The ITS Service Desk prides itself on adapting to change, so when it looked as though the COVID-19 pandemic was going to last longer than the state’s initial lockdown, the team already had multiple plans in place. One of those plans was to virtually train its new employees.
“We began virtualizing our training in late April,” said Kierra Brown, ITS Service Desk Phones training lead. “With the dynamic changes that we were all being faced with, we definitely wanted to be prepared.”
The Service Desk provides University-wide technical support for tools like Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Sakai. For that reason, using them as the method to provide training, rather than as just one of its training subjects, was an easy transition.
An easy evolution
“The real key to our success was that our training was already a mix of virtual learning and in-person training, so we were able to easily evolve the process,” said Brown. “We simply recorded some videos of what we typically covered in our in-person training and created a Sakai site for easy accessibility of the content to our trainees.”
The training, which is tailored to whether the employee is new to the University or has been a part of UNC-Chapel Hill before, includes ServiceNow problem-tracking software, the handling of University service requests, internal processes, and the myriad platforms the University community uses.
In fully virtualizing the training, team members shaved a full day off their training time. The recording of previous in-person portions of the training saved the training team time that ordinarily would have been spent delivering that information in a classroom setting. Now, trainees can easily access that information as well as watch it as often as needed.
This efficiency comes with a reminder that is typical of the new pandemic normal — the importance of “the human factor” in even virtual environments.
“Our entire team was able to adapt quickly to ensure the virtual training met the standards at the Service Desk,” said Adam Clark, ITS Service Desk training team member. “But it’s more that je ne sais quoi that human interaction has that’s always difficult to replicate.”