Tom O'Neil: First person perspective

By Tom O'Neil

Screens are now ever present.
Screens are now ever present.

Brave new world

For decades there have been industry voices declaring that in the "not so distant future", technology will take over significant numbers of jobs currently performed by people. For some this generates anxiety about careers and where work will be found. For others it signals a better future where people are freed from having to undertake dangerous or repetitive work.

On the whole, technology has benefited humanity greatly, especially us Kiwis stuck at the bottom of the globe. Many Kiwi businesses provide products and services to clients around the world, almost as easily as if they were in the office next to their customer in London.

A great example of very useable technology is the GoPro camera. Now being attached to every vehicle conceivable to capture all manner of interesting footage, it was only a matter of time until this unique approach to recording experiences became highly useful to the learning and development world.

First-person solutions to learning

First-person cameras are becoming a cheap and effective technology solution to induct and train new employees, up-skill current team members and improve the performance of those failing to meet acceptable standards.

This unique type of video can be used to help address training and performance issues by providing short practical visual and audio instructions on how to correctly complete key tasks from a first person perspective. For example, how to clean and pack down a bar in a restaurant. The concept is surprisingly simple.

Firstly, identify practical tasks that are critical in the performance of these roles. Once you have this process systemised, source current team members who are best-practice experts, and arrange for them to wear a camera while they complete the task, providing a basic commentary at the same time.

A new way of learning

Over time these short clips can be built into a library of training material which can be used to:

*Train new team members on key tasks required within their roles as part of induction.

*Multi-skill exiting team members so they can effectively complete key tasks in related roles for their development

*Assist team members who are struggling to complete tasks correctly by showing them how an expert completes them effectively.

Other benefits

This approach uses both visual and auditory channels to create understanding, important when many employees have English as a secondary language.

An added advantage is the positive recognition provided to the best-practice team members selected to complete the videos. By identifying and highlighting talent, it also feeds into career development and progression processes, critical for retention and development of talent.

Remember, set-up costs are just a few hundred dollars and the information can be shared via internal systems or YouTube. Any business can take advantage of this low-cost, effective use of technology to improve efficiency and performance.

Tom O'Neil is an award-winning business speaker and best-selling international author You can contact Tom on

- NZ Herald

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