Self-generated videos drive Sprague’s employee training

By |  February 21, 2018

Leila Haas, center, leads a video production meeting with members of the Sprague Pest Solutions team.
Photo: Sprague Pest Solutions

According to a recent survey from the global data and research firm Forrester Research, employees are 75 percent more likely to watch a video than to read documents, emails or online articles.

This doesn’t mean training handbooks or digital means of communication will soon go the way of the fax machine and dial-up internet service. But it does represent a shift in tactics that training and human resource directors in the pest management industry best take stock of and consider adding to their training platforms.

The inspiration for Sprague Pest Solutions to incorporate videos into its training regimen came from my own experience as a new homeowner looking for how-to videos on basic home repairs.

After watching these videos, it dawned on me that we could do the same with our training programs — and add a new dimension for our employees.

At Sprague, we have a mobile workforce spread out over six states. We rely on both hands-on training as well as an online learning management system (LMS) to facilitate a good portion of our training for new hires and veteran employees alike.

Employees use their computers to complete various training modules, as well as attend classroom sessions. This combination has served us well, but we wanted to raise the bar.
 

Video benefits

Video is the other side of the coin when it comes to training. It appeals to not only a younger workforce adept at consuming video, but also to employees who are visual learners.

To further drive home the point about the value of video training, the Forrester Research I referenced earlier revealed that 21 percent of email recipients are more likely to act on the email if it includes a video. And who doesn’t use email today to help facilitate employee training?

The videos are generated by a variety of co-workers who have been trained on how to develop videos using their smartphones, and topics are based on organizational training needs. They include not only pest management skill development, but safety and company culture topics as well.

Sprague Technical Director Jeff Weier and Technical Trainer Ashley Roden help guide the topic list, but our trainers in the field also have the flexibility to capture unique situations as they happen.

The videos are reviewed and approved before they are posted to the TEAMS platform using Microsoft Stream. Our marketing and IT departments also created guidelines that cover branding and technical specifications.

The videos offer Sprague employees practical, hands-on knowledge they need to do their jobs right then and now, as well as refreshers on less frequently performed tasks. We are aiming to have each branch trainer produce at least one video monthly on a timely technical topic.

What makes the use of video attractive is that it provides technicians just-in-time training, whether they are in the training room at a monthly meeting or in the field. For example, they can be sitting in their service vehicle outside of a food plant or hotel and log in to watch a video covering best practices in ant bait placement before they start the service.

The videos have created a sense of excitement in our training efforts, expanded our internal audience, and allowed our employees to put a name with a face when it comes to getting to know our training staff — which, in the end, benefits everyone.


Video training best practices

  • Work with internal departments — technical services, IT and marketing — to establish guidelines for how to take quality videos, how to download and upload videos, creating a topic list and determining how best to incorporate video into your training programs.
  • Identify who is and isn’t permitted to shoot the videos, and who is responsible for approving the videos before they are posted or shared.
  • Empower your training staff to go off the topic list and capture unique training situations that are worthy of sharing.
  • Set goals as to how many videos you want produced each month.

Leila Haas is director of human resources for Sprague Pest Solutions in Tacoma, Wash. Contact her at lhaas@spraguepest.com.

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