Zenarate AI Coach Blog

How AI Coaching Boosts Employee Training and Development

Employee Training and Development - AI Coaching

$1,280. That, according to the non-profit Association of Talent Development, is how much the average organization spent on training a new employee. That might not seem like a huge amount, but multiply it by however many employees you hire a year. Think about that number and remember that it is only an average, and many organizations spend considerably more.

That’s money that you want to be well-spent. There is nothing in talent development more frustrating than feeling like you are getting a negative ROI on your training budget. Sometimes that is the fault of the employee, but oftentimes there are systemic problems that frustrate trainers, managers, and new hires alike.

Many of these problems come from the complicated and even contradictory nature of training itself, which is that real problems are far more complicated than scripts. Being prepared takes time that most teams don’t have. And that starts employees off on the wrong foot.

There are ways to fix that. AI coaching can boost employee training and development by giving them the actual realistic reps they need to succeed. Improving performance can have a genuine positive long-term business impact.

The Costs of the Employee Learning Experience

 

So where does that $1,280 come from? There are a number of costs and hidden costs that employers have to take into account when thinking about talent management. These include:

  • Salary of new hire
  • Training materials
  • Space occupied by training
  • Salary per hour of trainers
  • Salary of manager
  • Salary of any employees called in to help

It’s important to remember that these aren’t “just” strictly monetary costs. If a senior employee is called in to help, that’s time spent that they aren’t doing their job. If a manager has to participate, that’s time spent not managing existing employees, streamlining processes, and just genuinely making the wheels go round.

The big fear of training a new employee, of course, is that it is all going to be for naught. If the trainee decides they don’t quite mesh with your company, you won’t recoup any of the costs. If they leave before they really catch on, you have wasted everyone’s time. If they frankly don’t perform up to your standards, then you aren’t going to have a positive ROI.

There are reasons why employee training and development doesn’t always work out. And there are ways to change that.

Why The Learning Experience is Crucial to Prevent Attrition

 

So why do employees leave before their training pays off? There are a number of reasons, some of which are more luck than others. They may have gotten another job, their family is moving, or maybe they just realized they weren’t cut out for the role. None of that is fun, but none of it is really preventable either.

But there are preventable reasons why an employee might leave. As an example, let’s look at an employee at a call center. Employees in many jobs have to work with clients, and none more so than people at a contact center, so this is a good stand-in for many other roles.

Why would a contact center employee leave?

Lack of Real-World Training
 

If you’ve never worked in a contact center, you know how scary it can be. You have been trained with good scripts, and even interaction with trainers or a manager. All of that is great, but customers never follow a script, and they usually aren’t able to fully explain their issues.

That’s scary. The first time an agent talks to a customer that they don’t know how to help can be a frustrating, upsetting incident. It can turn them against the job and hasten their way to the door.

Lack of Support
 

Every single manager wants to support their employees – that’s a key part of talent management. But realistically, they aren’t able to. They can’t listen to every call, and they can’t be part of every moment of training to identify strengths and weaknesses. And they can’t help out every time an employee needs assistance.

What’s more, if this is a business with lots of attrition, there might not even be a lot of experienced staff to ask questions around the water cooler.

That can make a new employee feel isolated and even more frustrated. Though it is no one’s fault, it could have a serious long-term impact on overall morale.

Lack of Confidence
 

A lack of confidence flows from the first two. An employee who doesn’t feel like they are ready to go on the floor will be nervous. Being nervous hurts their performance, which makes them even more nervous. Not being able to continually learn or learn in a way that fits their needs is terrible for morale. It’s is a challenging spiral that often leads to them quitting. And attrition hurts business and hurts the bottom line.
It’s so important to maintain employee continuity to promote a culture of learning, collaboration, teamwork, and continual improvement. And doing so starts with training.

Blended Learning for Real Employee Training Results

 

Above, we mentioned that employees might not have been trained in a way that works best for them. Studies have shown that most people respond to active learning vs. passive learning (even if, interestingly, they think they prefer passive learning). Active learning is a hands-on, employee-focused way of stepping away from scripts, videos, etc, and moving into real-world scenarios.

(Of course, all of these materials have their place, but are often helpful for more process-related onboarding than actual training.)

So, what does this blended learning entail? Let’s go back to our beleaguered contact center trainee.

With active learning, the trainee participates in multiple calls and chats that adhere more to real life, with its frustrations and confusions, than a script. This can often be done by working with a senior employee who can improvise and try to throw them off a bit.

But there are two major flaws with this approach.

  1. It is time-consuming and adds to overall training costs to have a senior employee sit in on multiple training sessions
  2. It never quite feels real

The second point is important. The trainee is sitting with someone they might already know and who isn’t a customer. There is an artifice to it.

The best way for someone to learn about real experiences is to have real experiences. But putting them on the floor, as we see, is bad for their confidence – and bad for the customer experience. Improving the customer experience is key to your business goals, so you need that to work.

What is the solution? AI coaching.

 

An AI coaching platform, like the one created by Zenarate, can change the equation. Using natural language processing, the system can create realistic customer interactions without the risk. The employee will be talking to or chatting with the platform, mimicking a customer, which is the exact experience they’d have in real life. As far as they are concerned, this is a real engagement – but without the fear of failure.

The platform can also provide real-time feedback on everything from time on call to usage of empathy. By delivering reports, they can let managers know where to focus their more personal training, saving them time and creating targeted efforts.

By the time the employee hits the floor, they are hitting the ground running. That is the kind of training that rewards investment. It’s the kind of training that pays off, both directly and for your long-term business goals.

Contact our team today to schedule a demo to learn more about how you can incorporate Zenarate AI Coach into your agent training program. We will answer your questions and show you how you can help your organization develop confidently prepared agents while delivering exceptional experiences to the ones that matter most – your customers.

Leslee4
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"As an innovative marketing specialist with 5+ years of driving brands to the next level, I am committed to bringing Immersive learning to the forefront of employee training programs across contact centers globally."

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