinating the schedules of the employees that need or want to attend the session. The more employees that are involved, the more complicated this can get.
It’s common for training courses to be pushed back or rescheduled. This is a hassle and means the employees will have to wait a few extra weeks before implementing their learnings.
By syncing your organization’s calendars with your HR software – or any tool you use for booking training courses – the person in charge of scheduling external speakers can access the real-time availability of all the interested employees.
This makes it easy to see which time slots can work for everyone. It is also possible to generate a booking link and send it to the external speaker so that they can pick the time that works best for them. Once they have chosen a time the event will be added to the calendars of every attendee.
The beauty of calendar sync is that everything updates in real-time. Notifications can be sent when changes occur in different calendars. There’s no risk of double-booking and if the session needs to be rescheduled it only takes a few seconds to generate a new booking link.
This saves your HR team a lot of time – no more email chains and back-and-forth conversations – whilst keeping the distraction to a minimal for both employees and speakers.
Enhanced communications with the speakers
Should the speaker be a regular at the company, their calendar can also be synced to your booking software to access their real-time availability. This can then be used to book training sessions even quicker.
But in most cases that simply doesn’t make sense and there is no incentive for the consultants or speakers to let you access their calendar information.
This is when Smart Invites comes in. This new feature allows you to transform classic ICS file into smart ICS files. Instead of sending an invite into the ether because speakers’ calendars aren’t connected to your software you are able to track what happens to it.
This means that you get notified if the invite is accepted or moved and can ring up the speaker to make sure everything is still fine on their end and that they can still make the time you agreed on.
To make things even easier for speakers who haven’t visited your offices before, extra information – such as the building’s address, or who to ask for on arrival – can be added to calendar invites.
Geolocation details for example can be useful to ensure that 20 employees don’t spend half an hour for someone stuck in a traffic jam because they didn’t set off on time. By leveraging the existing smartphone infrastructure – and GPS technology – it only takes a tap of the finger to get direction and the latest traffic information.
Booking resources and meeting rooms
The most effective training is the most interactive. It’s therefore important to give external speakers access to any equipment they may need whether that’s a laptop or a screen, a parking space, or a camera.
Calendars can be set up for resources too! This allow them to be booked and managed easily. The availability of a screen can be treated exactly like the availability of an employee and used as a parameter in deciding which time will work best for a session.
Finding the perfect meeting room can also be tricky, especially when you need it for an extended period. But it can be automated by creating calendars for each meeting room. However, before you press send on a calendar invite it’s worth thinking about the meeting room itself. The learning environment can greatly impact the success of training and how much information your employees will retain.
If the room is too warm or too cold they’ll be too distracted to think straight. Room temperatures should be consistent, and around 18-20 degrees – average room temperature.
Chairs should support people’s back and allow for their knees to be parallel to the floor. Tables or desk should be at a height that’s comfortable for people to place their wrist on. This can seem like nit-picking but it can make a real difference.
Get the best people at the best time
The knowledge and expertise of external speakers can make a huge difference to your team.
Coordinating their schedule with everyone else’s is a complicated process, but with calendar sync, the whole thing can be automated.
There’s no stress for the organizer, the attendees, or the speaker. The external speakers also get a great impression of your company because coordinating everything is straightforward, quick, and easy. This great experience means that they’re more likely to enjoy their time working with your company and help you to foster strong relationships that will help your team grow.
Date: 3rd October 2017 | Category: HR Tech