LMS for small business

Small business are often resource-strapped. Strapped for time, strapped for talent, strapped for cash. When a business is strapped, its people get scrappy. They live in a world where each employee wears a stack of hats. Each hat becomes both a badge of honor, and a burden to bear.

There is one very big problem with tall hat stacks. Eventually, they fall over.

That's why small businesses cannot afford to go without learning and development. They absolutely must invest in educating and training their people, so that the entire staff can divide and conquer. Otherwise, all of the pressure falls on a few time and energy-strapped people to push the business ahead.

Training and development prevents breakdown, prepares for the future.

Training your people is an investment. It takes time, and it takes money. But as the old adage goes, if you think education is expensive, you should try ignorance.

Training and development has three main steps:

  1. Clear job descriptions. Your employee should know exactly what he is getting into, and what is expected of him.
  2. Initial training. Your employee should be given the power to perform his job at the top of his ability.
  3. Continued training. Education cannot stop after the first few weeks on a job. Your employee needs to be kept in the loop of new information as it becomes available, for as long as he is employed with the company.

Making training a priority and a habit will ensure your people are always prepared to be their best, building a strong foundation of trusted employees ready to spur your company into its future.

Training and development can be automated.

Small businesses should plan to spend resources on building their initial training program, then automating it on a digital platform. When content can be pushed to any device in a matter of seconds, there is no reason to tie up an existing employee's time to train new employees on the basics.

Instead, build courses that start by teaching the building blocks of your company, and working up through the details. Design courses that teach how to use hardware, software, and navigate systems. Design courses around customer service practices and sales policies.

For each job description your company possesses, there should be a defined set of courses that are able to train a new employee to perform that job description. Utilize microlearning techniques, so that you are breaking all of that information up into small pieces. That way, no one suffers from information overload.

When you begin to break down every piece of information an employee needs to know when he or she enters your business, it will likely be overwhelming. But you only have to do this once. Then, you can simply push that same information to all new hires in the future.

Remember, your training should be re-visited and updated regularly. As information changes, your training content will need to follow suit. However, once the building blocks of your program are in place, edits and additions can be made quickly, and delivered to your people fast.

Training and development is affordable.

Once reserved for the large corporations with big budgets, learning management systems are now affordable for the little guys too. Today, capable and intuitive platforms exist on a pay grade that is affordable for small business owners. We're not talking about thousands of dollars up front. We're talking small, monthly subscription fees.

For too long, the idea that great employees can jump in and simply figure things out on the fly, has been romanticized. Untrained employees are easily susceptible to making costly mistakes or causing frustration for customers. Untrained staff suffer from low or slow production because they lack confidence or direction. In the end, they are likely to quit or fail, and will need to be replaced. Now that's what we call expensive.

On the other hand, trained employees gain confidence, move forward faster, increase production, and stay with the company longer. And that's what we call cost savings and a wise investment.

Balancing hats is not for heroes. Balancing hats is for people who are wasting valuable time and money by keeping their employees in the dark. Train your people, share responsibilities, and take your business to the next level.

Ready to see why Zunos is the right learning management system for your small business?  Start your free trial!


The one thing your sales training is missing

Training and motivating are loaded words. Traditional sales training is often outdated, boring and ineffective. Motivating sales teams to show up and be their best day after day takes time, energy and creativity from managers. Neither are easy tasks when your organization lacks the proper tools to train and motivate your sales teams. 


What you didn't know about gamified learning

Gamification in education is not a new fad, or a fleeting phase. If you’ve ever collected stamps on a punch card for free coffee, or cared about a step goal given to you by a fitness counter, then gamification has worked on you. Although it has been around for years, some business leaders are still leery on the positive results a gamified learning program can drive. Here are five truths about gamification that may persuade you to gamify your workplace if you're still on the bubble. 

1. It's psychological.


5 tactics to kick your corporate training up a notch

Traditional corporate training programs traditionally come in a few different forms: boring, ineffective, or non-existent. With modern employees frequently valuing learning and development opportunities over a higher paid salary, this is not the time to skimp on corporate training.

If your employees describe their training experience with phrases like “Sink or swim” or “Thrown to the wolves” or “What training program?” You're likely starting from scratch. That's okay. Everyone has to start somewhere. To learn how to launch your corporate training program, check out this blog post.

If you're ready to kick your existing training program up a notch (or 10) check out these five suggestions:


The pitfalls of poor training and development

Training and developing employees is hard. It’s time consuming. It’s expensive. And more often than not, you can invest every cent in your budget, and pour in hours creating a training program, and still be unsure if it’s actually serving its purpose.

This is a problem. If not corrected, this problem can be the downfall to your company’s success, and here’s why.

Poor employee onboarding is a momentum killer

You managed to nab top talent, now what are you going to do with them? The initial employee onboarding experience can be a very powerful thing (for better or for worse).

If the experience knocks his socks off, the employee can begin their time excited, motivated, and ready to perform. Give him a poor training experience and you’re already killing momentum for that employee. The newness begins to wear off and all those positive emotions are replaced with confusion and stress as he tries to navigate job roles and company systems.

Lack of employee development drives talent away

The current generation of employees, more than ever, want learning and development opportunities from their employers. They want to feel empowered to learn more, develop leadership skills and have the tools at hand to be their best. When companies provide this for employees in the right way, engagement increases. When engagement increases so does production which has the potential to raise the bottom line.

The key however, is finding the right way to train and develop your workforce. Companies invest a lot of cash each year on programs to help increase engagement, but only 33% of the current American workforce says they’re engaged according to Gallup. One of the biggest cost contributors to this is training and development. Employees are starving for programs that will feed their ambition, but typical Learning Management Systems and engagement initiatives continue to miss the mark leading to a dissatisfied workforce.

When employees are unhappy and don’t feel supported, they’re more likely to walk away and take their talent to another organization that provides what they're looking for.


You can train and develop your employees to be their best every day

If you want to reach your employees with training and development that works from day one, it’s time for a change. No longer can you think of training as a one-stop shop. Training and developing your employees needs to be a full experience, delivered often.

Your days of onboarding and sharing knowledge through PDFs is gone. Your expensive and ineffective engagement programs filled with surveys and yearly evaluations are a thing of the past.

In it’s place you need a learning experience that meets the needs of your employees and delivers the results you want. If you want to see what a new training and development program can do to boost engagement and drive results. Zunos has your solution.


How to write the perfect training quiz

You can serve up the best content in the world through your training program, but without proper means of gauging your employees' retention, your efforts will fall short. Quizzes can be a powerful tool to re-enforce knowledge and challenge your learners. Give your training a purpose by incorporating the perfect quiz. Here’s how:

Keep them short

No one likes long, arduous tests. Keep negative feelings at bay by keeping your quizzes between three and five questions long. If short quizzes are a struggle, the knowledge you’re sharing may be too extensive. Remember to utilize microlearning techniques by delivering bite-sized pieces of information.


Time it right

People lose half of what they learn within a single hour of digesting new information. Prevent knowledge from slipping through the cracks by serving up quizzes right after your employees complete new training. Think of quiz questions as a second-touch for that piece of important information; first they see it in the content, then it's reiterated in the quiz. 

Reiterate, reiterate, reiterate 

If you're using microlearning techniques, the content in your training program should build off of itself. Your quizzes should follow suit. Take quiz questions from early in a course, and repeat them later in the course, after new information has been delivered.

Hone in on important concepts

Write quiz questions that touch on content that is truly important to that person. Do not waste your time or the learner's time trying to trick them on details that do not matter. You're aiming for successful knowledge retention here. Trying to trip up your learners is futile. 

Use concrete examples they will remember

In your content, frame information in memorable scenarios. Use a fictional person's name or create a scene that will stick with them. Re-use the same example when you frame your quiz question. Then, when your employee is faced with the problem in a real-world scenario, they will have a concrete example to recall.

Apply questions to real-world scenarios

Ask your employees to apply their information in a scenario they could face on the job. Test their ability to move from regurgitating information, to actually putting it in practice. 

Stay away from vague, confusing language

Your quizzes do not have to flow like prose. They are there to help your learners learn, not to win a literary award. Be straight forward and to the point. If you notice people continuously missing the same question, revisit how the question is phrased and investigate where the confusion is coming from. Then correct it!

Writing a quiz may seem like a breeze, but it can be tricky. Do not be afraid to experiment, ask for feedback, assess results, and adjust as necessary.


How to write better training content

Words are hard. Especially if you want them to be creative, informative and well-written. Rather than spending hours trying to formulate the perfect sentence for your content, follow these easy steps within Zunos to get words flowing from your brain to the page.

Be Conversational
Talk to your reader like you’re face-to-face. Your content should feel more like a conversation and less like a bunch of terms and training procedures mashed together. So skip the superfluous terminology and talk with your reader, not over their heads. If avoiding technical jargon isn’t possible, make sure to bring in a novice to read over your content as a test. If they get hung up on something, so will other readers.

Make Them Mini
No one has the time to trudge through long, drawn out text, nor do they want to. Keep readers engaged by shaving down your content into bite-sized pieces. With Zunos’ content creator you have all the tools needed to break down existing content into little morsels your readers can easily digest. Simply choose from one of our templates designed to break up content with dividers, carousels of images and collapsable text, or build your own from scratch.

Creativity Counts

Grab your reader’s attention with some creativity. Give your words personality. Start paragraphs with a short and snappy sentence, use alliteration, or state an attention grabbing fact. If jazzing up your words isn’t your forte, turn them into images with typography. By highlighting important information and statistics, your words are sure to stick. With Zunos you can easily enhance text by picking your font, adjusting the size, and changing your text and background color. Mix it up within your content or brand your words with company colors and fonts.

Make Them Accessible

One of the biggest downfalls to traditional training documents is how readers view them. More often than not, your words are not being taken seriously. They're thrown together in a smattering of PDFs stored on a shared desktop folder, or worse printed off in a physical binder. This doesn't allow employees easy access to important information when they need it most. Bring your words into the modern age and store them digitally on one, mobile first, easy-to-use platform. No matter where your people go, they will always be equipped with the training they need to turn knowledge into power.


Stop starting over: How to recycle your training content

About 10,000 Baby Boomers retire from the workforce every day. As tenured employees head out the door, all of those years of valuable experience and training follow suit. You need to get your new workforce up to speed, but you haven’t updated your training materials since they were first created. It’s time to freshen up.

Don’t get hasty and kick your current content to the curb, it may just need a little sprucing up. With a few tricks and the help of Zunos you can recycle your training materials, making them more engaging and developing your new workforce with ease.

Keeping the length of your training materials to a minimum is important to prevent knowledge loss. Make sure the content provided in training sticks by delivering information in bite-sized pieces. That's where Microlearning comes in. With Zunos, you’ll have the tools at hand to use Microlearning effectively. Edit your content to fit this framework by doing the following: 

  • Make sure all information is relevant. Update statistics, graphics, company information, etc. and remove anything obsolete.
  • Use bullets and numbered lists when possible.
  • Divide up extensive information into separate training sessions.
  • Turn complex information into graphics or videos.

How you present information is important to your viewers. Your audience craves and expects simplicity and beautifully designed training information. When you create content in Zunos, you can drag and drop videos, images, and text to create your own document or utilize one of our templates to keep things simple.

If you’re in a time crunch, focus on simply branding your training materials to boost engagement. In our Content Creator you can upload logos, change fonts, and choose colors that match your brand’s style.


Make sure your content isn’t lacking in delivery. The days of PDFs are long gone. People want their information delivered in a modern learning experience. Quickly change your dinosaur documents into engaging materials with our Content Creator. Then notify your learners when that information is available by using push notifications or in-app messages. With just a few clicks you can create dynamic learning opportunities and reward those who do well. Because who doesn’t like a little recognition for the work they’ve done?


How your people access their training documents is crucial to their development and success. If access is only available on a company network, or worse, a physical training binder, you’re making it too hard on your employees. Move into the modern age and equip your workforce to learn anytime, anywhere.

With Zunos, employees have the power to learn no matter where work takes them. Send real-time information to any device, and give your people the power to sync that information to their smartphone or tablet so they can access it even when they're offline. With a workforce that is on-the-go, you can rest easy knowing your people are constantly learning with the help of Zunos.


Create engaging content with Zunos

People have a shorter attention spans than goldfish. You have less than nine seconds to grab a person’s attention and hold it. Try training or educating someone in the span of a few minutes, or seconds. It’s tough.

That’s why we built our Content Creator. In Zunos, you can create interactive content that will engage your learners. It’s easy to use, and perfect for building out a lot of content quickly.

Here’s how to create engaging content with Zunos:

Get started

Sign in to the Zunos Admin Portal and head over to Drive. Select the button that says “Create” and choose the type of content you’re aiming to launch from the drop-down menu.

Choose “Content Page” if your building out learning materials. 

Decide on a purpose for this particular piece of content and consider the number of images and the amount of text that will need to appear on the page before you move on to the next step.


Pick a template

With your purpose, and image and text requirements in mind, choose one of our pre-built templates. You can also start from scratch and build your own, if you’re the creative type.

If your content is more image heavy, go with one of the Carousel or Newsletter templates. If you can’t get around being heavy on the text, select our collapsible template. The collapsible template is a prime way to build a glossary of terms, or group technical concepts together.

 Add images

Visual content is always more engaging than text. Add at least one still image, GIF or video to each piece of content for optimal engagement. Upload your existing images and then drag and drop them directly into your template. Building a library of images you can use again and again will help continually speed up the process. Remember, there is such thing as too much imagery. Don’t let it get too noisy.

Insert text

Words are hard. Choose them carefully. Add explanatory text to your content in small pieces. After you write your content, go back and ask yourself, “Is there anything here I can omit?” Watch carefully for redundancy and extraneous words. The idea here is to get to the point quickly, not to impress your learners with a lot of flowery language.

Link it up

Your content should build on itself. Add links to each piece of content that will take the learner to previous, related material. Links help your audience understand how one concept relates to another, encourages recall, and provides a resource for calling up information on the fly.

Brand it

Add your personal mark to your content so that your people see it was created with care. Drag and drop your company logo onto the top of your page and set the background image/color so that your content identifies with your brand.


Smart Groups = Smart Management

Managing Groups in Zunos is crucial to being able to deliver targeted content. But we noticed it was taking too many steps to target and segment users into groups. So we fixed it.

Introducing: Smart Groups - a new feature straight from our development team that allows you to take control of user management with less time, and less effort.

What's a Smart Group?

A Smart Group is a set of criteria returning a group of users, which changes according to the rules you set up. Rules can be based on anything from data about the user, viewed media, events, groups, roles and forms. Users that meet your specified criteria will be appear in your Smart Group.

Smart Groups v Groups: What's the difference?

Smart Groups

Smart Groups refresh themselves, adding new users that match the groups criteria and removing users that no longer meet that criteria.

Smart Groups can end up saving you a lot of time. They are used:

  • to send unique communications based on each users behavior and properties. If you send out a regular newsletter, you can use a smart group to automatically manage the continually changing list of subscribers.
  • to group your users by lifecycle stage and to identify behavior and properties for contacts in each stage. These smart groups will help you quickly see how many users are in each stage.
  • to segment users based on properties that change frequently over time, such as last login date, event attendance, viewed media, form submissions and more.


Groups  do not refresh themselves. Therefore, they do not automatically add and update the list with new users from when it was first created. You can manually add and remove users to groups, which you cannot do with smart groups.

Groups can help you accomplish tasks with your users. They are used:

  • as criteria for creating other groups or smart groups.
  • to manually add users to a group.
  • for one-time communication campaigns or competitions that you don't run often, and for a list of users that doesn't change frequently (e.g. event attendees, staff lists for an internal newsletter, lists from a trade show).
  • for manually grouping users that may not have a shared list criteria.


Check out our knowledge base for help to create your first smart group here.



Managing events on Zunos just got easier

We received your requests to add scheduled messaging to an Events invite workflow, and we're proud to announce that we've added it! But we didn't just stop there. 😉

Why Improve Events?

We built new features into Zunos Events to help reduce the workload commonly experienced by admins. Mainly to completely cut out tasks like running reports, creating new groups, and sending out messages manually.

After taking on your feedback to make the administering of Events simpler, here's what we came up with;

A List and Calendar View

This chronological list view shows your events, and event details. You can group or view events by Day, Week, Month or Set, and also view past events. The new Event details panels allow you to easily edit the: Name, Description, Location, Start and End date and make the event active or inactive.

Sets Replace Sessions

Instead of creating sessions within a single event, add your events to a 'set' to ensure that your participants can only pick one of the events in that set. Copy or duplicate your event and change the details as required.

Schedule Event Communications

Choose your pre-defined templates and schedule event communications throughout the event life-cycle. This means you don't have to come back later and send out reminders, or post event messages. It's fully automated after you set it up the first time around!

Create and Add Smart Groups

Forgot to create a group of users for a new event? No worries. You can create and add smart groups on the fly. Start a query, add your rules and check your attendee list. This group of attendees are dynamic, that means if users are added who meet this criteria before the invites are sent out, they will receive an invite too!

There's of course some extra features we snuck in, they include;

  • The registration page shows all events a user is invited to rather than only the event they have been invited to. This gives the event attendees greater flexibility and one source to review their Zunos Events.
  • Add custom registration fields to the event registration page under the registration tab in an Event.
  • Visual progress bars show participant status (Invited, Registered, Attended)

Head to our knowledge base to learn how to create events in Zunos.



How to create content that actually engages your reader

Good content - we’re all after it in one form or another. Whether it’s for training our employees or reaching our customers, you need something that actually engages your reader and fast. If you're ready to develop content that grabs your readers’ attention and makes a real impression, keep these simple guidelines in mind:

Visuals Are Key 

There’s no denying that in today’s digital age, visuals rule all. They dominate over words when it comes to delivering messages quickly and precisely. According to a Business 2 Community article, the brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. This is exactly why social platforms like Pinterest and Instagram saw popularity explode almost overnight. Images are just effective, plain and simple.

Incorporating visuals into your training material instantly pumps life into your otherwise limp PDFs and training documents. Before you go filling your training with videos and images, there are some things to consider.

Use visuals when they help translate a message. Are you trying to walk your audience through a tough thought process? Or teach them about a highly technical or a complicated feature? Images or videos will make it easier for your learner to process. Save the simpler items to be described with words.

You can have too many visuals. There needs to be a balance. When creating content you want to ensure your learner’s brain isn’t overstimulated with what it sees.

Think about where your learner will be viewing the materials. Are you looking to mobilize your workforce and empower them to stay connected while on the go? You’ll need content that is mobile friendly. Heavier visuals will be more effective on mobile than large paragraphs of text. No one likes reading novels on their smartphone or tablet when they’re on the go.

Choose Your Words Wisely

Words are unavoidable when it comes to creating content. Just remember, when it comes to text: less is always more.

When writing content, consider your first draft a brainstorming session. Get all your words and thoughts down on paper, then go back and see how much you can cut out. Trim any unnecessary adverbs, lengthy descriptions or repetitive details. Use bullet points, numbered lists and plenty of white space so you don't overwhelm your audience with large chunks of black and white text.

Make your words sound conversational. It’s easy to get caught up in technical jargon, but that’s when your reader starts to disengage. If you're are an expert on a topic, you may be a prisoner of your own knowledge. While terms and language may be natural for you, they may not be natural for your reader.

If your content is instructional in nature, always ask someone without previous knowledge of the topic to read your content and put it to action. If they are confused, your audience will be too.

Finally, edit, edit and edit some more. Have multiple people proofread and give feedback on your content, so that it is error free and effective by the time it reaches your readers.

Make It Cohesive

You’ve got your words. You’ve got your visuals. You’re grabbing your learners' attention better than ever, right? Not yet my friend. You’ve got all the right pieces, but not the full package. Execution of delivery is just as important as creation of your content. 

Humans gravitate toward a good story and better yet, they remember a good story. Make the information you share ebb and flow. Break your content up into bite-sized pieces, like small chapters of a larger book. If something you’re trying to convey doesn’t quite fit, be flexible and create a different piece of content to house that information.

Utilize microlearning techniques to push out your content. Instead of blasting your learners with information all at once, spread it out over a longer period of time. Microlearning allows for higher knowledge retention rates and better overall engagement.

Don't forget: design matters. Make your training materials visually appealing by focusing on quality over quantity. Images and video, don't automatically translate to engagement. Visuals and words will be more effective if they’re actually appealing. So skip that pixelated image and make sure you’re delivering quality material that reflect the time and energy you want your learner to give back to you. If you invest a little time in your content, your audience will be more apt to invest their time to engage with it.


Turn sales associates into brand champions

Once your product hits the store shelf, you start playing the trust game, where you trust the front line sales associates will do their best to represent your products and your brand to the customer.

The problem is, your products are sitting on a shelf next to rows of competing products. They’re all being represented by the same associates who often lack the knowledge and motivation to sell your brand over another.

That’s where brand advocates come in. Brand advocates are informed, trained and motivated associates. Building an army of these advocates means building an army of brand champions empowered to bring you real sales results.

Companies who use Zunos to educate their sales associates report up to 40% increase in sales from their front lines.

How do you create this army of brand champions capable of increasing sales?

Follow these three steps:


Before a person can be your champion, you have to find a way to communicate with him. Your future brand advocates are bombarded with information every day. Emails often go unread. Social media is too busy. You must find a way to reach your people through the noise.

Build trust by communicating targeted, necessary information to the right people. If you're using email, make sure your messages are targeted and meaningful so that your people learn to look forward to your content. If you're using Zunos, utilize push notifications so that your people know exactly when new information is available.


Empower associates to succeed by building an engaging training program that bucks traditional trends. Create training content that is visual-based, interesting to interact with and accessible on any mobile device. Provide initial training that introduces associates to your brand and products, but don't stop there. Continue educating them as your brand evolves. Keep them in the loop with new information and products as they are available so your associates are always up to date with the latest information.


Give associates a reason to advance your brand every single day. Gamification is a proven way to motivate your associates to continually improve. Gamify your training program by deploying a leaderboard that shows associates where they stand among their peers. Award virtual badges and real prizes to top performers. Encouraging friendly competition is one of the fastest ways to build a network of champions who will strive to be the best for your brand.

You can have the best product in the world, but until you empower your front lines to sell that product, you will be missing out on valuable sales opportunities. Reach, educate and motivate your people, and watch your bottom line grow.

To begin turning your sales associates into brand champions, start a free trial on Zunos, no credit cards, no obligations, and all the features you could possible need.


5 ways to win at learner experience

Employers who want to hire the best and keep the best, have to approach training and corporate education with their employees like a partnership. A partnership where the employee is valued, empowered and heard.

A partnership where the learner’s experience is prioritized.

If employers fail to prioritize the learner, the learner will simply leave and go where the opportunity is greater and their experience is valued.

Create a training program that looks great.

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times. User Interface is more than just packaging. People using your enterprise-grade training program are used to interacting with consumer-grade apps and tools. If your training materials are not designed and delivered well, the learner will automatically dismiss the information they take in as outdated, obsolete and unmemorable.

The aesthetic of your training platform and materials is the first signal to the learner indicating how much care you’ve put into the program. In return, they will know how much care they should take in completing it.

Make learning materials easily accessible

The modern workforce is remote, mobile and on the go. Your learning materials should be accessible on smartphones, tablets and desktop. Let your learners interact with content on their smartphone during their morning commute, or pull up information on their tablet when they need to recall it during a meeting.

You can streamline the process in a secure way that does not require jumping through several password screens, or locking information behind a server only accessible within the walls of an office.

Don't waste employee time.

Your people are time poor and likely suffer from information overload. Respect your employees’ time by targeting them with meaningful information. Ditch long email chains, boring and bulky PDFs, and checklists that simply require the learner to go through unnecessary motions.

Instead, earn your employees’ trust by pushing relevant and timely information to them that they can personally use to succeed. Then they will look forward to your communications, rather than dread (or ignore) them.

Be consistent and persistent.
Cramming information in a short window may be acceptable for passing a quiz, but it’s not an effective way to retain knowledge. Ensure your training materials are iterated and reiterated through proper delivery. 

Consistently push meaningful information to your people, then be persistent about follow-up. Design a training program that delivers content in bite-sized pieces through microlearning methods, then re-visit that content several times until the learner is so familiar with the material that he or she could teach it.

Ask for Feedback, then actually listen.

Your learners are going to be your most helpful resource in improving your training program. Offer several opportunities for your employees to fill out short surveys or offer up feedback to help shape your program going forward.

If you listen to the problems, you’ll be able to fix them before they become chronic.

Companies and organizations who aim to attract and retain the best talent on the market no longer have the option to offer sub-par corporate education and training programs. People will go where the opportunities are. They will go where growth and education is happening. They will go to the companies who prioritize their experience as learners, as professionals and as people.


Why corporate training programs are ditching LMS

Corporate learning has fundamentally changed, and it’s killing Learning Management Systems.

That’s a good thing.

People have a hunger for learning like never before. We’re working in an era where machines, automation and artificial intelligence have the ability to outshine our human talents and compete for our jobs.

That does not have to be a scary thing. It just initiates a change in how we respond and react – beginning with how we learn.

Historically, corporate learning has been about checking boxes. It’s been about proving to a manager or an association or a board that you have taken in the information you need to succeed and can regurgitate it when called upon. It’s a one-time, forced experience that isn’t much of an experience at all. When that type of learning was acceptable, that’s when an LMS could work.

Those days of box-checking and experience-less learning are over.

Today, learning has to be continuous, meaningful, engaging and interactive. Today, an LMS no longer fits that bill.

The learning landscape changes daily.

About 100 years ago, human knowledge doubled every century. Fifty years ago, knowledge doubled every 25 years. Last year, knowledge was doubling about every 13 months and IBM said with the Internet of Things, it’d be doubling about every 12 hours.


No one can prepare for that. No one enters the workforce today fully prepared for what they will encounter tomorrow. Information and technology move at a rapid pace that can leave even the brightest people in the dust.

The best assets a person can have today is coach-ability, flexibility and the desire to keep learning. The best asset a company can give its people is the chance and ability to learn daily.

Learning will keep us human.

As the world becomes more saturated with chips and bots, there is an increasing demand for humans to be more human. Our understanding has to be deeper, our forward progress has to be faster, our learning has to be more effective.

In order to achieve that level of learning, people need to have a steady stream of larger learning sessions reinforced by intermittent microlearning opportunities.

As Josh Bersin writes, people need a combination of Micro- and Macro- learning experiences in order to be successful in the long term. Employees need training to deal with the “right now” problems – microlearning opportunities that deliver immediate education in bite-sized, actionable pieces.

Those micro-learning opportunities must be augmented with larger macro-learning opportunities. Like full-length courses, immersive events, and other learning experiences that take the learner from “beginner” to “advanced” through a natural progression.

Learning must be delivered as an experience.

Lackluster corporate training programs and LMS platforms are no longer a necessary evil. Too many companies offer too many opportunities for professional and personal advancement, and anything less is unacceptable.

People are accustomed to intuitive design and interactive content. They are used to picking up skills through video tutorials and live webinars. Employees are no longer willing to go through the check-box-ticking motions required by an under-achieving corporate training program. They require real, meaningful education that translate into tangible learning results; results that level-up their lives.

Learning has fundamentally changed for the better.

Employees today are more willing than ever before to learn and grow. But their expectations of the programs that will take them through that journey are off the charts.

Ticking off boxes no longer cuts it. That means LMS platforms centered around check marks are becoming obsolete and meaningless for training. An LMS may always have a place in compliance - where tasks happen quickly and the check mark still reigns supreme. But corporate compliance and corporate training have parted ways. Compliance took custody of the check mark, and effective training ditched it completely.

What if learning wasn’t a box to be checked? What if your people showed up for work every day seeking out new information? That’s when the question changes from “How do we educate our people?” to “What do we do with all of this talent?”


What is microlearning, and how does it work?

“Traditional” workplaces have undergone a rapid evolution process in very recent history. Employers and employees alike are finding themselves in a state of constant change. The risks of not keeping up with those changes are large and looming. 

For businesses, using microlearning for training and education is one of the best ways to stay relevant in the constantly evolving workplace. For employees, consuming content via microlearning is a launching point for continued growth and success.

What is microlearning?

Microlearning is receiving and processing new information in bite-sized pieces. Instead of forcing a mass amount of information at once, microlearning allows students to take in small bits of information in a short period of time.
Bite-sized courses can happen in just a few minutes or less, but have a lasting impact. Learners are able to put all their focus on the content at hand and do not have time to get distracted.

Most importantly, microlearning provides an opportunity for employees to utilize the new information immediately. At the end of a short video or presentation, a person should be given an opportunity to demonstrate they comprehend the information and understand how to apply it in a real-work scenario.

How do you implement microlearning in your company?

Microlearning is delivered best when the content is visual; served up with meaningful images or videos. It should be accessible to people where they are, when they need it.

Today, that means content should be optimized for mobile and able to be called up with just a few taps no matter where the learner is located. People should be notified when that information is available, in a way that is easy to see and respond to; i.e. push notifications or emails.

Why is microlearning important?

Learning on the job and on the fly is more important today than ever before. Even people with the most advanced degrees will enter the workforce unaware of how to use the technology that will appear tomorrow.

Changes in products, processes, policies, and expectations happen so quickly it’s impossible to prepare too far in advance. Working in almost any industry requires a great amount of flexibility and willingness to continually learn and improve. Those who don’t keep learning will quickly be passed up by people with less experience, but a greater hunger for growth and development.

Companies who do not equip their employees to continue learning will lose those people to competitors who feed their need for improvement and opportunity.

Don’t become trapped by what you know, or plague your people with an environment that holds them back. Implement microlearning and encourage them to keep leveling up every day.


How to gamify your Training Program

“Training” is a word that comes loaded with negative connotations. Traditional training is often outdated, boring and ineffective. Too many companies and employees view training as a necessary evil to get to the next step.

What if training was something your employees actually wanted to do every single day? Gamification can help make that happen.

Here’s a secret: It doesn’t have to stop with initial training. A gamified learning program can grow with the learner as long as he or she is with a company.

Here’s how to gamify your training program for maximum learning results:

Break up your training session into bite-sized peices

Gather your training content, and divide it up in to sections and sub-sections that can be delivered in small, digestible pieces. One of the downfalls of traditional training is information overload – where everything is handed to the trainee at once in black and white text.

As you divide your content up, edit it to be visually appealing. People will want to interact with your training materials if they like looking at it. Use images, videos and presentations between short sections of text. 

Create milestones and motivate with meaningful rewards

There’s a reason people love to cross off items on a to-do list. When employees feel like they are accomplishing something, or moving toward a goal, they are inspired to keep going.

Create milestones at the end of each “chapter” of your training program, and reward your trainees accordingly. Use virtual badges for interacting with content or completing a quiz. Use more valuable physical rewards to keep people working toward a larger goal – like the completion of an entire program.

Create a Leaderboard

Friendly competition is a motivator that resonates. Create a publicly-visible Leaderboard that updates as people improve. The more “points” or achievements a person reaches, the higher up on the Leaderboard his or her name will climb.

People will consistently return each day to see how they can earn more points and climb higher.

Be consistent and continuous

Gamification is most effective when its integrated as a cornerstone of your educational program. Use it consistently so that earning badges and climbing the Leaderboard remains a priority for your people. 

When done correctly, gamification can grow with your employees. Instead of turning it off after initial training, it can be used to motivate people to stay up to date with new information and educational opportunities as they arise.


How to create a Training Program

1. Design interactive content

      When it comes to creating training materials, design matters. Create image-based, and professionally designed content to capture your audience’s attention.
      Use different forms of media like video, diagrams and photos. Color on the page holds a person’s attention. Interactive materials keep employees engaged. Professionally branded content indicates to your trainees that your company takes pride in your training process.
      Pages of black and white text in a PDF is simply not effective.

2. Create assessments

      After an employee completes a subsection of content, they should be presented with the opportunity to apply what they have learned.
      Assessments and quizzes should not be built to trick employees. They should ensure the trainee has retained the information needed, and can put it into action.
      Use a combination of multiple choice questions, and questions that present real-work scenarios that require employees to demonstrate a full understanding.

3. Build tools for recall

      Training processes often require people to learn and retain a lot of information in a short period of time. Give employees tools that will allow them to search out answers when they need them.
      Instead of expecting a member of your sales team to remember every detail of your new product, provide them a library of information that he or she can call up at a moment’s notice. When people have the ability to find an answer on their own, they improve their ability to recall the same answer later.

4. Plan for targeted delivery

      The most effective training programs deliver content to targeted audiences, in bite-sized pieces.
      Your employees’ time is valuable. Use their time to teach them subjects and skills they need to succeed. Don’t waste their time requiring them to read content they will never use.
      Delivering training in bite-sized pieces promotes knowledge communication. Employees who tackle one concept at a time are better able to commit those concepts to memory and utilize them appropriately.

5. Iterate, and reiterate

      As you build your training program, weave concepts from previous lessons into later lessons. Demonstrate how topics and skills build on one another, and ask your trainees to make those connections in your assessments
      Learning is continuous. As your employees gain experience, push out courses and updates that ask them to formally re-apply their knowledge. This reiteration will insure your people stay up to date and improving at all times.

6. Motivate and reward

Give your employees something to work toward. Gamifying your training program will encourage employee engagement by setting clear rewards for progress.

Use leaderboards, virtual badges or physical rewards as motivation. Make progress visible, so your employees can see how their peers are improving.

Training and learning as a community inspires people to continue leveling up, and helps prevent people from falling behind.

To see how Zunos can help you create a training program, start your free trial or get in touch with us!


Best ways to drive employee engagement

When companies hire a new employee, they often comb through applications and conduct in-depth interviews. They carefully and methodically work their way toward pulling the hiring trigger on the perfect person.

Hiring is important, but it’s the step that comes immediately after that is crucial, and too often forgotten: driving engagement.

If people do not stay engaged with their peers, their bosses, their work’s purpose and their company’s mission, businesses risk losing the talent they worked so hard to find and hire.

Keep your people engaged so that your business is the one that benefits from your hired talent, not the competitor your people run to when you leave them out in the cold.

Here's how:

Step 1: Engage through training.

Start with an engaging training program. When a person starts a new job, they are likely at a very high level of excitement, enthusiasm and optimism. Harness that energy by providing a rich training program from day one.

Make sure your training materials reflect a modern, professional design that shows you’ve invested in this material recently. Deliver enjoyable courses in bite-sized pieces, and mix up the medium from presentations to videos to interactive coursework, etc.

Do not overwhelm your employees with all the information they need at once, served up in black and white PDFs or outdated slideshows. They will lose interest even if they don’t mean to.

Step 2: Engage through meaningful motivation and gamification.

Motivate your people to continue learning every day, no matter how long they are employed with your organization. Empower your workforce to improve by pushing information to them in a timely manner, then incentivize them through gamification to interact with the content you deliver.

Gamification boosts engagement and motivates your people to work toward physical rewards or virtual badges, or climb a leaderboard. It’s amazing what people will do in the name of friendly competition.

With the right rewards at stake, and a steady stream of information coming in, your people will want to open your emails and messages to see how they can continue to progress forward.

Step 3: Engage through workplace communication.

Give your employees the tools they need to communicate effectively with their peers and their managers.

Build community by using a forum to allow cross-company communication. Encourage new employees to seek out information from veterans in these forums, and incentivize your experienced employees to stay active in the same forums. Being allowed to seek out an answer to a question without having to go up the ladder empowers your new employees to learn more, faster.

Feedback from your newest employees is invaluable. Offer surveys and forms so they can demonstrate and communicate how their training is progressing. Look for patterns where employees tend to slow down, get burned out, or consistently miss assessment questions so you can improve the weakest points in your training program and materials.

To see how Zunos can help drive workforce engagement, schedule a demo now.


6 tips to create a Training Program

A business is only as good as its people. Building, growing and refining employee skills is one of the best investments a company can make.

The first months on a job are some of the most crucial in an employee’s career at a company. Kicking those months off with an effective corporate training program can mean the difference between success and failure. Initial training should morph into constant education and continue through the span of a person’s tenure.

Here’s six tips that will help you establish a training program and help set your employees up for success.

    • Diversify with blended learning.
      People learn in different ways. Further, people become disinterested going through the same motions over and over again. Diversify your training methods with different types of content delivered in various ways. When creating digital training content, pay attention to design. Offering user friendly, beautifully designed media conveys the message that this material is important. Poorly designed content is a distraction, and sends the message that this training is either outdated or carelessly thrown together.

    • Utilize microlearning.
      Information overload is the enemy of proper training. Handing over large packets of black and white text for employees to read and retain is not effective. Instead, deliver training in bite-sized pieces. Measure retention with assessments at the end of each small section to help solidify the information in long term memory. As you continue to write your training program, weave information from one lesson into the next, connecting points so that your people will gain an understanding of how all of your pertinent information works together.

    • Target your training.
      Training is not one-size-fits-all. Target your material to the people who need to see it rather than designing a training program for the masses. Your employees will appreciate skipping the parts of a training program that do not pertain to their job in favor of drilling down into the nuances of the program that do apply.

    • Aim for knowledge retention.
      Short term and long term memory are very different animals. Many people can study for a test, then fill in the right answers on exam day. Fewer people are able to retain the information they studied for the long term, then apply it in real life scenarios. Building a training program that iterates and reiterates will set your employees up for long term learning. Building an education program that continues through your employees’ career is optimal. This is what we call “knowledge communication.”

    • Promote long-term engagement.
      Keep your people engaged with regular communications. Send reminders and updates frequently so that your employees check in to see what's new every day. Build trust by targeting information just to the people who need to see it, rather than flooding inboxes with mass emails. Continuing these communications will show your people that training turns into ongoing learning, and will keep them engaged for the long term.

    • Motivate with meaningful rewards.
      Encourage your people to continue learning and improving by using meaningful rewards. Be forthright with your incentives, and make it clear what your people are working toward. Whether those rewards are a raise, a gift or simply virtual badges, people like to work toward achievable goals. Gamified training is one of the simplest ways to set up a meaningful rewards system. Use virtual reward badges and leaderboards to encourage people to engage in friendly competition with one another every day. Use progress bars or other visual measurement tools to show people how far they've come and how far they have to go.

To learn how Zunos can help you create a training program, schedule a demo or get in touch for more information.


3 keys to run a successful program in Zunos

A year ago I started a training program to teach our staff, partners and customers everything there is to know about Zunos. Since then, the program has taken turns I would have never predicted and is morphing into a tool that helps to bring anyone up to speed on Zunos.

After some careful consideration I'd like to share three tested and proven tips to maintain a high level of engagement in any training program running in Zunos.


How events can boost your learning strategy

While communication, collaboration and education should be continuous, events are like short boot camps that can foster a lot of progress in a short amount of time.

Face-to-face interaction is optimal, but bringing your dispersed communities together under one roof is not always possible.

That’s why Zunos has created a platform to manage in-person and virtual events from beginning to end.

Whether you aim to hold a sales kick off, launch a product, host a training seminar or plan a new employee orientation, an event may be the way to go.

Here’s why:

    • Events focus attention on the priorities at hand. Events give attendees the freedom to focus on the material in front of them. They are in a controlled environment with fewer distractions and more time to devote to learning whatever it is you brought them there to learn. While we believe people should always be learning, sometimes immersive learning outside the daily routine is the most effective way to relay a lot of knowledge quickly and effectively.

    • Events foster collaboration. People who gather at events have a lot to talk about. Sometimes just having the time for teammates to collaborate outside of the office can do wonders for innovation. Other times, events provide a platform for people who work in different geographic or departmental areas to work together in ways they can’t every day. Even further, events can allow communities of partners and customers to have face-to-face access to your employees. The bottom line is, valuable connections are made when people come together.

    • Events put everyone on the same page. Communicating knowledge to large, dispersed groups of people can get messy. The more levels information has to travel through, the more diluted it can become. Instead of relying on tiers of managers or mass emails to introduce a new product or announce brand changes, bring everyone together to hear the same message at the same time. This allows your communities to see the passion and emotion behind the announcement from the source. It also gives attendees the opportunity to provide feedback either in person or in post-event surveys.

    • Events leave people feeling equipped and empowered. Events cost organizations money and time. Holding an event signals that the purpose behind the event is worth the extra effort. Sending an invitation indicates that attendees are part of a select “inside” group. During the event, organizations have a captive audience ready to learn and engage. Once attendees leave, they should feel like they have valuable, actionable information that they can go out and use right away. Events have a way of uniting people and igniting a spark for going back out and using what they learned in real world scenarios.



Communicate Knowledge

Employee training programs are a dime a dozen. Knowledge communication is rare and valuable.

Before you map out a training program, consider the idea of communicating knowledge. Instead of training for short-term outcomes, design a program that revolves around knowledge communication and prepares your people for long-term success.

Traditional training programs push new employees through mandated processes that lead to information overload without any context. Time spent in training is often limited and lonely – where an employee is expected to learn and retain information without guidance or reinforcement. Some organizations skip the training process altogether.

We understand. Time is money. Resources are limited. You need an employee who will jump in and fill the productivity gap caused by an open position.

The thing is, training an employee will likely plug that productivity gap temporarily. Communicating knowledge to that employee will more likely seal it.

According to a 2012 Allied Workforce Mobility survey, companies spend an average of $11,000 to fill a single position, but lose 25 percent of new employees within one year. Other studies show that cost increases as the employee's salary increases.

Further, 35 percent of companies reported they spend zero dollars on onboarding. Of the companies who do put money toward onboarding, 25 percent do not include any training in the process.

A company’s failure to provide new employees a meaningful experience in their first days and weeks on the job communicates one message: the company has better things to invest in than their people. Failing to continue educating employees as time passes is a missed opportunity to help your people advance and succeed.

Providing your people with an enriching educational experience is crucial if any company hopes to stay out of the $11,000 cycle of replacing the same employee time and again.

This is where knowledge communication can be invaluable.

Communicating knowledge immediately demonstrates to a new hire that their job is meaningful and important. It signals the beginning of a relationship in which the employer entrusts information to the employee. Knowledge communication optimizes the chance an employee will retain, recall and put information to use.

Knowledge is best communicated in bite-sized pieces, so it's slower than traditional training. This allows employees to become educated and get a firm grasp on the topic at hand. Traditional training may get the employee from point A to point B faster, but only a fraction of that training will be memorable, much less actionable.

Finally, knowledge communication is continuous. As information becomes available, employees need to be educated. Continued education keeps employees engaged longer.

If a company dedicates itself to communicating knowledge to their people, the result will show the learner transforming into the educator. If a company is bent on impersonal training processes and information overload, the result could show up as an $11,000-plus dent in the budget.


3 Secrets to our iOS success

An enterprise app has to achieve two main goals to be successful: it needs to fulfill a purpose, and people need to like using it.

Too many companies are creating and launching apps that achieve the first goal before coming to a screeching halt. They forget their end users are humans who expect exceptional experiences out of their apps. Clunky, confusing, ugly apps simply get tossed away.

That’s why our approach to building Zunos is mobile-first, iOS-first. Over the last several years, Apple has been leading the way into a new kind of enterprise app. We believe that the best way to serve our customers is to make sure Zunos is optimized for the devices they love using most. That’s why we have chosen to go full steam ahead for iOS.

Here are our three secrets to continued iOS success:

1. We prioritize UX and UI. User experience and user interface are never an afterthought. On the contrary, they are the first thought. We lead with design that is attractive and engaging. In order for us to achieve our goal of empowering companies to align their workforce, we have to be an app that people want to interact with. Employees have proven time and again that no amount of application-dictating from the front office will stop them for using the apps they enjoy using to do their job.

2. We stay on the edge of iOS updates.
When Apple rolls out new features on iOS, our engineers go to work integrating those features into our native app. When 3-D touch debuted, we updated Zunos so users can view their progress with one tap. With Today widgets, we brought the ability for users to put Zunos on their Today view, right next to their weather and stock updates. Up next, we’re adding compatibility with Password Manager, rich notifications and integration with Spotlight so people can search their iPhone and find content in Zunos. We always want the best parts of Zunos to reflect the best parts of iOS.

3. We are part of Apple’s Mobility Partner Program (MPP).
We think Apple is a leader in driving a consumer-grade experience in apps for enterprise. We are proud to be part of this elite group of companies all shaping a new era of apps for work. Being involved with the MPP has motivated us to pursue the highest level of quality and security. It has also opened doors to integrate Zunos with apps from other MPP partners striving for the same level of UX and UI excellence that is so important to us.

 Zunos is positioned at the forefront of a movement that is raising the bar for enterprise applications. A movement that merges consumer-grade experience with enterprise-grade functionality. In the end, it’s about creating a product that people enjoy engaging with. If we miss that mark, then our efforts are all for nothing.


Enterprise Communication Do's and Don'ts

Technology continues to shrink our world, making us more closely connected to each other in spite of physical distance. As a result, workforces are growing further apart geographically. Companies are reaching outside of their offices, time zones and countries to nab the best talent and resources who will get the job done.

The benefits of a diversified and dispersed workforce are numerous, but managing that same workforce comes with its challenges. One of the biggest hurdles: achieving successful communication in the workplace. If you face the challenge of achieving effective communication in the workplace, start with this list of do’s and don’ts:

Do: Stay concise and interesting.
When you are dishing out information, keep it short, to the point, meaningful and appealing. If you’re speaking to a group, stay on topic and keep it under 20 minutes. If you’re communicating through content, make sure it’s visually stimulating and split up into bite-sized chunks.
Don’t: Communicate without clear purpose. If you call meetings without clear purpose or bombard your people with long, noisy email chains, they will begin to check out. If you develop a reputation of purposeful communication, people will be on the lookout for information.

Do: Be authentic.
People are emotional beings. They are more likely to jump on your bandwagon when they can get on board with your vision. Show them you’re human too and they will be more likely to support you in good times and in bad.
Don’t: Shy away from tough topics. Address hard topics honestly and with grace, but before it’s too late. Use regular reviews to help people correct mistakes and grow in their position. Keep your staff informed on the status of your company’s progress so they can be confident in the future.

Do: Show up.
The best way to communicate with people is face-to-face. Hold in person or virtual events so that your teams feel like they know you even if you’re separated by distance.
Don’t: Rely on email or Chat Apps.
Email is one of the most impersonal and ineffective ways to communicate with people. Chat apps, while effective for some communication, can get noisy. Black and white text no longer resonates with an audience who is used to interacting with dynamic, visual material. Opt for communication platforms that reduce noise by organizing and prioritizing information.

Do: Be Consistent. Consistency shows commitment to your people. Make communication part of your routine so that everyone stays connected and aligned, always.
Don’t: Overwhelm your people. Each employee requires a different amount of communication. You may need to meet with your managers daily, certain departments weekly, and the entire staff twice per month. Make sure the frequency of your communication is helping your staff be more productive, not taking them off-task more than necessary.

Do: Be targeted. Different people require different information to be successful at their jobs. Apply knowledge communication directly to the people who can utilize it. Do not waste one person’s time with information they cannot use.
Don’t: Leave anyone out.
Making a staff member feel isolated or out of the loop is one of the fastest ways to lose them. Employees want to know their position matters and their work has purpose.

Do: Listen.
Your workforce needs a way to communicate information back up the chain of command. Use surveys to poll your staff on what is working and what is not. Often, it’s your staff in the field that will recognize problems long before you see them coming.
Don’t: Get stuck in your box. React to the suggestions and concerns your staff brings to your attention in a timely manner. Take into consideration ideas that may be out of your comfort zone, and reward people for bringing progressive thoughts to the table.


Information vs. Knowledge

Give people new information and they forget more than 50 percent of it within one hour. Two-thirds of that information vanishes from their mind in a day. That’s according to Hermann Ebbinghaus’ “Forgetting Curve” commonly referenced in general psychology.

Transferring information from forgettable data points to useful knowledge is a process. In business, there is a massive difference between pushing out information and helping a workforce develop knowledge.

Pushing out information is futile. Developing knowledge is crucial.

People are blasted with information every day. Every email, text message, conversation, presentation comes packed with some kind of information. All of that information has to battle for space in our mind. But it’s just data.

Knowledge is information that gets past the point of just hearing or seeing, and is implanted in a person’s mind to call up for later use.

The dictionary definition of knowledge reads “the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association.”

Information does not get retained as knowledge until a person becomes familiar with it, gets to know it up close and personal, interacts with it. Until a person really understands why that information is useful to them and their life, it is not likely to translate into knowledge that sticks.

How can companies increase employee engagement through knowledge communication instead of information overload?

  • Make information accessible. Your workforce is busy, they have their heads down working for you. When new information is available, employees need to know it exists before they can act on it. Zunos uses targeted push notifications to alert people to new information. Individuals can quickly track their own progress via our Engagement Dashboard, which shows exactly what content requires their attention.

  • Make information dynamic. Text is forgettable. Engaging and dynamic content is one of the biggest drivers to employee engagement. Your staff is much more likely to retain and respond to information that was relayed in a way that looks great. Remember, design matters.

  • Follow up. Information needs to be reiterated in order for it to solidify as knowledge. After you distribute information, find a way to follow up with your employees to continue having the conversation. At Zunos, we use short quizzes to make sure we're seeing content engagement from our workforce. We distribute surveys to give our staff an outlet to communicate up the ladder, and encourage successful communication in the workplace. We also use forums as open discussion boards to keep spreading ideas and turning the information we have into knowledge. Keeping the conversation open gives people confidence to ask questions, have discussions and ultimately learn more.

  • Be Targeted. Not everyone in your workforce needs to be privy to all the same information. Target the information you share and distribute to the teams and individuals who can make use of it. If you spam your entire staff with mass emails or call lengthy meetings to explain things that only apply to select people, your staff will begin to tune out. If your staff knows that the information they receive is targeted and meaningful, they will prioritize and appreciate it.

Don’t fall victim to the “Forgetting Curve.” Instead, engage your people. Empower them with education. Help them turn information into knowledge.


5 steps to successful communication in the workplace

It can happen without warning. You try to build a culture of collaboration, where communication flows freely and people work together. Before you know it, the grind takes over and every individual hunkers down just to focus on completing their own tasks. Enter: workplace silos.

Silos represent a lack of collaboration and effective communication in the workplace. When collaboration is lacking, business suffers.

A 2014 Deloitte report on workplace collaboration in Australia revealed improving collaboration strategies could be worth an extra $9 billion annually.

The report concludes employees work 15% faster on average, 73% do better work, 60% are innovative and 56% are more satisfied.

In addition, businesses that implement a collaborative environment are more likely to increase profits and twice as likely to outpace competitors.

What does successful collaboration look like?

    • Open Vertical Lines of Communication: Collaboration requires a group. Peer communication is important to collaborating, but more important is vertical communication. Knowledge flowing from the top of a company’s ladder down to the workforce enables the workforce to have a firm platform to launch from. Communication back up the chain is just as crucial. If a person runs into a problem, question or concern, they need an avenue to communicate that information to their managers in order to rectify the roadblock quickly and keep moving forward.

    • Peer Accountability: Peers have an uncanny ability to push peers to be better. When people have insight on the progress their co-workers are making, they are encouraged to improve themselves. A gamified environment is one of the most effective ways to increase employee engagement. Gamified tools can provide a real-time visual of progress and motivation for each team member to keep up with each other and continue to up their own game.

    • Ongoing Conversation: Why is improving communication in the workplace important? Ideas develop and innovation happens when people talk. A great idea may stay a great idea when a single person works on it from concept to completion. That great idea can morph into an incredible product when it is influenced by the perspectives offered in a group. This kind of collaboration does not always necessitate a face-to-face meeting. Electronic forums are perfect for ongoing conversations. Just keep them on topic and organized.

    • Get Together: Face to face collaboration sessions and events are ideal, but not always possible in the age of the remote workforce. The best way to jump this hurdle is to organize virtual events that bring people together on a regular basis. Making this a priority will help co-workers who do not see each other daily stay connected and feel part of the team.

    • Use the Right Technology: According to Delloite’s report, the number one factor that enables collaboration in the workforce is the use of shared electronic resources. We live in an age where businesses operate outside a single office. Teams that are scattered around the world rely on technology to connect them. Without dynamic technology that operates in real time, offers a great user experience and provides a platform for constant communication and collaboration, individuals will resort back to divided silos.

To learn more about how Zunos enables workforces to communicate and collaborate more efficiently, check out our live demo at the top of our homepage here.


UI: It's more than packaging

Humans deserve great design. Makers of successful consumer-facing apps understand that people will only use their product if it is easy to navigate, serves a clear purpose and looks great. Makers of enterprise apps took longer to figure that out.

Too often, user interface is seen as the wrapping paper around a gift. It’s a bonus if it looks good, but what really matters is the product on the inside.

That analogy doesn’t work for us. Here’s why:

According to an SAP report, 48% of IT executives say enterprise apps are abandoned because they are either too difficult to use, or they don't serve a proper function.

Further, CIO.com references a 2014 SAP report that claims 78% of apps are abandoned after their first use.

If end users cannot find a use for an app, or do not enjoy using it, they will simply toss it away.

Zunos doesn’t see user interface and design as an optional bonus, or a pretty packaging. We see it as an integral part to delivering a great product and telling a story. Ignoring user interface would be like hiding the drivetrain of a Mercedes in a beat up, rusty truck. It may have all the insides of a luxury car, but good luck trying to get potential buyers excited to drive it.

Business app users are people. They’re consumers. If they are presented with an app that is bulky, confusing or takes too long to load, they will leave it. If the app doesn’t work well with their mobile device, they will replace it with something else. There are too many consumer apps out there that people will turn to if the app their boss hands out doesn’t work for them.

Additionally, design has the power to elicit an emotional response from users. In this way, apps that prioritize good design can draw people in. They make people want to open an app and they drive engagement with the content inside. Instead of launching an app because it's mandated, users begin willingly using the app because it's useful and enjoyable. Using those apps are a way to increase employee engagement. 

Enterprise apps should serve a clear purpose. They should make the jobs of the end users easier. Employees should see an app as a tool that helps them, not an additional “thing” they have to learn. If an app requires extensive training for employees, many will give up before they get started. Then, the intended function of the app is never realized by the end users. The pain point that the app was supposed to relieve goes on being a pain point.

Skimping on user interface is simply not an option. Going above and beyond with intuitive design is the way to go when you’re in the business of solving business problems.


Real world remote workforces in action

No one wants to be the first person to take the leap. It feels safer to sit back and watch other businesses risk everything on emerging technologies.

Those first-adopter companies become a litmus test for implementing new technology trends in business. If they self-destruct, we know to run like mad. If they experience great success, we inch closer toward taking the leap ourselves.

The problem is mobility in the workforce is light-years past first-adopter stages. Enterprises are entering a time in tech history where they risk much more avoiding the advantages of a mobile workforce than they do embracing it.

Mobile has proven itself to be one of the prime drivers for employee engagement, a vehicle for content engagement and one of the best ways to distribute employee education and training programs. Everyone wants to be able to interact with people and content on their mobile device. 

But change is hard.

The good news is, people have been carrying smartphones in their pockets for almost a decade. Buzzwords like “Bring-your-own-Device” and “Mobile Device Management” have transitioned from trendy, futuristic topics to staples in business. Most workforces are mobile in some capacity whether it is approved by c-level executives or not.

For those still on the fence about whether to buy into the mobile workforce, there are companies that have gone before you to pave the way. The consensus is, get on board or miss out.

Here’s a few examples of how mobile, remote workforces are playing out in the real world.

    • Job finder site, FlexJobs.com, saw a 36% spike in remote job listings between 2014 and 2015, according to an article by Forbes. IT jobs accounted for the largest portion of opportunities, but medical and healthcare, sales, administrative, customer service, education and training, and marketing were all represented in significant

    • “Work from home” opportunities are bleeding into more career fields than ever thanks to the cloud. The same Forbes article points out jobs like case managers, engineers, healthcare consultants, writers and recruiters that are all popular telecommute jobs. Opportunities run up and down the ladder as well, with companies seeking everything from entry level to executive positions on FlexJobs.

    • Companies like Amazon, Sutherland Global Services, UnitedHealth Group, Dell, IBM and even the U.S. Department of Agriculture all made FlexJobs’ annual list of companies with the most remote work positions listed on their site. Customer service agencies LiveOps and TeleTech came in as number one and two on the list.

    • Organizations of all shapes and sizes are going remote. Remote.co, an online resource for companies seeking to build out their mobile workforce, works with 108 companies around the globe. Their members range from financial firms to grassroots organizations. The number of remote workers in each company ranges from less than a dozen to thousands.

    • American Express-owned World Service has been focusing on expanding their remote teams for the last five years, according to an interview with Remote.co. Having a remote workforce allows us a much deeper talent pool to select from as we look for world-class people to deliver our unique brand of world-class service”, said VP at World Service, Victor Ingalls, in the interview. “It also provides us with more flexibility in terms of managing the volume across our servicing network. We’ve been able to offer more part-time and even split-shift options because those flexible work arrangements appeal to many of the employees who work virtually.”

We have entered an era where companies are not limited to geographical space. In almost every industry, at almost every rung on the corporate ladder, people are figuring out how to get their job done from wherever they are in the world.

They need only the right workforce enablement tools to connect them.

Read more about the data around today’s mobile workforce at our previous blog post here. Or about how to steer around obstacles when managing a mobile workforce here.


4 ways to overcome mobile employee challenges

There is no better way to communicate and collaborate with a group of people than by being in the same room. But, the era of companies operating under the same roof is slipping quickly out of view as more enterprises embrace mobile, remote workforces.

The shift to mobile is a positive one,   just check out the statistics we sited in our last blog post here. But managing a workforce disconnected by space and strewn out across time zones does present a unique set of challenges.

Here are four tips on how to head off mobile team hurdles before they become too big an obstacle.

Be consistent

One perk of being a remote worker can be the opportunity to have a flexible schedule. As a manager, be sure to spell out expectations to your mobile employees up front. If there are certain meeting times or hours they need to be online, lay those out early and stick to them. If the flow of your organization is more “just get things done,” then set deadlines and put them on a calendar for the whole team to see. Employees will be more engaged if they hear from or see their manager and/or colleagues on a regular basis. Try setting up weekly or bi-weekly calls to catch up and make sure the entire team is still on the same page. Video calls are always favorable over phone calls!

Prioritize Communication and Collaboration

People work better when they see evidence that their piece of the puzzle fits into the bigger picture. There is no better way to see the big picture than to foster successful communication in the workplace and collaboration among team members. That means breaking down silos and increasing visibility.
With each task a person is assigned, ask “How can the team support this task?”
Sometimes the answer is document sharing. Sometimes it’s connecting people over a calendar so that tasks are simply made visible to the whole group. Sometimes it’s just prioritizing regular check-ins to see how the team is doing and offer up encouragement or assistance.
When mobile employees feel like they are in the loop, they are more likely to deliver and meet or exceed expectations.

Choose the right tools (and use them)

The cloud-based enterprise app market is crowded and overwhelming. There seems to be an infinite number of chat apps, productivity suites, file sharing tools, the list goes on. To empower your mobile workforce, you’re going to need to equip them with tools that they will enjoy using. Prioritize simplicity and user design that will drive engagement. The fewer apps employees need to learn the more likely they will be to use them, so avoid doubling up on apps that serve the same function. Finally, support your workforce with proper product training and instruction so they understand how to get the most out of the tools you provide.

Create an inclusive company culture

Remember, your mobile workforce is not an extra add-on to your team, they are an integral part of it and should be treated that way. It’s easy for those who work remote to feel disconnected from their colleagues and team members. An inclusive environment does more than just foster good feelings. That kind of environment actually converts into happy employees, and happier employees are more productive employees (12% to 20% more productive to be exact).

Be sure to join us next week on part III of our mini series on the mobile, remote workforce.


Data behind the modern mobile workforce

The working world is in the middle of a great migration – a migration out of the office. Among Fortune 1000 companies, employees are working away from their desk 50-60% of the time, data from a Global Workplace Analytics report indicates.

This is not a shift in working culture that we can blame on an insistence for work-life balance. We can’t completely peg it to evolving technology (though that is the vehicle for which mobile work is often feasible). We can’t even claim it’s a new concept; just ask an electrician or a traveling nurse how many hours they spend in the office.

While there is a growing number of people choosing to work from home, there are many other versions of mobile or “remote” workers in companies that span nearly every industry. Simply, where work happens outside the office, there is a mobile worker. Those mobile workers need to be able to communicate with the people they are geographically separated from in a simple and reliable way.

The number of use cases for a mobile employee is growing at a rapid rate. Today, approximately 50% of working people in the United States have a job that could be at least partially accomplished as a telecommuter. About 20-25% of those people actually do it, according to the Global Workplace Analytics report.

The reason companies are embracing a mobile work culture is because so far, the most common narrative coming from managers of remote workers and dispersed teams is positive.

Managers say they get more out of mobile employees

Some executives and managers resist allowing their employees to go mobile because they fear productivity will begin to slide. In actuality, the opposite happens. “Each year, America’s vices, distractions, and health problems cost US employers $1.8 trillion in lost productivity,” a SurePayroll report shows. “More than two-thirds of employers report increased productivity among their telecommuters.”

That is, the employer sees a measurable uptick in work.

To break it down, SurePayroll found that people who work from home work when they are sick instead of taking the day off, and they return to work faster after experiencing a health or medical issue. They also avoid in-office distractions like co-workers stopping by their desk to chat, taking breaks or getting pulled into meetings.

This data suggests, the majority of employers should be able to take a chunk out of that $1.8 trillion lost annually just by giving their employees the opportunity to work away from the office every once in a while.

Employees report benefits

Employees who are able to get out of the four walls of the office routinely report benefits. Like their employers, they also report higher productivity. In addition, they tend to be happier with their jobs, more engaged with work and are more likely to stay with a company longer, according to a Connect Solutions survey.

Remote working actually improves health and reduces stress, it saves employees money and gives them more time to spend with family – all contributing to higher job satisfaction.

Today, approximately 3.7 million US employees work at home at least half of the time, up 103% since 2005. From 2013-2015, the number of telecommuters grew 5.6%.

Of those workers, 77% report higher productivity and 52% are less likely to take time off.

Today’s workforce is mobile

The data proves that the modern day workforce is already mobile. People are working unattached from an office for various reasons, and for the most part, the results are positive.
Employees want the ability to work remotely, and employers over and over again reap the benefits when they are able to cut the cord.

So now what?

Over the next three weeks, Zunos will explore the intricacies of developing a mobile workforce. We will talk pros and cons, we will look into companies that have successfully deployed mobile workers, we will get into best practices, and we will see what real-life challenges and successes companies are having in regards to mobile workers all over the world.

Thanks for joining us!


3 keys to drive employee engagement

We talk a lot about “engagement” here at Zunos. We talk about it because we believe from the deepest most genuine parts of our hearts that workplace engagement translates directly and almost immediately into workplace success. We’ve seen it happen.

The more we talk to people, the more we realize that word “engagement” doesn’t ring the same bells for everyone. While we have come to know engagement as absolutely necessary to a prosperous business, not everyone is on the same page.
It’s time to clean up the fuzziness around this word we’ve grown to love.
We’ve broken our definition of the word down into a simple equation to demonstrate exactly what we mean when we talk about achieving total workplace engagement.


4 reasons business has outgrown email

Relative to the history of the Internet, email is practically ancient. Despite a couple decades of rapidly evolving hardware and software, email has remained fairly static. Companies like Google and Microsoft have tried to revamp it, but still email remains a catch-all storage space for hundreds of messages, many which will never be opened.

In 2015, more than 112 billion business emails were being sent and received every single day. By the end of 2019, that number is expected to hit 128.8 billion emails, according to a Radicati Group report.

Here’s why those emails are slowing you down, making you work harder and probably chipping away at your sanity.


What enterprise social networks are getting wrong

Enterprises have gone social. They spend big bucks trying to unify their workforce on an internal “social” platform in the name of collaboration or productivity


Gamification: Gimmick or game changer?

Gartner defines gamification as “the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.


The sales and channel enablement market fragmentation

Back in middle school geometry we learned that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.


Avoid a brand identity crisis

You have spent days, months, or even sometimes years  creating a brand. Your logos are endlessly labored over and mission statements incessantly tweaked. 


The Millennials Take Over

The U.S. is full of Millennial employees. Last year our youngest working generation surpassed their parents’ generation in the number of people in the workforce