With even a handful of eloquent, praising testimonials, your business will have a much better chance of capturing new customers – and building initial trust. And if you’re an established brand with a few thousand (or more) loyal customers, it shouldn’t be hard to collect the testimonials you need to accomplish this.
However, if your company is just starting out, or if your customer base is small, testimonials are harder problem to solve. How can you get better testimonials at this stage of development?
Why Testimonials Are So Important
Let’s start with a briefer on why testimonials are so important for new companies.
- Social proof. Testimonials serve as a way to achieve social proof. In other words, you can use testimonials as a tool of persuasion, convincing someone new that your brand is worth working with. Social proof is powerful because it’s authentic; people are naturally distrustful of advertising and promotional material because it’s seen as inherently manipulative. On the other hand, a testimonial from a real customer is without motivation, and is seen as sincere.
- Customer dependence. The majority of modern consumers rely on testimonials and reviews to make purchasing decisions. Before they’re willing to part with their hard-earned money, they want some kind of reliable evidence that their purchase will be worth it. Testimonials fit the bill – and they’re so common that they’ve become expected.
- Conversion utility. Testimonials are especially powerful because, when featured and built on your website, they almost always increase your conversion rate. Including them at the bottom of an important landing page or in line with a call to action (CTA) on one of your core pages can drastically increase your conversion ratio.
The Early Stage Problem
As we’ve demonstrated, testimonials are a reliable way to get more customers. If every testimonial you receive leads to the acquisition of 100 new customers, and even 1 percent of those customers leave new testimonials, you’ll have a self-sustaining engine that can provide you with new testimonial content indefinitely.
But in the earliest stages of your company’s development, you can’t bootstrap this. You’ll have few, if any customers, and no preexisting testimonials to work with.
To address this problem, you’ll need to specifically cultivate testimonials from your early-stage customer base.
Can You Write Testimonials Yourself?
At this point, you may wonder whether it’s worth trying to write the testimonials yourself. You can make up the name of a customer and say whatever you want about your own business.
However, this approach isn’t advisable. The whole point of attracting and showcasing testimonials is to build consumer trust. If your testimonial looks suspicious, or if it’s demonstrably proven false, you’ll have the opposite result; people will trust you less.
It’s much more impactful and less risky to get testimonials from real customers. So how can you do it during the earliest stages of your business’s growth?
Provide Excellent Service to Your Earliest Customers
Your most important strategy is to provide excellent service to your earliest customers. If you exceed expectations, your customers will likely go out of their way to give you praise – and help you find more customers in the future.
The first phase of addressing this problem is finding initial customers. If you’re having trouble building trust with new prospective clients, consider offering your services for a discount, or even for free. You can professionally network to find people in your target demographics who might be interested in being guinea pigs for your startup.
Once you’ve onboarded them, go out of your way to make sure they have the best possible experience. Don’t worry about profit margins or turnaround time at this point; just deliver exceptional results and ensure the customer gets what they need.
If you do this consistently with your earliest customers, you should have no trouble getting the testimonials you need to continue growing.
Once you’ve worked with several customers and you’ve started to establish a digital footprint for your brand, you might get some testimonials naturally. But it’s more likely that you’ll have to ask for them.
The best way to do this is by being direct, especially if you already have an established relationship with the client in question. Write an email or have a conversation over a phone call with three important elements:
- The recap. Make sure you briefly recap the nature of your relationship. How did you work together? What were the results?
- The positive reminder. Make sure to frame the situation in a positive light. Remind them about how much money you were able to save them, or how much they complimented your product.
- The ask. Finally, be succinct and direct when asking for a testimonial. Something like, “We’re hoping to grow our customer base in the next several months, and to do that, we need testimonials from our previous clients. Would you be willing to provide one? Thanks in advance,” works perfectly.
There’s a small chance you’ll receive negative feedback or no feedback at all. If this is the case, handle the situation gracefully.
Get Active on Social Media
Next, get active on social media. Your brand should be working to attract new followers and engage your existing audience with ongoing content posts, discussion threads, and general responsiveness. Once you reach critical mass, you’ll be able to reach out to your followers in a way that helps you attract more testimonials.
For example, you can ask a broad question like, “what do you think of our [product]? Let us know in the comments below!” At least some of your customers will respond with praise or compliments. If and when they do, ask them for permission to use these statements as testimonials on your website.
Take things a step further by setting up automatic alerts, so you’re notified every time your brand is mentioned on social media. Some of these comments and responses will inevitably be negative, but some will be positive – and they could be valuable opportunities to cultivate testimonials.
Respond to Reviews
Online reviews and testimonials are two sides of the same coin, so it’s important to pay attention to both in the early days of your business’s development. Pay attention to new reviews that emerge for your business (and automate this if possible) and respond to them.
When you receive negative reviews, reach out to see if there’s anything you can do to make the situation better. Sometimes, a simple apology and an offer to make things right is all it takes to turn a scorned customer into a grateful one.
When you see positive reviews, consider reaching out and asking if the writer is willing to provide you with a testimonial. Depending on how the review is structured and phrased, you might even be able to use the review as a testimonial directly.
Work for Video Testimonials
At this point, you should have at least one or two strong written testimonials that you can use in your marketing materials (as well as your website). Periodically adding new written testimonials to your rotation can help you improve over time.
But written testimonials aren’t quite as impactful as video testimonials. Once you build a strong relationship with at least one client, consider asking them to work with you on a video testimonial. The best course of action here is to offer to film the testimonial yourself – that way, the client doesn’t feel the pressure to put together a polished, professional video on their own.
There are many strategies that can increase your likelihood of receiving testimonials from loyal customers and a few strategies that can get you testimonials directly – no matter how many or how few customers you have. Once those testimonials are in place and working on your business’s behalf, you’ll be in a position to multiply your customer base and never worry about this type of early-stage growth problem again.
Strategic Brand Management: The Differentiator Between Good and Great Marketing Strategy – ReadWrite
Brand management has always been a complicated concept, even for those who have had the chance to work on it themselves. Some reasons are its ever-evolving nature and complex tasks like defining organizational values, brand vision, and influencing customers’ perceptions of your brand.
It might seem an overwhelming aspect of marketing, but really, which isn’t? With brands overseeing and managing their brand’s voice and reputation round the clock on social media platforms, marketing has become the most crucial and hardest function of running a business.
That being said, strategic brand management can turn into a competitive advantage that can help your brand reach its new height.
What is Strategic Brand Management?
Strategic brand management can be defined as a brand strategy that supports your company’s goals and processes, from brand recognition to boost revenue. While crafting the brand strategy, make sure that there’s room for your brand to grow and evolve alongside your business.
If you are wondering what brand strategy is, then here it is. A brand strategy combines a few methods to define the uniqueness and personality of your brand, using which you can improve the quality of all your customer touchpoints and communications for a better brand image and selling power. In other words, it means providing a value-driven and positive experience to your customers whenever and wherever they interact and engage with your brand.
The success of a brand strategy lies in its ability to maintain consistency in the customer experiences across various platforms, from web pages to social media accounts to customer support.
Remember: Your brand strategy should be agile, beneficial for your brand, and add value to your brand’s overall perception.
Why is Brand Management Important?
- Firstly, brand management strengthens your selling power and improves your brand’s perception in the minds of your target audience.
- Because brand management revolves around providing positive customer experiences, it increases customer retention, loyalty, and the overall value of your brand.
- With brand management, you can communicate the uniqueness of your brand to your customers.
- Through the practice of brand management, you can understand your target audience better, which means your brand’s communication strategies and methods become more impactful than ever.
- Lastly, it increases your employees’ internal and external engagement, which makes them feel closer to your company, thereby reducing the overall attrition rate of your company.
The Art of Brand Management
Now that we’ve established a proper understanding of brand management and its importance, let’s explore the art that is brand management. Here we are going to explore the important actions that combinedly make the art of brand management.
1. Positive brand perception
Many businesses operate under the wrong impression that brand management is limited to having a recognizable custom logo design, a catchy tagline, or a viral campaign. But it’s much more than that. It is the cumulation of every customer’s experience with your brand based on which they form a perception of your brand.
Now, it’s not quite possible to control your customers’ perception, but you can always influence them by means of creating positive experiences and associations with your brand.
To come across as a genuine and positive brand, you must:
- Always, always deliver on your promises
- Define, communicate, and behave with integrity
- Craft and deliver unique customer-centric experiences
- Invest in understanding your customers’ needs and deliver value accordingly
- Provide consistent multi-channel support
- Seek feedback from customers and work on them
2. Brand positioning and value
Your brand’s positioning in the market should always be aligned with your brand’s values. Brand positioning is one of the most important aspects of the art of brand management which includes identifying the positioning of your brand and what you want to achieve. This stage of brand management will take time, effort, a lot of brainpower, and coffee.
The first step in identifying your current brand positioning is to research and understand the brand positioning of your competitors and industry market leaders and look for the differentiators. This will help you define and create a unique position for yourself in the market to resonate with your target audience.
- Understand your current brand positioning – Make use of surveys to understand your customers’ current perception of your brand.
- List down your direct and indirect competitors – In the beginning, you will compete with the direct competitors but sooner rather than later, you will have to position yourself uniquely against indirect competitors as well.
- Know your competitors – Try to understand who your competitors are, their offerings, their differentiators, etc.
- Look inside to know what makes your product/brand unique
- Define your positioning statement to communicate the unique value of your brand to your audience
- Analyze if your positioning statement works by gathering feedback from your customers
- Humanize your brand to establish an emotional connection with your customers
- Redefine your sales process to reinforce and highlight your brand differentiators
- Create, communicate, and deliver value
- Train your customer-facing employees on your brand’s values
3. Reputation Management
Once you’ve defined and implemented your brand positioning and values, pay attention to your brand’s reputation.
Keep a close eye on what’s being said about your brand, who’s saying it, and where they are saying it. Media monitoring and social listening tools will ensure you know every conversation, mention of your brand. The chief aim behind constantly monitoring your brand’s reputation is to stay one step ahead. If you know what’s coming, you will be able to steer the conversation in the right direction; hopefully, a direction that doesn’t hurt your brand’s reputation.
The role of brand reputation management is to take ownership and accountability of your brand’s perception and dictate it according to your defined brand and organizational values.
Here are the top 5 best practices for effective brand reputation management:
- Focus on content marketing
- Invest time, resources, and efforts to improve overall customer satisfaction
- Actively use social listening tools to manage and revert to negative comments
- Personalize your customers’ interactions with your brand
- Quality online and search presence
Pro Tip: Centralize your brand’s assets, definitions, essentials, creatives, and more to keep your brand’s communication on point. Also, make sure all the digital assets are easily accessible by all the stakeholders.
4. Brand performance and analysis
Once your brand management strategy is off-the-ground and active, start analyzing its performance and optimizing it for better impact. You can perform brand audits in-house or outsource them to an external agency based on the time and money you have.
An ideal brand audit should cover the main three areas:
- Internal branding – values, brand positioning, company culture, etc.
- External branding – advertising, marketing materials, PR, social media, website, content, etc.
- Customer experience – sales process, customer support – both online and offline
If you decide to do it in-house, here’s how you can go about auditing your brand:
- Start by creating a framework of the audit
- Center your brand audit around questioning your customers and getting feedback from them
- Dig deep into your web analytics
- Review your social data
- Review your sales excel sheets and CRM
- Evaluate your competitors and their brand management strategies using competitor analysis tools
Pro tip: While evaluating your brand management strategies, make sure the assets, brand’s voice, and customer experience are consistent throughout.
Create a schedule for brand audits to keep your brand management strategies effective and impactful.
The more you pay attention to brand management, the greater return on investment you will get on your marketing budget.
Image Credit: from the author; thank you!
What is the Effect of FinTech on Banks? – ReadWrite
The time of FinTech being a buzzword only in the banking industry is gone. Nowadays, FinTech has become a well-known phrase in technology worldwide.
Global purchases in FinTech enterprises have increased to $112 billion instead of $51 billion last year. This is proving more than how the digital substitution is at their enterprise of the financial co-operations area.
What is the Effect of FinTech on Banks?
This change is bringing an enormous impact on all the banks globally. However, before we go through the impacts and other aspects of FinTech on the financial institutes, let’s first dive into the definition of FinTech.
What is FinTech?
The word FinTech is obtained by combining two words: Financial services and digital technology. Therefore, FinTech just signifies the application of digital technology by startups, including innovative products and services like:
- Alternative finance
- Mobile payments
- Big data
- Online banking
- Financial management
FinTech was launched as a technology that was useful for tracking the back-end systems of financial companies and banks. Nevertheless, with time the definition of FinTech in the market has changed.
Now it includes various applications that are customer-based. For example, the tech applications let you trade stocks, contrive funds, and finance for your insurance and other necessities with this technology.
FinTech for banking has influenced various applications and remodeled the way customers obtain their finances. Its impact varies from mobile pay apps to finance and insurance businesses. This intellectual impact of FinTech also a possible peril to the traditional banks. In the digital era, consumers are not enthusiastic about the services rendered by the conventional financial services enterprise. Rather, they favor services that are expeditious and reliable.
This is one of the biggest reasons why FinTech has become popular and disrupting banking and financial services. The majority of business executors use apps to maintain their finances. Also, around 69 percent of enterprises practice the technology at least a few occasions a week.
As we know what fintech is, let’s go through the impact of FinTech on the bank industry.
The ultimate impact of FinTech is on financial services
Incipiently, FinTech startups and conventional banks signified competitors striving for each client, however with time, it has altered and the reason is the FinTech interruption in financial services with these aspects:
- Enhanced financial security
- Possibilities to grow for individuals and institutions
- More conventional client service
- Incumbents alliance
Let’s dive deep into the other significant impact of FinTech!
1) Big Data and risk assessment
All the individual documents stored in device accommodations regard Big Data and, if implemented properly, can exhibit behavioral models of present and possible clients. Thus, AI and ML algorithms development aids FinTechs and finance firms to develop policies directed at further personalized duties, excellent client co-operation, and limited hazardous transactions.
Moreover, superior technologies are used for fraud exposure by recognizing individual user actions based on behavioral models. Fintechs have lately started testing with Big Data for agreement persistence. They’re producing tools and resolutions which benefit incumbents to match the installed elements.
2) Security and client experience
Another case of the influence of FinTech on banks is concrete changes in individual data security and client experience. Various data ruptures that transpired in various parts of the system in the last few years have pushed incumbents and their associates to receive notice. For instance, the scandal of Wirecard shattered the FinTech world. One of the biggest mortgage providers deserted to coincide with the compulsory audit by revealing a $2.1b slot in its records and accepting a complex global scam.
And the rest of the professionals took lessons from this case:
The business members concede the effect of building a “compliance culture”; people follow them to maintain uniformity in the industry. Modernized development indicates that FinTechs examine the growth forecasts and compliance inclinations. AML/KYC checks are essential components of the constitutional structures of FinTechs, allowing organizations to vet and control clients.
The general manager of Klarna, Georg Hauer, understands that earning trust should be the most important preference for FinTechs who necessitate making certain that their technology runs seamlessly, perpetually work in the consumer’s best case and provide their requirements.
However, it was not the last scandal; these are a few examples:
ING subsidiary Payvision, a cash provider institution, was arrested for promoting fraudulent activities meriting €131.2m. Around 289 European customers wasted their funds over four years, from 2015 to 2019. Payvision is named “The Netherlands Wirecard” and charged for “encouraging scammers in high custom fraud.” As FinTechs frequently rely on mobile credentials for investment and financial services, the prospects of illegal access to private monetary documents, reports, and digital pocketbooks have developed with time.
Since then, cybersecurity has improved since then, and consumer involvement can be accomplished by increasing the support of employment and regulation of firewalls. Cloud services need specific examples and techniques for identifying electronic attacks, defending each kind of assistance individually, exhibiting a robust construction.
3) Great changes in human resources
FinTech is transforming business models and the foundation of high-street banks, where it triggers significant changes in their human resources. New FinTech businesses invested in banks raise the interest for professionals with experiences and expertise in finance and development. Hence, several creative professions for cybersecurity investigators, product administrators, agreement specialists, data professionals have overwhelmed the employment market.
Also, it excites the younger contemporaries to choose a professional track that is relevant in the future. It urges businesses to establish exercises into preparing the present staff, providing informative events, and increasing human resources’ tech specialties.
4) Products and services of the upcoming generation
Embraced the knowledge of modifications, banks are now fighting for the most advanced commodities or services.
These are the best methods of how FinTech is obstructing banking services:
- Digital-only banks operate without substantial branches producing explanations online. Amongst the well-known banks are N26, Penta, and Chime.
- Common current accounts like Monzo contract with different currencies, ticket types, and user levels, enabling clients to pursue their investments and succeed in savings.
- Voice and face recognition systems are utilized for granting access to users’ reports. Atom Bank is the organization extending these methods.
- AR/VR provides a future to business substances to obtain an edge over competitors.
- For example, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia has created an application that delivers an immersive activity for actual estate consumers and sellers.
- Global change, such as COVID, has driven FinTechs to innovate even more. As a result, the professionals develop new methods of assisting their customers and generating new collaborations.
For instance, Kabbage in the business with Lendio and Fundera started a program where customers can purchase gift vouchers to help local small businesses throughout the coronavirus crisis.
Another case is Revolut and its characteristic for users who desire to assist those afflicted by COVID-19. The prevailing market situation is growing quickly, and to not be left behind, FinTechs are injecting brand-new products: Few well-known enterprises have combined forces to create a turnkey origination and underwriting stage for donors of all kinds to contribute supplies to businesses.
Innovesta from Israel has increased CRI (COVID-19 Resilience Innodex), determining businesses’ venture score and experience to resist the consequences of a pandemic.
Iwoca presented customers with different lending inclinations within the OpenLending platform.
5) Personalised customer support
We know that it’s the market’s need for personalized financial services to bring more clients and startups to connect their enterprises.
Here is how FinTech influences banks’ customer support.
Clients make infrequent requests to the bank support: information should be available, support – referring to their distinct situation and the feedback – second. To satisfy these requirements, authorities use different channels – agents, chats, advice centers. This omnichannel strategy also serves great for developing new products and managing clients’ data.
Apart from that, a few banks expand the co-browsing system that provides the support professional to help as if they’re assembling next to the consumer and looking at the counselor.
It’s fabulous for online methods for credit formalization, starting a bank account, or a security system. Although every event is now available 24/7, there are still a large number of clients who favor conventional methods for handling utility bills, obtaining money transfers, or paying loans. However, changes in digital transactions are performing to bring even the most traditional clients.
The original course that merits special consideration is omnichannel banking, allowing users to conduct transactions in all circumstances are:
- Web platforms
- Social networks.
Another positive difference leads to reduced transactional fees, greater transparency, and a more profound error venture that has been completed because of the blockchain deployment.
Risks and Challenges: The Effect of FinTech on the financial system.
It is certainly not covered in the flip facet of the FinTech startups and banks’ collaboration.
The fast implementation of modern-edge techs increases requests for commercial firms and the entire industry.
Risks to firms:
- Some industry models can’t attain the increased engagement and turn out to unsustainable.
- The formal conditions for business structures might be enigmatic, nebulous or unrealistic.
- The extensive application of technologies leads to severe risks in an operational exercise.
- Banks working globally face difficulties compared to the variations in administrative structures of various countries.
Fintech influence on financial services and business security:
- Attending FinTech providers and prosperous relations among startups and officials are growing systemically significant;
- The modern legislative field doesn’t include all the problems associated with the movement of non-bank companies;
- The advantage of cryptocurrencies may create price evaporations and changes payment methods
Several aspects of FinTech affect banks in the upcoming time:
Transparency and collaborative: The financial cycle is dependent on open discovery beginning concurrently with occupants and third-party providers. Active regulation will facilitate striving data, information, and opinions between business professionals. Accessibility and business guide: Current laws and customs command assistant business firms to quickly access the business and high road banks that perform FinTech features in their marketing models efficiently.
For fundraising and investment flows, companies will collect certain funds; these are the aspect that affects the FinTech Bank at the most:
#1. Public Banking offers more opportunity to its clients
The original thought was initially proposed in the UK and then expanded in other areas of European countries. The leadership indicates that banks will associate with third-party businesses by delivering protecting users’ data to the end via application programming interfaces. It is presumed that the open banking method will increase engagement, encourage modifications, and perform better users’ activity.
Although digital banks were implemented and served for the lockdown, they have experienced several global crises. Implying further secondary averages for particular financial objectives, now they see a downwards leaning in daily military banking practice. Fincog has contracted the FCBI (Fincog Challenger Bank Index) and examined the appearance of banks all across the world.
These are some of their findings:
- Trading assistance remains to be durable and sustains interesting investments.
- Regular banking and international money neo-banks have considered the adverse consequence of the coronavirus.
- Digital difficulties bestow excellent protection to provocations
- Customer lending is declined while interest loans are on the increase
The specialists from Financial IT understand that one of the permanent results of COVID-19 will be investments and related products’ performance within Open Banking.
The purpose is that neo-banks detect the contemporary situation as very challenging. To be aggressive, they ought to accept the modern requirements of firms and families undergoing financial stress.
#2. Small banks are prepared to hop on the campaign of FinTech.
After the financial crisis during Covid, several local banks were devised to slow compared to their competitors. And it’s time for them to come back and improve and attain their spot in the financial market once again. Some of the US banks, Evolve Bank & Trust, Cross River, and Sutton Bank, have placed influential connections with startups. With new businesses stand out to their consumer base and increase administrative security, incumbents overcome the mobile banking application business.
#3. Traditional lending has grown faster and more convenient.
The underserved sections of bank customers can live an exhalation of assistance as the lending method is working to become less painful and time-consuming. In addition, the FinTechs and administrators tandem are operating hard on improving modern credit score evaluation models and risk management methods, which leads to firmer decision-making.
#4. Regulatory Technology is to reduce agreement purposes.
The RegTech is here to change current administrative flows with the aid of high-level technologies, Big Data analytics, and cloud modernized in special. The RegTech is to assist financial companies quickly and painlessly adjust to ever-changing law rules. SupTech has converted different mainstream exceedingly helping the economic security of FinTechs and incumbents.
Recently, The Financial Stability Board (FSB) issued a statement on the effectiveness of SupTech and RegTech by FSB features and controlled systems. The report describes the possibilities allowed by the SupTech and RegTech compared to data acquisition, interpretation and storage.
Regulatory organizations get a mechanism to develop analytic abilities and administration procedures. As a result, regulated businesses can heighten risk management systems, enhance decision-making methods, facilitate agreement schemes. This trend particularly involves compliance problems, activities tracking, selling, and recording methods.
Advantage of SupTech: As FSB depicts, the preponderance of respondents have now installed SupTech operation since 2016, which significantly improves their possibilities of determining agreement issues and developing trust.
#5. Banking as a Platform (BaaP) remains increasing in momentum.
Platform-Based banking is developing by leaps and bounds, slowly displacing the regular product-centered strategy and perpendicular business types. The purpose is to provide third-party providers to improve banking resolutions, becoming a full path to the exclusive knowledge of incumbentIn addition, it It means BaaP resonates with the Open Banking idea as both are dedicated to generating profits for all individuals – FinTechs, customers, and banks.
These are a few of the aspects that we will encounter in the near future. FinTech has tremendous potential that will be released soon.
FinTech Latest Projects
The main focus of FinTech is essentially on online finance and crowdfunding explications for different niches, business sectors, and marketing models. FinTech has built several platforms for their clients, but these are the latest projects with a stand-alone FinTech resolution created as per the consumer experience.
LenderKit: LenderKit is crowdfunding and digital finance software for corporations who want to enter the business of alternative financing.
LenderKit appears in a package with essentials such as compelling back-office, programmed KYC/AML methods, the built-in CMS and an inconsiderable market.
InvestMySchool: InvestMySchool is a fundraising program that is based in the UK, helping independent schools and institutional organizations.
In the FinTech era, financial companies should accommodate digital trends as fast as they can and completely pinpoint the latest digital customer needs. The increasing expectation of economic systems is to change from product-based to customer-based designs that equip themselves to advance fast, easy-to-use, personalized goods and assistance to digital customers via the customer preference channel.
By getting the right mix of benefits, companies, and properties, conventional banks are leveraging innovative explications to discuss the evolving requirements of their customers in this period of digital financial services.
How to Make Enterprise Learning and Development More Accessible to Employees – ReadWrite
Most learning and development (L&D) solutions on the market today don’t take into account the needs of those behind the digital divide. As today’s workforce becomes more decentralized and more remote, some workers miss out on opportunities to learn and grow within their organizations. This is especially true in this new normal of ours, where a lot of in-person contact is may continue here and there — even with the COVID-19 vaccine.
For companies that want to provide equal access to opportunity for all employees, corporate L&D has to evolve. This includes implementing systems and policies that not only reach those best equipped but also those with limited resources as well. For those struggling with this conundrum, here are three surefire ways to make your L&D programs more equitable and more inclusive.
Don’t Assume That Everyone Learns the Same Way
When going through the motions of L&D program development and implementation, it is easy to assume that everyone will digest it in the same way. However, estimates indicate that 30% of the college-educated workforce fits the current federal definition of having a disability. That number doesn’t include workers without college degrees, and only includes those who disclose that they have a disability. Current estimates also indicate that only 39% of workers with a disability disclose it to their manager, and even fewer disclose it to team members or the HR department.
As such, L&D executives should consider providing sensitivity training to their training teams. This will help them better understand the types of disabilities in the workplace, whether visible or not. This will also help instructional designers and trainers tailor content to meet the needs of all employees. There are even some amazing technologies that can help with implementation.
Microsoft’s Immersive Reader, specifically designed to support dyslexia and dysgraphia, is a perfect example. With the Immersive Reader, employees with reading disabilities can have text read out loud, even in other languages. In addition, for those with a limited understanding of computers, Windows 10 has a voice control feature, which is different from dictation. macOS user, you can use Apple’s built-in system.
Text-Based L&D Is the Most Inclusive
Not everyone uses a computer at work or has access to the Internet. However, most have a cell phone of some type and can receive text messages.
As Arist co-founder and CEO puts it, “text-based messaging is the one technology almost all of us have in common. It has the highest rate of adoption, nearly 98%, according to leading figures. This makes it the most inclusive technology there is.”
Artist’s ability to bridge the digital divide helped it win over more than a dozen Fortune 500 organizations. DuPont turned to Arist to supplement its online learning initiatives. DuPont Sustainable Solutions has even designed courses for onboarding employees, compliance training, sales skills improvement, health and wellness programs and refresher training. The training comes in bite-sized chunks over a period of days.
Artist refers to these text-based quick bites as microlearning. In its simplest form, microlearning is a delivery format where users receive short-form content over an extended period. When comparing microlearning to traditional learning, research has found that 82% of users regarded microlearning as user-friendly, compared to less than 25% for traditional learning.
For employees with language or learning barriers, microlearning is more digestible.
“Not only is text a more inclusive technology, when paired with microlearning methodologies, but it also becomes an extremely effective way to eliminate other barriers to learning as well,” added Ioffe.
Make Reasonable Accommodations
Accessible, inclusive L&D initiatives boil down to making reasonable accommodations for employees. L&D professionals will need to evaluate all facets of this, whether non-tech, low-tech or high-tech. The Office of Disability Rights defines reasonable accommodations under those parameters.
Non-technical accommodations include things like slowing the pace of training or providing extra assistance. Low-tech accommodations are typically low-cost and are already available in the workplace or easy to acquire, like speech-to-text technology. And high-tech accommodations are those that involve customized equipment, technology, devices, or sophisticated software. Knowing the workforce’s needs you are training will help you prioritize the things that qualify as reasonable accommodations.
In the end, no matter how big your budget is or how much time you can dedicate to tools and technology, it is important to remember that L&D is all about people. As trainers, educators, and coaches, the primary responsibility for L&D professionals is the development of people. Remembering that will make all the difference.
Image Credit: pixabay; pexels; thank you!