Why ‘Work from Anywhere’ is Cool and What it Means for Your Business

We get a lot of comments and questions about our Work from Anywhere feature, which allows employees to unplug their desk phone and then reconnect to any high-speed Internet outlet outside of the office – at home, at a branch office, in a hotel room on the road.

In fact, we were recently contacted by a business reporter who had just read an article about employees taking their desk phones home the day of an approaching winter storm. He was fascinated by this and wondered what we charged for this feature. After a brief conversation, he realized that this work-from-anywhere capability represents a basic technological difference between our cloud-hosted VoIP phone solution and that of traditional copper-wire providers. (And he quickly understood why it’s a built-in feature, requiring no add-on charge.)

The concept of “working from anywhere” – and retaining the same business phone functionality you have back at the office – isn’t always familiar to those who still use a wireline phone service. But for companies using a cloud-hosted VoIP service, such as the Vonage solution, it’s a significant business advantage.

Technology that Boosts Productivity

Since our VoIP phone service is delivered over the Internet, and IP phone connections are registered by an Internet Provider (vs. a physical phone jack in the wall), the IP phone will register correctly regardless of which Internet connection it’s plugged into. And since our service is hosted in the cloud, instead of on-site at each customer location, employees have the flexibility to take their phone home, forward calls to their cell phone, or even set up their extension to simultaneously ring multiple phones.

Take Your Desk Phone with You?

Many employees simply find it convenient to take their desk phone home, particularly if they’ll be teleworking for an extended period (for example, if inclement weather is forecast that could shut down the office for a day or more). Some employees may spend weeks at their company’s branch offices and prefer having their own desk phone with them. Carrying your desk phone with you may not appeal to everyone, but it’s a fantastic option, courtesy of modern VoIP technology. Also remember: With a quality business VoIP solution, employees always have the option of using mobile apps when they’re away from the office.

Mobile Apps Deliver Full Office Functionality

It’s hard to think of “working from anywhere” without quality mobile apps that enable workers to use their mobile phones the same way they use their office phones. And that’s what customers get with Vonage Business Mobile apps for iOS® and Android® – mobile access to our full suite of business phone features, including specific mobility features. And whether it’s a salesperson on the go or a teleworker in her home office, no one they speak to will know they’re working remotely.

The Cool Thing About Work from Anywhere

Many of our business customers consider the Work from Anywhere feature one of the most interesting aspects of our business phone solution. It offers so much flexibility and potential to keep employees connected with customers and productive when they’re not in the office. Even when conditions don’t allow employees to make it to the office, there’s still no reason to expect a drop off in productivity or a related hit to revenue. That assures business continuity for both your company and the customers it serves, and that’s very cool.

 

If you find this content helpful, please feel free to get in touch with Vonage at Partner@vonage.com. Dig deeper into how Vonage can help you transform your call center to enable your agents/volunteers to work from anywhere.



Aaron Charlesworth – Contributor

Aaron oversees all marketing and product management activities for the company and is an accomplished executive with deep technology marketing experience. He has a proven track record in lead generation, planning and product management, qualitative and quantitative research, search engine optimization, and creative collateral development.

Royal Institute of British Architects CPD success

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) mandate that each member must carry out 35 hours of CPD in ten specific areas of architecture every year or they will lose their membership. If you are not a member of RIBA, then it can be difficult to practice as an architect.

The challenge for RIBA was there was no easy online way of enabling members to submit and prove the CPD they had carried out and members were frustrated with this experience, especially if they were in the 5% of 28,000 members that were audited each year.

What the video below to see how they turned a massive challenge into a huge success!

The same magic formula that all the best online platforms deploy

The dramatic effects of Covid-19 have made most of us reflect on all aspects of our lives. For some it has been a terrible time and for others they have found the experience of slowing down and spending time doing things they may not have done before quite invigorating and rewarding. For the majority, the most rapid change has been having to fully embrace the digital world.

During lock down, this became really clear to me as I prepared to speak virtually to 600 people at an e-learning conference hosted by The Institute of Leadership and Management about the barriers of online learning. It made me reflect on just how far the online learning industry has come in the 20 years I’ve been working in the thick of it as global QA lead at PWC for their next generation learning platform, or consulting to global brands such as Kaplan, BT, Barclays or membership bodies such as RIBA, TILM, CIH, but also to realise how many barriers still exist. Let’s explore this for a moment.

A number of contributing factors have reduced the barriers and challenges in the way of successful online learning for corporate and membership organisations. Technology advancements being the most obvious, particularly the movement to cloud computing. We are certainly a long way from when I started out my career and had to travel across London to put a CD in to a PC to complete a very drab compliance course. How things have changed since then!

However, with technical innovation and evolution, has come greater expectations of online learning.

In our personal lives we have a plethora of apps and tools such YouTube or LinkedIn Learning which we can use to access content to teach us anything, at the precise time we need it, and we can access it from any device (even if we still struggle to find the time to consciously use these tools).

These expectations have exposed weaknesses in learning platforms that are not easy to use or house content that is not relevant and stimulating – causing then the modern learner to quickly disengage. Typically this is because LMS platforms used by corporate and membership organisations have been designed and built with L&D departments in mind, and not to the needs of the learners. Hence why we have seen the explosion in the last 2-3 years of ‘Learning Experience Platforms’, which are much more learner centric and focus on driving engagement – the biggest barrier of all to online learning.

So, to come back to my reflections. From what I have personally seen and been involved in, the most successful online learning strategies that truly engage and have an impact in both the corporate and membership world, all have the same magic formula.

At the heart of them are diagnostics that drive personalized learning pathways.

These pathways are made up of bite sized learning experiences, some form of workplace application and are supported by coaching and driven by senior management.

To expand on this a little. In the corporate world for example an organisation will make the strategic decision to invest in L&D to achieve a commercial objective. To achieve this objective the business will need to develop people’s capabilities by ‘role’, or maybe in certain ‘subjects. Just look at how PwC for example are investing over 3 billion dollars in reskilling their entire workforce in cyber security, AI, bid data, drone technology, robotics knowing that 96% of an accountants job will be automated by the end of the decade.

So for a learner to truly engage with any form of learning there needs to be a trigger event, an event that motivates them to want to invest time and energy in learning. After all we all have very hectic lives and are spoilt with sources of information. Creating this trigger event for a membership body can be even harder to create than for a corporate, unless professional development is mandatory.

I have seen this ‘trigger event’ achieved where a diagnostic is used to identify a leaner’s competency and skill gaps before they engage in any learning. Understanding one’s strengths and weaknesses gives us a focus and ‘engages’ us in investing time in our own development.

By identifying the exact development gaps, a platform can prioritise online learning experiences to the specific needs of the learner saving them time and helping them see exactly what they are capable of. These online-learning experiences should be bite-sized, short and come in many forms such as: high quality videos, PDFs, e-learns, and podcasts. Variety is essential. When online learning content is personalised and relevant to the learner, this is then when we notice high levels of engagement.

However this on its own is not enough. The application of any online learning is critical to truly embedding it. So any online learning strategy should include workplace activities or events that can be digitally tracked. Some sort of task that is completed in the workplace, which can then be measured to demonstrate that the online learning has been effective in achieving the organisational goal.

One thing I do know for certain is that when on-line learning is personalised, bite-sized, accessible from any device, actively applied back in to the workplace, and if a learner can be supported by a coach giving them an opportunity to reflect, then you have an online learning strategy that will achieve any commercial and organisational goal. This is no longer a nice to have for professional organisations, it’s a must have to stay ahead in the new world we all find ourselves in.

MAST – 10 Years and Still Going Strong

Here at Mast we are celebrating our 10th year of supporting non-profit, fundraising and membership organisations.

We launched Mast in 2010 to provide a range of consultancy services to help NFP organisations get the most from their investment in technology. We are so proud to be celebrating 10 years helping NFP, fundraising and membership organisations with industry-leading support and practical solutions that make a positive impact to their organisational processes.

Bringing MAST ICT into the project totally changed our approach. They helped us define a new logical data model, which helped resolve the issues with our business processes – RoSPA

Celebrating the big 1-0 with chase.livestream

Whilst for obvious reasons, things have been very “different” over the past few months, we still wanted to celebrate this important milestone. Although our original plans have had to change rather drastically, we are still looking to celebrate at Chase.LiveStream this year. If you are attending this year’s online event, please do come visit our hub and see what we have in store to mark our special occasion.

Launching our updated website and branding to welcome the new decade

We are excited to announce that we are updating our branding and website to mark our 10 year anniversary. We’re rebranding with an updated colour scheme, website and literature. Lots of things have changed in 10 years, so we now feel that 2020 is the right time to rebrand from “MAST ICT” to “Mast”.

Our culture, team and spirit remain the same, but we’re excited to launch Mast into the new decade with a new look.

Mast are now Salesforce.com partners

In order to better support our current and future clients, we are delighted to announce that we have recently been awarded the status of Salesforce.com partners. We see the huge benefits that this solution has for our clients and we are now able to offer Salesforce consultancy services within the NFP Sector.

We look forward to providing Salesforce support for our clients to the same high standard as our other services.

We will be growing our team of Salesforce consultants over the coming months and plan to become Salesforce.org partners next year.

Looking ahead to the next 10 years

The NFP sector has evolved considerably since 2010 and the way in which organisations utilise technology has helped many dramatically improve their efficiency and capabilities.

At Mast, we constantly remain abreast of current trends and new solutions that could potentially bring benefits to our clients and as an organisation we look to react and adjust to those trends ourselves.

With new technology, system updates and organisational changes come challenges and pit-falls requiring the support of organisations like Mast. We’re here to advise our clients, supporting them through problems and guiding them to solutions.

As an important example, anyone who has recently looked at the CRM marketplace will not have been able to miss the transformation that as well as “Packages” being available, which provide a great solution for many NFP based organisations, there are now “Platforms”, such as Salesforce and Dynamics.

Whilst in our opinion Platforms are not for every organisation of every size, we feel that their potential is very exciting and is providing flexible, modern, accessible solutions that are designed with cloud-computing in mind.

In addition, with “digital transformation” now quite rightly being a critical component in the strategies of many organisations, cloud-based systems are ideally placed to offer the level of integration with other systems and services, which is required to fully “digitise” an organisation.

A little more about us

Back in 2010, as now, we wanted to create an organisation that was fully focussed on delivering high quality, honest and knowledgeable CRM based services to the not for profit sector.

Our approach has seen us grow steadily and we are very proud of our highly skilled, experienced consultants who are fully aligned with the Mast ethos. We work with a large number of clients, some since our inception and spanning many different CRM systems and solutions such as:

  • Care NG
  • Integra NG
  • Open Engage
  • iMIS
  • Sodalitas
  • Donorfy

As, at our heart, we are a CRM consultancy, we provide core CRM-based services such as:

  • Implementation
  • Reviews
  • Upgrades
  • Training

We work openly and transparently to help organisations discover the full potential of their CRM, fundraising or database system. We are dedicated to seeking out the best possible CRM solutions and building long-term relationships with our clients.

Although we are technical consultants with years of industry expertise and experience at your disposal, we speak plain English too and by avoiding any unnecessary technical jargon, we ensure that we communicate our solutions and benefits into business terms that mean something to you.

Our skills are not simply CRM system-focused based however. We are highly experienced in providing advice and assistance within the entire CRM ecosystem and also focus on key elements that will enhance and make a CRM system truly work for our clients, for example by providing services in the following areas:

  • System Integration
  • Process Automation
  • Reporting & Data Analysis
  • Data Migration
  • Data Synchronization

What our clients say about us

We are always delighted when we hear from our clients about how much we have helped:

“MAST’s expertise was invaluable in our migration to Donorfy. They acted like true partners, and on top of detailed technical knowledge of the system, their input on our general procedures and processes has helped us to improve the way we work. Among other steps forward, we now have very useful integrations with JustGiving, Mailchimp and other important technologies, we can automate our email fundraising campaigns and we’re much better equipped to handle GDPR.

Now that we’re on a Cloud platform, access is so much faster and easier, without system crashes. MAST consultant Sophie Pires became like a member of the team, and delivered excellent training in spite of the fact we went into Covid-19 lockdown the week before launch. MAST gave us some tough love at times to help resolve issues and went above and beyond to help deliver a successful migration.” – Addenbrookes Charitable Trust

“Everyone trusts the work that MAST ICT does, so if they say we have to do something a certain way, then people are happy to work with that. It shows that they have the kind of backing and trust across the team to make change happen.” – RCPCH

“MAST ICT have supported the upgrade and modernisation of our systems. Their work with us and the ongoing support they provide is invaluable to us. They have helped us navigate a complex project through their in-depth technical knowledge of the systems and understanding of our organisation.” – Mother’s Union

“Without a doubt, MAST ICT have accelerated the process of launching this system by at least 6 months. The alternative would have been to employ someone permanently to be an expert in this area, this would have driven up our costs.” – Care for the Family

And finally but most importantly, thank you to you!

We would like to thank all of our clients who we have worked with over the past 10 years for giving us the opportunity to make a difference to the way in which they operate and provide the services they do. Feedback from our clients is very important to us and we are very proud to have received 100% positive feedback from them in a recent survey. However we are never complacent and always strive to do the best possible job we can.

We are looking forward to continuing our relationships with our current clients and to meeting many new organisations, finding out about the work they do and helping them to get the best use from their CRM systems.

Whilst in many cases it is business as usual for us going forward, with our new brand and our exciting additional Salesforce support offering, we are looking forward to the future and continuing to support the NFP Sector.

Hopefully we will see you at Chase.LiveStream!

 

Learning your way into a new future: A guide on why and how to create a digital learning platform that increases member value

WEBINAR EVENT:

Join our upcoming webinar with Meta Capability to discover how you can create a compelling CPD learning experience for your members.

Click here to book your place

 

Covid 19 has triggered a wave of fast and significant change in all aspects of our lives. It has also created a search for new knowledge as we learn new ways to do things and unlearn old ways too.

At an organisational level, digital transformation has gone from a good idea to mandatory overnight and whilst this presents many opportunities, it has also taken some adjustment. Short term this has been about managing the transition to remote and virtual working, but longer term the focus will need to shift to what it will take to professionally adapt and thrive in a new working era.

Learning and Continual Professional Development is at the very forefront of this new era. However, finding the quality of content and support in a sea of options is harder than it needs to be, and very time consuming. Indeed, times may have changed but that doesn’t mean time is more available. The opposite in fact with research showing that people have just 24 minutes outside of their normal working week to learn something new.

So, making learning and professional development more convenient and more tailored to personal career plans and shifts, will be critical.

Memberships organisations have an important role to play here. Across industries people want to advance their career and build their capabilities and join a membership organisation in the hope that the experts will be the best route to do so. They set the standards, certify the achievements and are masters of the knowledge members are searching for.

They have all the assets needed to learn: the diagnostics such as professional standards, competency frameworks, assessments and qualifications. And the content in the form of CPD, PDFs, webinars, events and training courses.

However, what many of these organisations lack is a digital platform that can co-ordinate and package all of their assets into an engaging and personalised learning experience for their members – one that becomes addictive and vital, adding tremendous value to their membership. One capable of retainingcurrent members and attractinga whole new generation.

A guide to the essentials elements that make an engaging digital learning platform

So, to help Membership organisations we wanted to share what we know is essential and works when it comes to creating digital learning platforms and enabling them to see what they are capable of.

The most important starting point is to design the platform around the user journeys that the members will experience. These should be bespoke and relevant to each Membership organisation as they are all different. As opposed toshoehorning off the shelf technologyto try and meet your needs,which tends to result in a disappointing and unengaging user experience. The design should also include these elements:

1. A common taxonomy to which all content, courses, events and frameworks are mapped.

2. Diagnostics that create pull into your learning platform and enable members to see their strengths and learning opportunities.

3. Personalised journeys that map to these opportunities and enable access to quality content on any device.

4. Bite-sized content that’s easily digestible, on demand to any device and holds people’s attention for longer.

5. Capture and monitoring tools so members can easily demonstrate their CPD, knowledge and skills against set frameworks, standards or personal goals.

6. Seamless integration with existing platforms including CRM, website, LMS, CMS.

7. Back end reporting to provide the data to monitor and make informed decisions with.

Membership organisations who invest in the right digital learning and CPD will stay at the forefront of their industries as things change, and importantly, so will the talent these industries rely on. That’s what we call a win-win.

At Meta Capability, we partner with membership organisations using their industry expertise to create bespoke learning platforms that add value to the membership and draw their members closer. If you want to help everyone in your industry see what they are capable of and get ahead in this new working era, get in touch today www.metacapability.com 

The Power of influence getting your message right in uncertain times

We can’t be seen to be selling or promoting ourselves I hear you say, but how do we keep engaged with our audience. Spending among many brands has been curtailed or in some cases halted entirely. Events have been postponed and increasingly cancelled for 2020. Many brands are using this time to build audiences and recognition, some are going the extra mile particularly in relation to the NHS. For example Leon restaurants faced with huge revenue loss in sales pivoted to provide meals for NHS workers but also linked the campaign with a celebrity in the form of Matt Lucas. The media has taken to task companies that are seen to be unsupportive to its staff like Sports Direct.

With membership bodies, many members will be facing difficult times and its important to be understanding of their predicament. The British Promotional Merchandise Association have been conducting weekly update webinars for members and prospects with over 200 joining and, given they have 550 members, this is a sizeable audience. They also took the move to delay the annual renewal from June to the 1st September. The communication was supportive and personable, and despite the industry suffering hugely, the level of influence the association will have had would have been considerable.

The plight of the self employed over the Coronavirus has been taken up through extensive lobbying by IPSE (The Association of Independent Professional Self Employed) as many business were facing financial hardship or ruin unless government intervened. The organisation currently has 74,000 members. They have been advising the Chancellor on steps to take to support the millions of self employed and been updating their policy as things developed. They have been running weekly webinars at a set time with as many as 500 in attendance, and set up a specific email address for Coronavirus. The association has noticed a spike in social media presence with over 1000 mentions in the last month generating an online reach of over 1bn says head of PR Tristan Grove.

Social media can be an asset to build brand awareness.

Given the scale of the governments challenge to get us all to STAY AT HOME, SUPPORT THE NHS, SAVE LIVES , this message has been repeated consistently and proves the value of simple messaging consistently delivered.

This was put on the Microsoft twitter page. A joint industry statement on COVID-19 from Microsoft, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Reddit, Twitter and YouTube. This suggests collaborative thinking to combat a global issue:

Ryanair made a statement of waiving their fees to change flights. The airline industry is suffering hugely from this and it will take some time to re-stablish regular flights, this statement suggests an understanding of passenger’s predicament for those that have got bookings planned:

 

Nickelodeon launched a site to keep kids busy at home during the coronavirus outbreak. This created online mentions of over 4020 , an increase of 1902%

So some of my final steps you should adopt are:

  1. Be absolutely transparent, even if the news is bad, people can plan for this, what they can’t manage is silence or vagueness
  2. Keep your over-arching message simple, the less words the better, use as a strapline everywhere
  3. Be authentic, get the CEOs talking directly on social
  4. Engage with your employees before members and customers – they are the mouthpiece and consistently of message is very important
  5. Convey supportive language in communications without it seemingly disingenuous
  6. Keep a set time to each week to update members and customers
  7. Use the art of story telling to bring out how members are coping in the current crisis
  8. Create forums around the cause , rather than it just been an open forum for all comms
  9. Share member news stories that are out of the ordinary eg going the extra mile

Gordon Glenister runs his own consultancy on membership and is also the global head of influencer marketing at the Branded Content Marketing Association. He also runs a podcast on influence.

For more information – www.gordonglenister.com

The best video conferencing tool for your charity: Zoom

When you can’t be there in person, it’s important to make it easy to speak to colleagues and contacts alike. Beacon recommends Zoom.

Whether your team members regularly work from home, or you prefer the rapport you can build with face-to-face interactions, bridging the gap digitally with video conferencing lets you bring everyone together.

As a non-profit or charity, you also have access to big discounts or even free access.

The world’s most popular video conferencing tool.

There’s a reason it’s used by the most people: Zoom is the best tool for the job. It’s a dedicated video conferencing product so as a company they have a single product focus, unlike something like Google’s Hangouts Meet, and it shows with how comprehensive their offering is.

Easy video calls

Beacon uses Zoom because it’s easy to use. One of the biggest features it offers is that meeting participants don’t need a Zoom account. Invited members will be prompted to download the app, and they’re good to go! You can even dial in to the call from a mobile if you don’t have a microphone on your computer. There’s big buttons for all the main actions so there’s no need to read a manual or guide – you can simply focus on getting things done.

The essentials done right

So you’ve set up a meeting. What does that look like? You’ve got options for audio and video, both of which can be muted or turned off by each user, and you can let Zoom show the current speaker automatically, you can pin a specific video to stay at the forefront, or you can view everyone at the same time in a Brady Bunch-esque gallery view.

The other tool you’ll frequently be using is of course: Share screen. Show your desktop, or just a specific window you have open, to the other meeting participants. We use this to conduct demos and training, and to run through detailed documents with our customers. We like to take a hands-on approach to helping our customers, and Zoom lets us do that from afar!

Integrate with the tools you already use

Create a zoom meeting directly from Slack, Chrome or Firefox. Convert a calendar invite into a zoom meeting in iCal, Google Calendar or Outlook. Share files from your Dropbox, Google Drive and One Drive. Even join a meeting from Skype!

Good tools are able to be a part of your usual work processes, and we think Zoom does that in spades.

Extra features you didn’t even know you needed

So it ticks the main boxes, but what else is under the hood?

  • You can never have enough friends: Add up to 1000 participants, with 49 on your screen at any one time.
  • Share files and links easily with meeting members, no need to fire up the email program in the background.
  • Busy office behind you? Working from home and the kids are running around the house? Virtual backgrounds let you live out your news reporter dreams, hiding the distractions behind you.
  • Sometimes you just need to draw a diagram, or get your flowchart fix. Bring out the whiteboard and doodle away, especially if you’ve dialled in from an iPad or tablet.
  • As you’d expect, Zoom is secure. All meetings are encrypted to keep information confidential.
  • Know that there’s a lot of information you’ll want to reference later? You can record the meeting for posterity, and even get an automatic transcript of what’s been said!
  • Quickly find everyone’s opinion on options by conducting an in-meeting poll, or a virtual hand raise.

Use it for free, or get a great discount on extended features

Zoom is one of the few video conferencing systems with a free plan, although it does have its limitations. In particular, whilst you have unlimited 1-on-1 calls you can only run group meetings up to 40 minutes in length. We recommend using the free account to try it out, and see if it works for your organisation without any financial risk. Then, if you like what it offers, non-profits and charities have access to 50% off their Pro plans.

Zoom don’t offer the discount directly – you’ll need to sign up via a partner. The way this works is: you pay an admin fee to the partner (£52/$65) and then pay for your required number of hosts at the discounted rate (£5/$6.25 per user, per month).

Happy meetings!

 

This article first appeared on the Beacon website https://www.beaconcrm.org/blog/the-best-video-conferencing-tool-for-your-charity-zoom

How can charities and NFP’s benefit from a brand management solution?

An organisations brand is an essential component to drive a consistent message, build trust and ultimately engage build loyalty with employees, supporters, fundraisers, donors and the general public.

It’s important to remember that a brand management solution isn’t just about a piece of technology. The online platform is just one component part that makes up the entire brand management solution. Implementing the right strategy has countless benefits. We’ve highlighted what we consider to be the most important.

1. Access

Making your brand accessible via a cloud based platform has never been easier and more essential. Most Software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms can be integrated with your existing IT ecosystem via Single sign-on (SSO) reducing friction for employees. The platform never sleeps providing 24/7 access to the brand from anywhere even if employees are working remotely. Tailoring access based on roles and privileges adds control at a central level.

2. Consistency

Brand consistency is a fundamental principle and something increasingly difficult to manage with the ever increasing number of channels available. It can also become difficult where an organisation is spread geographically nationwide or even globally. By implementing and end-to-end brand management solution you can drive brand compliance across every touch point. This could be educating your users on tone of voice via the interactive brand guidelines, using templates for digital file formats such as social media graphics or even defining paper weights and print finishing for the more traditional brand assets such as leaflets, posters and other printed collateral.

3. Empowerment

Time, effort and money is put in to developing a successful brand and ensuring that your staff feel empowered to use it is essential. Not only will they feel more connected to the brand, but the brand will also become more productive. Providing your teams access to brand assets to use, but also creating their own assets puts the power back in their hands. Pre-agreed templates can be created to allow editing and localisation. All this can be done in the browser with no additional software or training. Even better, you can keep complete control centrally by defining the editable content, but also adding approval workflows to check every template that’s created. An added benefit to this is the time and cost saving on your own design studio or the agencies you might be using.

4. Centralisation

Extending the brand management solution outside of an online environment has exponential benefits across the whole organisation. By using a platform to drive print on demand, stock print ordering and even merchandise fulfilment can drastically improve your ability to distribute items to branches and geographic offices. It removes the burden on your internal teams and provides the power of ordering back to your teams. By using one central source costs can be set and managed, budgets can be controlled and accountability managed. By utilising an online platform to manage this you can use a multi supplier network and automate workflow for budget and order approvals and streamline the support directly to your teams. SLA’s can be set and managed to ensure you retain speed to market. Procuring, ordering and managing physical marketing material has never been easier.

5. Visibility

By using a brand management solution you gain access to valuable insight into every interaction with the brand. Who’s’ using it, what’s being downloaded, what’s being created and what people are ordering. This visibility will help drive decisions when creating and refining brand assets, help forecast for the future when ordering print or merchandise, identify training or engagement opportunities with staff. Complicated financial reconciliation will become a thing of the past with complete 360 degree feedback on every transaction, payment, budget and stock movement. All this data can be consumed via dedicated reporting dashboards meaning it’s available in real-time 24/7.

Using a brand management solution to protect and implement your brand dramatically reduces the challenges surrounding budget, time and resource management and will ultimately ensure your brand stays consistent, visible and successful.

To find out more about how Brand iQ can help you to implement your brand contact Marcel van den Boogaard.

Carrying out and demonstrating CPD – does it really have to be so hard?

Millions of people worldwide are mandated or encouraged to complete hours of CPD each year as part of their membership to professional organisations. Most people do this over and above their normal work – so in their spare time – and therefore the importance of making it easy and engaging is paramount.

However many Membership Bodies struggle to provide this service is an enticing digital form which can add tremendous value to the member.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the challenges and opportunities.

Access to high quality, reliable and relevant content

It’s so important for members to be able to read or watch quality content that will help them in their career and CPD goals.

Yet currently it’s a minefield, not only to find reliable content online, but also to assess whether it will add any value towards specific CPD goals. Even if the content exists on individual Membership Organisation (MO) websites, few websites have a common taxonomy that links all useful assets together so that members can learn more about the standards, qualifications and topics that are most relevant to them and most important for how they will be measured.

The solution is easier access to quality content in bite-sized form. This will enable MOs to attract and retain more members through providing a crucial service that members can actually rely on to support them.

Timely consumption of CPD

The more time you spend looking for content the less time you have to devote to CPD. Frustrating, and especially so when you consider that employees have 24 minutes every week to learn (Bersin by Deloitte Research).

So, on the basis of 24 minutes a week, members need to be able to carry out CPD on demand and on the move. The solution is easy access to content via their mobile devices and a level of automation so that this content can directly match to the gaps in their CPD goals.

This will increase the frequency of engagement and maximise the precious time they have to learn. Especially important if MOs are to attract a younger millennial generation – 50% of the working population by 2020 – who are critical to their longevity.

Ability to demonstrate completion of CPD

So, a member has gone to great lengths to find relevant quality CPD material, they have found time to consume it, but now they have to demonstrate what they’ve carried out. This is where it can get even more time consuming and where many members start struggling to see the value.

The solution lies in technology and it already exists. You can tell the second a user stopped watching a video, the page someone dropped out of a PDF, what theme of content they like or follow and QR codes can be scanned to verify attendance at key events and courses. All of this data can be used to verify CPD activity and automatically update CPD records in the MOs platform.

This will encourage more commitment to CPD by making it easier to register and monitor consumption

Recognition for completing CPD

Everyone likes to be recognised for their achievements, especially if they have gone to the effort and devoted precious time. This is not new but widely supported:

  • 69% of employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated (Globoforce)
  • Companies with recognition programs that are highly effective at improving employee engagement have 31% lower voluntary turnover (Bersin)

Currently, it’s still common for MOs is to issue a certificate, which even in PDF form is hard to post online and not really transferable to LinkedIn or other social platforms that most members will be using.

The solution is a digital badge customised to the MO and which can be posted online to demonstrate CPD achievements. This means less enforcement and more encouragement by the MO to carry out and complete CPD.

Monitoring and encouraging CPD activity

Many MOs are informed of their members CPD activity and achievements via forms, PDFs or spreadsheets, which is a manual process and therefore time consuming and cumbersome. There are also cases where CPD records get lost or mixed up, which is frustrating for everyone.

The solution is to automate so that the administrator can see precisely what any member has completed and what they have left to do against the deadlines set. This would free up more time to spend on proactive things such as curating quality content for the membership.

Furthermore, automation of CPD activity makes it easy to see the progress of every member and to automate encouragement emails against certain bands of activity. This can be very useful to members as often they are not aware that they are behind and are grateful for an encouraging prompt. This can be handled on an individual basis or in batches similar CPD achievement.

Analysing data on CPD activity to inform improvements

  • Automation of CPD activity and achievements will enable MO’s to analyse the overall data on all of their members and provide insight such as:
  • How many members have started their CPD and how many hours have been completed
  • The most popular CPD topics/goals
  • The percentage of the membership complete their CPD goals each year
  • The most popular content, which can in turn inform the content strategy for the MO.

And this is just for starters…

This article originally appeared on the Metacapability blog https://www.metacapability.com/news

Webinar event:

Is your CPD programme a membership magnet? Join Meta Capability on 17th June 2020, at our free webinar to learn first-hand why digital CPD and personalised learning can increase member value and transform engagement. Click here to book your place

Why you have to make the jump to eLearning now

 

The coronavirus pandemic has forced every business to look at its ways of working and to find ways that enable business interactions to continue online.

Face-to-face has been the preferred approach for most businesses, yet suddenly this now not an option. This represents an existential threat to huge numbers of organisations across the economy. However, for those who adapt rapidly this crisis may become a way for remote working to become more effective and ultimately create competitive advantage in a hugely challenging marketplace.

A three-point plan for making eLearning work for you

The three-point plan seeks to do the following:

  1. Implement an online learning and communications portal to connect to all employees
  2. To digitise learning materials so staff can train remotely, keeping up to date and continue learning new skills
  3. Put key performance support resources online to provide employees with relevant, tailored ‘in role’ guidance and support

Let’s look at what we mean by each of these points in turn:

Implement an online learning and communications portal

Find a learning partner who can provide the right Learning Management System (LMS) for your needs. They should be able to provide the following key elements:

  • Modern cloud based LMS that is intuitive and easy-to-use and branded for your business. It’s not necessary to go for a temporary stop gap solution, so don’t be panicked into the wrong decision. You may have to accelerate your evaluation and decision process, but if you know your key needs then you should be able to ensure they are fully met for the immediate short term needs and also for your longer-term requirements
  • The LMS must be easy to implement quickly and at low risk to your organisation, so ensure your chosen supplier has done it before and is a reliable supplier. Check out their references, see who else they have provided systems to
  • It should provide native mobile Apps for iOS and Android mobile or tablets. Mobile is increasingly important and native Apps give a better user experience
  • The LMS should be configurable, with options such as Single Sign-on (SSO), HR (or other) existing core systems integration capabilities, configurable user profile information, etc
  • A learning specialist who can help you determine the best online learning approach

Once the LMS is in place, you need to consider how it should be used to best effect within your organisation. You may wish to use the expertise available within your learning partner. They should be able to assist you in a range of ways, but the two main ones we will focus on here, are points two and three of the three-point plan.

Getting your learning materials online

Some training will be mandatory, such as compliance and regulatory based courses. Other training will be intended to provide key the knowledge and skills needed to perform effectively in their roles. This may include background information and reference materials as well as immediate just-in-time training and support tools.

Start with an evaluation of your existing materials. You may already have some eLearning courses ready for use and you will almost certainly have a range of other materials, which may be suitable such as PowerPoint presentations, recorded webinars, reference and policy documents, podcasts and videos. Be careful not to fill your new learning environment with unnecessary ‘noise’. Remember that it’s better to start with small amounts of relevant and up to date material that will actually be of use to people.

You may wish to buy in pre-prepared eLearning courses on a range of topics, and this can be a good way to provide a wealth of training to people who may find themselves with some time on their hands as they work from home.

Finally, you may wish to prepare learning materials on specific areas for specific groups of your employees. eLearning can be useful, but if you are providing mobile solutions then microlearning, video and podcasts are cheaper and quicker to produce and easier to use on a mobile or tablet.

Getting performance support resources online

Performance support materials are those key video guides, manuals and other documents that help your staff to deliver in their roles. Putting these online and easily available will make it easier for your staff to do their jobs faster and more accurately than before. Mobile access is important here as mobiles and tablets are more readily usable in most situations. But remember to have an attractive and fully working online equivalent for those people who prefer, or need to have access to materials in the traditional way via a laptop or PC.

Typically, performance support resources may include any or all of the following:

  • Video or audio how-tos
  • Checklists
  • Best practice aide-memoires
  • Templates for repeatable tasks or activities
  • Guides containing hints and tips
  • Case studies to reinforce key learning points
  • Standard forms and questionnaires
  • PDF documents as reminders of key processes or procedures

Final thoughts

As you adjust to a new way of working, you will need to think through how best to support your people. The tools and methodologies are all out there, and it’s not rocket science. The key takeaway from this blog is to pick your supplier partner carefully and make sure that they have reliable, safe and proven solutions, but are also prepared to work closely with you to ensure you are supported at all stages and that you are successful in what you are trying to achieve.

This article appeared originally on the Agylia blog at www.agylia.com/blog/learning-management-system/why-you-have-to-make-the-jump-to-elearning-now