Top 5 Best Practices for Managing Training for Remote Workers
Did you know that, according to a Gallup poll, 33% of US workers are always working remotely—and two-thirds of these remote workers want to continue working remotely? This trend, because of the current pandemic and changes in the way we work online, is only going to grow in the future.
If you run a remote company, then you want the best training for remote workers. That way, your employees will feel capable of doing the work expected of them and will be excited to learn about how they can improve.
But remote training can be challenging. If you don’t use the right tools or strategies, it can be difficult to engage your employees from a distance. You might find yourself frustrated, looking for ways to apply the usual training methods for a remote workforce.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide. Once you know about the best practices for remote training, you can ensure that your remote team feels engaged, confident, and excited to learn. Read on to learn more.
1. Choose the Right Model
When you’re running remote training, one of the challenges is that you can’t be with your employees face-to-face. As a result, it can be difficult to engage your employees. Fortunately, there are ways to connect with your employees online now because of improvements in remote training tools.
There are three different models you can choose to deliver your online training with. These are asynchronous learning, synchronous learning, and blended learning. Let’s review each of these in detail.
However popular it is these days to meet your employees on Zoom, meeting with your employees live isn’t the only way you can give a remote team training. You can also offer your employees asynchronous learning.
If you have a large team of employees that makes it difficult to have live training, or you have a large number of training materials that require diligent attention to learn, then you’re better off giving your employees an asynchronous learning experience.
For example, if you run an accounting business that follows many rules and regulations, your employees won’t remember all that information by simply looking at some slides during a Zoom call.
With asynchronous learning, it works like this: you put all the training materials online.
These can be slides, guided videos where you film yourself explaining parts of the job, animations, or any combination of these.
You can also have assessments at the end of each segment to ensure your employees learn what they should. After they’ve finished the training, give them access to the learning content so they can look back on certain details or steps when they need to.
If you think your employees would benefit from doing a training together, with a live person leading them, you should consider synchronous learning. While this might not be the best choice for new employee onboarding, when you have to review a large number of materials, it may be a good idea for reviewing rules and regulations with your current employees.
For example, if you run a content-writing company, and the same issues have been occurring over and over with clients, you could schedule a synchronous training with your employees.
In this meeting, you would explain the issue that has come up. In addition to covering it briefly, you could have a Q&A session at the end that helps current employees understand exactly what it is they need to change—and how to do it most efficiently.
When planning your synchronous training, ensure to plan them in advance so that all your employees can attend, no matter what time zone they’re in.
Finally, there’s blended learning. This is a mix of the two types described above. If you want to ensure that your employees have a thorough understanding of your company’s rules and regulations, but you also want to engage them, blended learning is the perfect approach.
To pull off blended learning, it’s smart to come up with a schedule that involves both types of training. Have the training spaced out.
Otherwise, your employees will feel stressed out, as if they have to do the asynchronous training for homework while showing up for the synchronous training at the last minute.
2. Understand Your Employees
One of the best practices for training remote employees is to understand your employees. This is the case for all types of training, whether they’re in-person or remote, but this is even more important when training remotely.
This is because it’s more difficult to communicate when you aren’t face-to-face with someone.
As a result, you need to understand how your employees communicate. In addition to helping you decide on the right type of model (as we discussed above), it will also help you know how to communicate directly with your employees and cover the right subjects during training.
To understand your employees better, ask them these questions:
- What skills do you want to improve on?
- What is your learning style?
- How do you prefer to communicate?
- What would you change about the employee training you’ve had in the past?
Once you’ve asked these questions, you can determine whether you want to provide asynchronous, synchronous, or blended training. Additionally, you can decide what to include in your training for remote workers.
You’ll also know how to best present the information. If your employees are more visual, you can use more diagrams, pictures, and videos.
If they prefer having discussions, you can run synchronous meetings where employees do training exercises with each other.
3. Pay for the Right Tools
Once you’ve decided what to include in your training and how to deliver it, you need to use the right tools. These corporate training solutions make the process of delivering training more seamless. Considering that your employees will already feel at a distance because they’re working remotely, you paying for the right tools will make a huge difference to them.
Webinar and Conferencing Platform
One of the most important elements of a successful synchronous remote training is having a webinar and conferencing platform that can meet your needs. While you can use Skype for free, it doesn’t have as many features as alternatives you pay for.
When looking for the right webinar and conferencing platform, ensure that it makes it possible for you to broadcast your video to a large number of people, exchange files, chat over text, access other desktops remotely, and screen share.
It should also include breakout rooms. If you don’t know what a breakout room is, it’s a place where learners can break into smaller groups to discuss content or test each other.
If you plan on having asynchronous training, then you should invest in a virtual classroom software solution. These will make it possible for you to create breakout rooms (which is also a feature with paid Zoom) and provide virtual assessments.
We certainly suggest a virtual classroom solution that has breakout rooms.
4. Up Engagement
Even though remote training should focus on learning the skills needed to get the job done, you should see these training as an opportunity for your employees to engage with each other and managers. Remote training methods are more effective if your employees feel engaged.
Additionally, if you give your employees opportunities to engage with each other, they’ll feel connected to each other and, therefore, to your company.
This has two benefits. First, when your employees feel connected to each other, they will enjoy going to work, catching up on Slack first thing in the morning with their cup of coffee. This will make them more productive at work.
Additionally, if your employees feel more connected to your company, they will want your company to succeed. This will make them work harder at not only meeting their own goals but also at making the larger goals of your company happen.
Don’t forget about the power of embedding company culture into your training, too.
To engage your employees during training, use these strategies:
- Put employees in groups to practice learned skills
- Have employees work on the answer to questions together in groups
- Allow for socialization at the beginning and the end of the training
- Reserve time at the end of the meeting for questions
- Reserve time at the end of the meeting for brainstorming solutions together
- If it’s a small enough group, try to get everyone involved (for example, asking someone who hasn’t expressed their thoughts yet for their opinion)
These last two are especially important. By reserving time to answer questions, your employees will feel that you take their questions and concerns seriously. Additionally, if you invite them to share their ideas with you, they will feel valued.
We also recommend that you follow up with your employees to keep them engaged afterward, thinking about the content and their newly-acquired skills. One way to do this is by sending prompts and questions related to the training later in the week (for example, by posting it in a Slack channel).
5. Be Aware of Time and Plan Breaks
When you’re doing an employee training that isn’t remote, it’s easier to keep everyone paying attention for a longer amount of time. Of course, there will always be people who are looking up at the clock on the wall or getting up for another coffee a little too often. But when it comes to online training, it’s even more of a challenge to get your employees to pay attention.
This is for several reasons. First, there are distractions while your employees are working online. Even if their browser is blocked during work hours, they can still spend time on their phone or have family members distracting them if they work from home.
Additionally, it’s difficult to pay attention when in an online setting. Because you aren’t directly in front of them when providing a training, it will be more difficult for them to retain the information you’re giving them.
For this reason, you need to keep your training short. Otherwise, they’ll drag on.
Instead of having one long training, plan a series of sessions. Depending on your company’s needs, this should be once a week or once a month.
Additionally, in the training themselves, allow time for breaks. This will give your employees time to take in the information you’ve just given them—after which you can continue to cover additional topics.
The Effectiveness of Remote Training
Whether or not you have a remote workforce, your employees can benefit from remote training instead of in-person training. Major companies such as Deloitte, Target, and Microsoft are now choosing to go fully remote instead of having their employees work in the office.
According to HR Daily Advisor, this is in large part due to how much easier it is to provide training remotely instead of in-person. This is a much more effective way of training than in-person, especially if you’re using the asynchronous learning model.
There are additional benefits to remote training. According to Dharshan Chandran, who writes about remote work for Whatfix, benefits of remote training include that:
- It’s more affordable since you only need to pay for the right tools
- It’s streamlined since all your employees are receiving the right information
- It’s controlled because you’re in charge of what content is out there
- It’s flexible, especially with asynchronous learning, because employees can complete training at any time in any time zone
- It’s measurable, which means you can track engagement and success after training, as well as knowledge learned with tests
As you can see, remote training is incredibly effective. Once you’ve chosen the right model, understand your employees’ learning styles and needs, have the right tools, and use the right strategies to make your training engaging and effective, you’ll be successful with your remote training.
Need to Know More About Training for Remote Workers?
Do you need to know more about training for remote workers? Maybe you want some help deciding on which model is right for you, or you want to learn more about how to use the different tools we’ve mentioned in this article.
Whatever information you need, we’re here to help. At Curious Lion Learning, we’re experts when it comes to remote training. We also provide services to help you put together your training. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us here.