An interview with Jennifer Strub


PHOTO: Ricardo Gomez Angel | unsplash


According to the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2021 survey, 72% of executives ranked “the ability of their employees to adapt, retrain and take on new roles” as the most important factor or the second most important factor. important to deal with future disruptions.

As Vyond’s Director of Human Resources, Jeniffer Strub understands that in order to maintain the resilience of their business, vacancies need to be filled with people who already have experience with the business and are part of their culture. She believes that in an employee job market, it’s up to employers to give their employees reasons to stay and grow with the company.

“The idea is to give people the opportunity to participate in many areas outside of their role that they might be passionate about,” Strub said. “It’s really important to get people engaged and interested in adapting to their current work environment rather than looking outside the company.”

Vyond, based in San Mateo, Calif., is a motion video creation platform provider and a sponsor of Simpler Media Group’s Digital Workplace Experience (DWX) virtual conference. On May 4, Vyond Marketing Communications Manager Kevin Doherty will present the “Reskilling Your Workforce with Video” session. We spoke with Doherty’s colleague Strub about the importance of reskilling and upskilling in today’s job market, and why it’s key to successfully attracting and retaining young people. best talent.

Invest in your employees before making new hires

Simpler Media Group: What are some of the trends that have made reskilling and upskilling a priority?

Jennifer Strub: One of our business skills at Vyond is the ability to retrain and develop our people so they can grow with the business. This is essential when a business is growing rapidly like ours. Rather than hiring new people with no experience, investing in our current employees has been critical to our success. Many positions at Vyond require prior experience within our company, so there is no better talent to fill them than our existing employees.

SMG: Tell us more about the role diversity plays in retraining.

Rub: Our aim at Vyond is to be very attentive to our diversity, the ultimate goal being diversity of thought. It is this diversity of thought and people’s ability to challenge each other that really leads to success and innovation. When it comes to hiring and mentoring, we want to make sure that we reach a wide audience of all backgrounds, ages and backgrounds, and are keen to provide development opportunities for all employees, including people of color who have typically held entry-level positions in the job market. At Vyond, we have five generations in this workforce, including a half-female, minority representation management team.

Diversity is also something we really value when it comes to our product itself. We pay close attention to what our customers are looking for and we try to represent it in our product. For example, our DEI group works closely with our product development team to ensure that we have inclusive representation in our video assets, which is any of the props, characters, or scenes depicted on our platform. And we seek that guidance from our employees themselves. We want to make sure employees feel like they have a voice and are represented in both our product and our organization. By making our employees feel valued in this way, they are more likely to want to explore more opportunities in our organization rather than move to a new company.

SMG: Please discuss the benefits of retraining versus hiring new workers, both from an organizational and employee perspective.

Rub: With the pandemic, the landscape has changed dramatically. We were a 100% internal company that has now adapted to a hybrid model, but we still need some internal participation. The reason is that we really build a community with our employees. We are building a business together and everyone’s work is more than the sum of their tasks. We therefore ask employees to invest their time and take a leap of faith by entering the office when people are a little afraid to do so. For our part, we show our commitment, not only by ensuring their safety, but by investing in them as individuals, including in their future careers.

Jennifer Strub:

For employees, the main benefits of upskilling and retraining begin with market value. Employers need to explain to their employees how retraining will improve their value. It’s also important that employees feel they are learning, adding value, and building on their own experiences. Retraining can help them achieve this.

Show employees what’s in it for them

SMG: In today’s labor market, where workers change jobs frequently, do you think employees are more open or less open to retraining than they would be if jobs were harder to find?

Rub: I think many of us understand that the best way to get a significant pay raise is to change jobs. At Vyond, we recognize this and are quite open about it. And while we try to position ourselves competitively on compensation, the biggest selling point for us is the stake that everyone has in this organization. And that includes retraining and upskilling people who are new to the job market.

For example, we have people in HR working with the product team on asset cleanup from a DEI perspective. Members of our support team work with our community manager to answer user questions. And the marketing people who work with HR to create recruiting videos. It’s important to give employees the opportunity to participate in projects outside of their typical role that they might not be able to do at other companies.

SMG: Please explain how you see most organizations managing retraining today. Have these efforts been successful? Why or why not?

Rub: I think everyone can agree that retraining is a good thing to do. And while we know it’s important for the organization to continue to adapt and succeed, companies need to pay more attention to clearly demonstrating to employees what they can gain in their current and future roles. even when they leave the company. We don’t expect every employee to be a lifetime employee, but we hope that during the time they are with us, they give us their best work. In return, we will invest in them, teach them and give them as many opportunities to grow as possible.

Engage and retain talent with video

SMG: Vyond’s presentation explains how video can produce better learning outcomes. Can you discuss the advantages of video over other learning methods?

Rub: With a PowerPoint slide, we can read the words and perhaps digest them easily in the moment, but that doesn’t necessarily stick with the reader beyond viewing that particular slide. With video, however, you can combine images with words, actions, and movements and convey not only ideas, but also concepts that will resonate with viewers and ultimately be remembered for longer. You can also create microlearning experiences, engaging learners with smaller segments in easily digestible formats. Video also lets you create on-demand learning materials, giving employees the ability to play the video later and absorb the concepts in a more meaningful way.

SMG: Can you provide specific examples that demonstrate the effectiveness of video in retraining and improving skills?

Rub: From teaching employees how their medical plan works to training them in specific skills, companies of all sizes are using videos created in Vyond to evoke emotions and get their employees thinking about new concepts. For example, Microsoft uses videos to help employees improve their accessibility skills in games, which has proven critical to advancing diversity and inclusion. Brandman University used Vyond to create videos to refresh instructors on digital tools as part of a larger digital transformation initiative. Vyond has also created a series of training video templates for managers to specifically improve their social/emotional intelligence, intended to support employee mental health at the start of the pandemic.

SMG: For organizations that don’t have a lot of creative expertise, how can they start using video for employee training?

Rub: I believe we are all storytellers in some way. If you can convey a past experience or story of an interaction with someone, then you can use video. Many video products are designed to be fairly simple to use. When you start with a scene and think about what you want to say, Vyond provides you with resources, props and lots of things you can drag and drop so you can put something on screen as you go. it pops up in your head. It helps you take a historically dry topic and breathe some life into it.

Complement technology with the human touch

SMG: What does the future of employee training look like to you?

Rub: I see a lot more use of video, but certainly not as a replacement for human interaction to support it. People’s ability to turn to someone will always be critical. So while we use video and other forms of rich media to help train people, we still need to keep employees in touch with other people, such as managers, human resources managers, or coaches. professionals. Employees always need this mentor-mentee relationship. Video is part of the initial training phase and allows you to have more meaningful discussions. Coaching becomes more impactful because rather than explaining concepts, you can discuss how those concepts are relevant to the individual or their roles.

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The events team at Simpler Media Group, publisher of CMSWire and Reworked, strives to keep our readers and community informed about our two conferences, the DX Summit and the Digital Workplace Experience.