Picture this: you need to figure out a way to effectively design and deliver on-the-ground employee training, but the fact that many employees are out in the field more often than not makes this a challenge. You already know about microlearning and have developed multiple small bites of training to be accessed by employees, but they only need parts of it at certain times and in certain locations.
The next-level solution for your employee training program? Geofencing.
What is a geofence?
A geofence is an electronic boundary placed around a particular area. It’s typically used to notify businesses when a customer enters that area. Geofencing apps can help design and implement a geofence through Google maps.
While it may have started as a sales technique, now geofencing has found expanded use in training and recruitment. For example, new employee training programs can target employees in very specific regions and provide them with the training materials they need.
How does geofencing work for sales?
Right now geofencing is used primarily in marketing to attract customers. Businesses use radiofrequency identification to set up a perimeter in a zip code, around a neighborhood, or even surrounding an entire town. The more densely-populated an area is, the smaller the geofence can be. For example, an urban location would use a smaller geofence than a rural business.
In today’s use, when a potential customer enters the geofence, the business sends a coupon or a sales alert to their cellphone via a push notification.
The push notification is an important part of geofencing. Although both texts and push notifications have a 90% open rate, push notifications have a higher opt-in rate than text messages. Other advantages include:
Push notifications are free: Geofencing alerts shouldn’t cost you money
Opt in/opt out means more engagement: The more that people interact with your app, the more likely they are to take an action
Push notifications are easily personalized: Texts have this feature also, but “opt-in” users are already saying yes, which means they want to hear more
Geofencing also makes tracking customers easier for businesses. The geofence can glean information about how long a potential customers lingers inside its boundaries, how often they visit, and at what times. Targeting your message to this real-time data can make for highly effective use of geofencing applications and push notifications for sales.
What about geofencing for recruitment?
Geofencing isn’t just for sales and marketing anymore. Increasingly, tech savvy businesses are using a geofence for recruitment and training.
Take, for example, the shortage of specialty nurses in one Florida city. Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg was struggling to staff its acute-care neonatal unit. To solve this problem, they set up a geofence and looked for qualified nursing staff online. When potential nurses entered the geofenced area they received a push notification to apply for a job.
The result? An increase in job applications from none to three or four every week.
What about geofencing for employee training?
Expanding even further, say you are a company that sends employees out into the field to work with compliance-related issues. A geofencing application could be designed to send out a push notification with a reminder to check for compliance updates that are delivered as a two-minute video to employees.
In hospital settings, a geofence beacon can be set for patient updates in areas as small as 32 feet. Doctors and nurses entering each ward can get push notifications to check on patient updates or urgent alerts.
Utility workers can receive notifications on the areas for utility wires, underground pipes, and other infrastructure when they enter a geofence to work. Newly-hired construction workers can take on-the-ground assessments to make sure they understand safety regulations for their first day on the job.
With more employees working from home, some companies are also using geofencing applications to remind employees to clock in and out electronically. Contrary to what you might think, the majority of employees who clock in and out after geofencing alerts have a positive feeling about it.
What geofencing apps are available for training?
These innovative uses for geofencing are great, but with training and recruitment technology this new it’s challenging to find quality training tools.
PinPoint Workforce is one of the leading providers of geofence training apps. They offer key training capabilities for employee onboarding, operating procedures, field support, and many other training areas. Their geofencing apps are designed for many different industries. For now, their geofencing tools are only available for iPhones, but an Android app is on the way. Many of these tools can be customized in areas as small as 32 feet, expanding all the way out to just under a mile radius.
In the retail and small business sector, geofencing continues to grow and offers a great return on investment. Bkon and PurpleDeck are affordable ways to build retail-specific apps to enhance your customer experience. While few things can replace in-person customer service, geofencing alerts can allow stores to get to know their customers before they even set foot in the store.
What’s the future of geofencing?
GPS tracking is not a new technology, but geofencing for workforce training has unlimited potential. Think of workforce training that uses geofencing as the difference between learning how to perform CPR and actually performing CPR. When you learn how to perform CPR, the data is just numbers and steps. When you actually have to perform CPR, there is a real human being involved in a life-and-death situation.
While compliance, operating procedures, and checklists may not be life-and-death, putting these tools into your employees’ hands exactly when they need them can be the difference between a company with an innovative workforce and one that is left thumbing through a manual back at the office. Training delivered in theory will never be as valuable as training that can be immediately put into practice.
Geofencing can also make the best use of the average 24 minutes a week employees typically have for training by delivering just-in-time information when they need it most.
If you want to see how location-aware geofencing can revolutionize the way you train your employees, give the team at EdgePoint Learning a call.