As workspaces become more remote, businesses need to take extra measures to ensure their employees receive enough training support.

The Covid-19 pandemic has marked a rapid change in how businesses conduct employee training. Some companies already had remote work options and training programs in place, but for many, the transition has been sudden and unexpected. Online and work-from-home teams are incredibly common now, but the need for ongoing employee training and improvement hasn’t changed. As workspaces become more remote, businesses need to take extra measures to ensure their employees receive enough training support.

We’ve gathered a few tips for training your remote workforce that can work for a variety of businesses.

1. Review Your Initial Training Outline

What were your training goals at the beginning of the year? Before you select your online training courses, review what you initially wished to accomplish. Then, evaluate how far you and your team have come to completing those goals. Choose specific remote training courses in areas that fill the gaps between these goals and your team’s current skill level.

Identifying your training goals and areas for improvement allows you to set specific milestones for achieving them. You may wish to have a company-wide or department-wide set of goals, and then individual training and development that’s tailored to each worker. Be sure to establish a timeline for accomplishing your goals and schedule times when you’ll check in to see how the training is going.

2. Align Training With Company Missions

What are your company goals? Is it fast customer service? Comprehensive analysis of certain topics? Choose training courses that contribute to accomplishing the mission statement of your business and the goals that you set in order to grow your business. When the training reinforces the company culture and goals, it’s more relatable for employees. Plus, they can see how the training courses support their own job requirements and service goals.

Or, you may have shifted your company goals as an effect of the pandemic. In these cases, your remote training courses should support your new initiatives and the new goals you’ve set for your team.

“Hard skills” tend to lend themselves better for remote training than the softer skills that align with the more nuanced, emotion-driven aspects of a company values mission statement. Without the daily in-person interactions in your office, it can be easy to lose sight of the importance of your business’s values. This makes presenting new training initiatives in a framework of your mission statement more valuable for your team.

You may also choose to highlight real-life instances where the new skills your team is developing have had a positive effect on customer service and allowed them to put your company values into action. Ask for feedback from your team, and incorporate a “sharing time” during your group meetings so that your team can learn from one another how to use their new skills to demonstrate your values.

3. Get Employee Feedback For Their Objectives

Setting goals for your team as a business owner or manager is critical to growing your business and hitting your own bench marks for success. However, when developing your online training program, it’s important to get feedback from your employees, as well. They may suggest certain areas that they need more training or a certain aspect of your industry that they’d like to learn more about.

When you’re developing individual training plans, it’s an ideal time for a discussion between you and each member of your team to clarify your expectations and gain insight into how they see their training and development proceeding. Individualized, private consultations with each employee also is a chance for you to discover what they need to know, but don’t want to admit that they don’t know. Some workers may embrace the new technology and work from home, while others may be floundering. Helping your team with focus and organization can also aid their ability to complete training in a timely manner.

In some of these cases, workers could benefit from smaller “micro-lessons” for things like video conferencing, putting together webinars or comprehensive PowerPoint presentations, or other things that they now need to be effective with your customers.

4. Create a Centralized Cloud Location For Training Resources

Your staff can’t train and take online courses if they can’t find them or can’t access them. Create a centralized training resource location that can be accessed remotely by everyone on your staff, and make sure that the training materials are accessible.

Even if your team has passed the modules for each training course, they may still want to access the training materials for a refresher or if they’ve forgotten a certain step. Or, you may have dedicated trainers that need ready access to all of your training materials in order to onboard new employees or coach those they’re mentoring.

5. Allow For Choices When Learning

Look for courses that are optimized for learning on the go, designed to be accessible from a variety of devices including tablets and smartphones. Your team may still be logging in to the traditional 9 to 5 workday schedule, or they may be working as they’re able, early in the morning or at night. Some may be using their phones or tablets to accomplish tasks, so choosing training courses that are optimized for many types of devices gives your team greater flexibility to complete the courses.

Many of your employees are adjusting to the demands of their job coupled with the challenges of working from home, including “co-workers” of partners, pets, and children. Some may still need the structure of a regular workday, while others may have to split up their tasks into smaller chunks of time, in order to deal with the demands of daily life. Allowing flexibility with training accommodates everyone’s schedules, a consideration that your team will appreciate. It’s important to test what they’re learning, but give each person discretion for the manner in which they get there.

6. Make Training Interactive

Most people are more likely to retain information if they’re engaging back and forth whether instructor and have the opportunity to practice the new skills they’re learning. When training is interactive, it helps the students pay more attention and develop proficiency with the skill set. Plus, interactive training allows for real-time questions and answers, which reinforces the training goals.

Interactive training is especially important for new employees, as the company orientation period is the time where they’re introduced to your company culture and values, as well as being invited to participate in the camaraderie that makes your team operate efficiently. When your training courses mostly consist of your employees being talked at, instead of engaging with, it’s easy for them to tune out and become indifferent.

Training that incorporates both video and text presentation helps break up a little of the monotony of online learning. Gamification and live discussion forums allow your team members to bounce ideas off one another and discuss their impressions of the training material. They can also develop, as a group, ways to incorporate their new skills into their current job requirements.

High-quality employee training increases confidence and job satisfaction.

Remote training and learning ensure that your employees stay abreast of changes in your industry and keep enhancing their skills. Developing a full-scale orientation and learning program for new hires that can be done remotely makes it easier to onboard new employees, keeping your staff operating at optimum levels. Plus, incorporating distance learning allows your team to learn at their own pace, mastering each module before moving on to the next. Good e-learning programs can help you grow your business and improve customer service.

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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Let's Talk! | Twitter

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