Employee training has seen major transformation through technology but still represents a major cost for employers and laborious headache for employees — trainers and trainees alike. That’s largely because good training is interactive — it involves an employee putting themselves into a situation, attempting to perform a function they’ve been taught about, and gaining feedback as to whether they performed it correctly. While there’s no complete substitute for human-to-human training, recent advancements in speech technology and natural language processing have opened a new door to interactive conversational training that doesn’t require a human instructor. Voice technology has tremendous potential to transform how training works in a host of fields, from sales executives to kitchen cooks to factory workers. 

Here are the reasons why voice-guided training will step-change the way workers learn and master their jobs in the years to come. 

On-Demand Assistance

Job training doesn’t end when an employee completes the required material. It extends into the job until an employee has mastered the tasks at hand. Inevitably, on-the-job questions come up, which usually result in other employees intervening to provide assistance.

What if employees had an on-demand assistant in their ear, ready to clarify questions as they arise on the fly? This would save countless hours of other employees’ time and provide faster guidance to new employees.

Many employees, like line cooks in quick-service restaurants, need to be flexible to learn new skills like how to operate machinery that others typically handle. Rather than simply wing it, or spend lots of time reading manuals or watching tutorials hunting for a specific answer, employees can be guided through these operations step-by-step as they use the equipment. 

Sustaining Attention & Reinforcing Learning

In today’s short-attention-span world, it’s all too easy for a trainee’s attention to drift away when watching a series of training videos. Training needs to be participatory to keep people engaged. Voice- and audio-guided training exercises, where employees are asked questions or completing tasks in real-time, demands active participation in a way that goes beyond clicking on a multiple choice question in eLearning software. The act of verbally speaking a response reinforces learning, and also allows for more free-form responses — testing not only recognition, but recall — which AI-powered natural language understanding can parse and evaluate. 

Advanced Conversational Simulation

For jobs that require the gift of gab, such as customer service and sales, conversational agents can be modeled to walk employees through role-playing experiences. Employers could design scenarios where a voice application simulates an unhappy customer, or a tough negotiator, forcing an employee to respond as they would to a real person in this scenario. This sort of scenario-based sparring carries with it significant conversational design and NLU challenges, but holds tremendous potential to automate more advanced training procedures. 

Unparalleled Depth of Knowledge

If IBM Watson playing jeopardy taught us nothing else, it’s that the body of knowledge that an AI-based system can digest and access is greater than that of any human. No supervisor will have all the answers, and indeed even the most experienced employees need to look up information from time to time.

Having a voice assistant who can access a broad corpus of data and serve back answers to myriad questions is a huge advantage for any organization. 

No matter your industry, having well-trained employees is essential, but it doesn’t always have to come at a great expense of human capital. Voice technology can be deployed efficiently and creatively to enhance both formal learning programs and support unpredictable, on-the-job knowledge needs. 

If you’re excited about the opportunities discussed here and interested in voice-enabling your store’s workforce, please reach out at hello@rain.agency. We’d love to discuss your challenges and build a blueprint for success.