How training within the security industry has changed and what’s to come
The U.S. is reopening. Our attention will eventually move away from how the pandemic has changed the way we live and do business to what adjustments—which had to be made—have staying power.
We recently sat down with Larry Newman, Senior Director, Sales, Axis Communications, Inc., to get his take on how the pandemic has impacted training over the past year-plus within Axis and the security industry, as well as what’s to come.
How have things changed?
Training is always evolving, says Newman. But what made the last year-plus different than previous ones was just how quickly companies, such as Axis, had to adjust.
“Axis is always looking for ways to enhance its training based on new tools, new technologies, et cetera,” he explains. “But what we clearly saw was an accelerated movement towards self-paced online training. Pre-pandemic we relied a lot on instructor-led training for customers that took place in person. So, we had to quickly adjust, sometimes on the fly. But what helped Axis pivot was its outstanding team who already had a solid foundation in place to build off.”
Specifically, Newman mentioned how Axis Communications Academy pivoted to offering virtual instructor-led training so it could adhere to social distance guidelines, and health and safety regulations. Since then they’ve launched new course offerings and have looked for ways to enhance their current programs to create even more enablement for customers. For example, along with the usual blend of virtual instructor-led and classroom training, Academy launched its first virtual instructor-led Network Video Fundamentals course in 2020. And its Academy Discovery Series has been a hit with thousands of partners trained since its inception last year.
Yet while virtual instructor-led training helped Axis pivot, Newman notes it’s committed to working with customers and partners in interactive, face-to-face settings as Axis is able to.
“Meeting face to face has always been a big component to our success,” he states. “But virtual instructor-led and online training won’t go away. If anything, the last year has shown that this type of training can be extremely effective if students have the required tools and resources to participate. But it doesn’t come without its share of challenges. For example, can people always network and form relationships just as effectively online as they do in person? Some can, while others I’ve talked to would prefer meeting face to face.”
“Meeting face to face has always been a big component to our success,” Newman states. “But virtual instructor-led and online training won’t go away.”
What can we expect going forward?
Companies have been analyzing and reconsidering everything from overhead costs to their long-term commitment to office space. And this will certainly be the case moving forward. As it relates to training, some may move entirely to a virtual instructor-led format or shift to a hybrid approach. Axis is committed to the latter, offering an array of regularly updated, cutting-edge content with both online and recorded virtual instructor-led training courses, as well as in-person seminars.
Newman points to Axis Experience Centers (AEC) as one such example of the company’s pledge to invest in and strengthen its in-person training and education. Built with customers in mind, AECs are designed to provide exclusive experiences with hands-on, customized demonstrations of Axis’ complete range of products and solutions. Each AEC is unique and offers a variety of space for visitors to learn about Axis’ products and technology, as well as relax and network.
During the past year, Axis strengthened its global presence by establishing six new AECs. In the Americas, it opened new facilities in New York City, Silicon Valley, and Sao Paolo with much success.
In New York, for example, the first Network Video Fundamentals course was held on April 20 with a 100 percent pass rate. All are now Axis Certified Professionals. Attendees ranged from industry integrators to experienced end customers, all of whom were able to complete the several hands-on exercises in a comfortable spaced out environment. Between lessons they took in beautiful views and the numerous displays of Axis solutions prepared by our marketing department and Field Sales Engineers.
“I believe one of the reasons we have such a great relationship with our customers and partners is because our employees are committed to ensuring those relationships remain strong,” says Newman.
Newman made sure to also talk about how Axis is just as committed to its external training as it is to its internal training.
“I believe one of the reasons we have such a great relationship with our customers and partners is because our employees are committed to ensuring those relationships remain strong,” says Newman. “And one way they do that is by constantly expanding their knowledge of Axis and the security industry. It starts from the day Axis onboards a new employee. Learning is constant.”
When hired, new hires are paired with an experienced employee who acts as a resource during his or her first few months on the job. The new hire also takes part in a formal Onboarding program that introduces them to all aspects of the company and provides the chance to spend time with members from every department.
From then onwards, employees take part in many internal and external professional development opportunities. And for those who don't want to venture too far from home (or couldn’t due to the health crisis), Axis offers in-house sessions from its Academy and Human Resources departments.
This, of course, just touches the tip of the iceberg. Axis strives to be an attractive workplace where employees can thrive and build new skills.
“I’ve been so impressed and proud of the way we’ve been able to pivot over the past year,” Newman explains. “It’s comforting to know that we have the tools and resources to adapt our training and professional development to the circumstances as well as to the needs of our employees, customers, and partners. And we’re constantly developing programs to stay at the forefront of and meet new demands.”