How can video conferencing improve onboarding?

More companies are assembling remote workforces, getting the best of the best on their teams regardless of geographic location. But when it comes to onboarding, these new employees can really feel the distance. Having remote workers watch hours of canned training materials or call into confusing conference calls doesn't set them up for success – more likely, it will bore them to tears while making them feel like they have little connection to their co-workers. 

Instead, video conferencing can enhance the employee onboarding experience – here are four reasons why:

1. It saves costs 

Unless you're Elon Musk, flying workers in from around the world and setting them up at hotels is probably out of your budget. Instead, hold an onboarding video conference to easily train your remote workforce, all at once and at a fraction of the cost. Maybe one day you can hyperloop in new employees, but 'til then, video is the way to go. 

2. It eases angst

New employees have a lot on their plates when they first join a company, from registering their info with HR and learning new tech to choosing the least-awkward photos for their intranet profiles (no shame, we've all been there). Countless orientation sessions and training workshops add to an already-packed to-do list, but one way to reduce any feelings of new-employee panic is to record onboarding video conferences so that they can watch when it's convenient for them. 

3. It reveals a fun work culture 

By holding training sessions via video conference, companies have the opportunity to inject them with some pizzazz that gives remote employees an idea of what the organization's culture is like. Instead of having to click through a dull slideshow, new employees can be treated to a video conference that exudes personality – for example, take workers on a video tour of the office, stopping to say hi to the team members that remote workers will be collaborating with to give them some much-needed face time. 

4. It connects multiple offices 

Video conferencing isn't just great for onboarding remote workers – it can enhance the training experience for in-office employees too. If your company has several offices, video conferences can connect employees at these different locations all at once, providing valuable training information and giving workers a stronger sense of the breadth and dynamics of their company. 

CloudTalk: Meet Your Web Event Concierge

Time for a little Q&A with one of our ReadyTalkers! Meet Jeff Sheldon, Event Production Manager with four years under his belt in our lovely LoDo Denver office! For a little background, the events management team is responsible for any webcast or webinar customer that wants a little extra treatment before, during, or after their live presentation. The amount of involvement varies from customer to customer — from help with scheduling, to a dry run, to full event moderation.

 

Q: What types of businesses do you work with most often?

A: We spend a lot of time with marketing and sales teams. Often folks that are performing either a product launch or some type of sales webinar. Sometimes they prefer the “white gloves” if they aren’t in a position to conduct the event on their own. Planning and scheduling are big for us. Say the customer doesn’t have time to plan or schedule every detail of an upcoming event. That’s where we come in. We send out links, provision speakers, work with them up until the dry run, and stick around for post-event reporting.

 

Q: Not all days are perfect. Can you think of a time where you had major challenges walking a customer through an event?

A: It’s more about helping them establish a higher level of comfort. That applies to the software itself or just getting over the pre-event jitters so they’re ready to address the crowd. We try and put ourselves in their shoes and it’s surprising how much can change through the course of a call. Part of our job is to walk them through the components of our user interface, but it’s also about calming their nerves in case it’s their first time. Everyone is different, but they often sign up for managed events if webinars are brand new to them.  

 

Q: What’s a great day for you?

A: Being able to work with a new customer that doesn’t know a ton about the controls or using our services. It’s rewarding to watch them go from totally blind and unfamiliar to ready to rock and host a great event. Just today we had someone that was like, “OK I have an event next week and I’m not sure what I’m doing.” Then by the end of our session they were super comfortable. That’s a good feeling because we try and be the “warm blanket.” Haha. I do enjoy getting to know their style of learning, and having them get to know my style of teaching. If the takeaway is a good experience overall — regarding the customer support AND their webinar presentation — it’s a win for everyone. Word of mouth goes a long way.

Want assistance with your next event? Say ‘hi’ to Jeff and our crew with concierge services!

How unified communication enhances collaboration

Collaboration is the name of the game in the modern workplace. It's the driving element of innovation in business, helping organizations remain one step ahead of the curve, anticipating what their competitors are cooking up and what their customers will need next. 

As PwC's 20th CEO Survey found, 86 percent of CEOs believe collaboration is a very important skill. The survey underlined the connection between collaboration and amazing results, with PwC asserting that "the collaborative approach is remarkably effective at building consensus, increasing levels of motivation and participation, pulling teams together and coaching more junior members. It provides a fertile ground for experimentation, resulting in more innovative results."

So how can you get some of this good stuff at your company? By creating the optimal environment for collaboration with unified communications

Unified communications is the umbrella term for hosted voice or cloud communications technologies – in essence, they connect an organization's telecommunication devices and methods, including phone systems, instant messaging, video conferencing and more. This uniting power makes UC the secret ingredient of superior collaboration. 

Connects remote workers 

More people are working from home, and more often – a Gallup report found that 43 percent of American employees spent at least some time working remotely in 2016, up from 39 percent in 2012. That number is expected to rise even more. Unified communications enables employees working from all ends of the Earth to function as well – and in some cases even better than – an in-office workforce. Employees can brainstorm your company's next great idea through high-definition video conferences, or get a quick answer to a question through a chat message, thanks to being able to see if a co-worker is available. 

Shares materials more easily 

With unified communications, all the information and materials needed for collaboration is corralled into one place. A sales lead can pull up a presentation on the next quarter's strategy during a video conference with ease. A marketing team can share desktop files instantly. Forget the cumbersome forwarding of emails or slideshows that just don't open – instead, what your employees need to collaborate is easily available, wherever and whenever. 

Streamlines workflows 

They're common scenarios – recursive searches through endless company directories for the contact info of someone who can help your project, or aimless rounds of phone tag with a contact that seem to stretch on forever. Unified communications helps you avoid feeling like you're in some Kafkaesque bureaucratic nightmare. It helps you see which people are available and when so you're messages don't go unanswered, while also enabling you to more easily get in touch with people outside your department that have valuable insight to share. 

Unified communications connects your people and their knowledge, bringing the quality of collaboration to a whole new level. It's the key to increasing competitiveness and innovation at your company. 

3 surprising ways people are using video conferencing

Goodbye geographical boundaries. Video conferencing enables face-to-face communication regardless of location. Some creative individuals take this basic premise and run with it, coming up with revolutionary new uses for the technology. Their ideas would have been unbelievable and impossible even five years ago – and they inspire us in our belief that the sky's the limit when it comes to video conferencing. 

Below are three surprising ways people are using video conferencing. They're all awesome, hey-I-wish-I-thought-of-that ideas – but the best thing is that any group can get the tools they need to use video communication in cool new ways. 

1. Face time with celebrities 

Many people dream of being able to spend 15 minutes chatting with their favorite celebrities – but video conferencing is now making these dreams a reality, while also raising money for charity. A new slew of apps are enabling high-quality live-streaming sessions with celebrities, such as Chatter for Charity. The startup holds raffles for the chance to win a 5-minute video chat session with a star – Chatter for Charity's celebrity roster includes DJ Khaled, Leonardo DiCaprio and Diddy. The proceeds from the raffle then go toward a charity chosen by the star. It's an innovative way to make it possible for people to spend some one-on-one time with their idols while supporting a good cause. 

2. Holiday office parties for remote workers

More and more companies are building teams of remote workers. While telecommuting can enable greater productivity and quality of life for employees while allowing companies to hire the best talent, no matter where they're located, it also means that remote workers are typically unable to take part in office camaraderie. That's all changing, however, with video conferencing. Some companies, such as Xerox, are hosting "virtual holiday parties" for their remote workforces, as The Atlantic detailed in an article. Employees dressed in festive outfits and then signed into the video conference, sharing stories over drinks and snacks just as if they were in the office. Some companies have taken things even further, having employees sign into a video conference from a restaurant while enjoying a meal paid for by the company dime. 

3. Educational connections

Video conferencing is also being used to expand access to education and enrich learning for students all over the world. For example, students at the Kenai Peninsula Borough School in Alaska work on projects with students in Ghana and Palestine through video conferencing platforms, as THE Journal reported. The technology is also being used to enable students in remote communities or at schools with limited resources to take classes at larger institutions, as well as making possible "virtual field trips" at museums, zoos, government offices and other locations. 

Video conferencing forges connections. Embrace it at your company to unite workers and enhance engagement.