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The Results Are In – Virtual Training Is Simply Better

June 29th, 2011

ON24 Survey Shows Growing Corporate Preference; Sodexo Use Case Illustrates Benefits

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.—June 29, 2011—ON24, the global leader in webcasting and virtual event solutions, today announced survey results illustrating the growing acceptance by human resources and training professionals of virtual solutions for corporate training and HR applications. More than 88% of the respondents stated that virtual training lowers overall training costs, and some 85% find virtual corporate training more convenient than in-person training.

Actual results obtained by Sodexo, the leading provider of integrated food and facilities management services for the education market, support ON24’s survey data. Using ON24’s Virtual Show, Sodexo created an “Education Market Summer Training,” earning high marks for effectiveness and educational benefits while achieving $1.4 million in cost savings when compared to traditional in-person training.

Sodexo’s virtual training and communication strategy underscores the growing need in corporate training to save time and reduce costs while giving end users convenient access to webcasts and downloadable content. More than 48% of the respondents to ON24’s survey feel that virtual training is more efficient, and 77% stated that traveling to physical events is costly and time-consuming compared to logging on to a virtual event. In an era of shrinking budgets, ROI is crucial, and almost 60% of the respondents stated that retention rates for online training were equal to or better than in-person educational sessions.

Sodexo provides food service and facilities management to thousands of schools, colleges and universities around the world, and because school is out, summer is traditionally a time to regroup, reorganize and implement new concepts and programs.

Sodexo’s goals included efficiently reaching more than 4,500 managers scattered across the globe and all 50 states, introducing a new division president, and enabling seasonal workers to conveniently access training content while facilitating employee engagement and connection. The convenience associated with moving training online was important to Sodexo, and some 68% of corporate trainers also find online events more convenient, especially because of the elimination of the set-up and tear-down associated with physical venues.

Sodexo’s training began with a kickoff event that introduced the new division president to more than 450 managers, followed by a live Q&A session. Subsequent webcast events featured subject matter experts on a particular topic – “special guests” who helped drive attendance and participation in online chat sessions. Content was refreshed every two weeks, and seasonal and part-time employees were provided with convenient on-demand access to webcasts, downloadable technical content and career development materials.

By delivering documents electronically rather than in printed form, Sodexo’s summer training was also more earth-friendly. Similarly, 56% of ON24’s survey respondents feel that online events are “greener” than in-person training meetings.

“Our survey data reveal that virtual training continues to gain mindshare and traction across a broad range of industries because it is a proven way to reduce expenses, increase convenience, and provide a ‘greener’ alternative to physical events,” said Denise Persson, CMO of ON24. “The Education Market Summer Training is a great example of the value that online events deliver to training and HR functions. Using the ON24 platform, Sodexo achieved massive cost savings and involved and engaged their global team.”

In addition to cost savings, other results show the impact and value of Sodexo’s virtual training:

• Some 90% of managers (4,050 total) registered

• 9,322 webcasts viewed

• 3,082 scheduled chat sessions

• 1,175 peer-to-peer communications

• 50,168 presentations downloaded

Furthermore, Sodexo’s own internal benchmark surveys rated the online training superior to previous live trainings in learning effectiveness, usefulness of information and job impact.

Virtual Tools for HR Applications: Additional Survey Findings

ON24 survey data also show that HR and training executives see the value of other virtual applications as well. Some 67% of those surveyed agreed that virtual environments allow HR professionals to allocate their time more efficiently overall; 62% felt that HR activities such as annual benefits enrollment and employee certification and testing programs would be easier if conducted online; and 54% cited the ease of conducting new hire orientation online.

According to recent ON24 market research evaluating the behavior of virtual event attendees, 67% of the respondents felt “more empowered to talk to anyone” in an online event environment. ON24’s most recent survey supports that finding and also illustrates the usefulness of virtual environments as a tool for organizations to address sensitive HR issues. Current results show that employees are reluctant to discuss a number of workplace issues in person, including:

  • Disagreements with managers (54%)
  • Sexual harassment claims (50%)
  • Asking for a raise or additional benefits (35%)
  • Performance reviews (31%)

The participants in ON24’s survey were corporate human resources, continuing education and training executives. Over 3,000 HR professionals were polled on the use of virtual communication and training tools compared to the use of traditional in-person methods.

About ON24, Inc.

The recognized global market share leader, ON24 provides webcasting and virtual environments for corporate communications and demand generation. The ON24 platform is a complete Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) cloud offering; no deployment resources or audience downloads are required. ON24 offers fully integrated, enterprise-wide solutions for applications ranging from partner expos, user conferences and trade shows to training and company town hall meetings. More than 750 organizations, including IBM, Cisco, CA Technologies, Merck, AstraZeneca, Fiserv, Credit Suisse, GE and Oracle, rely on ON24. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices throughout the world. For more information, visit