The coronavirus pandemic has changed the very definition and understanding of offices and workplaces, globally. According to flexjobs.com, 3.4% of the total U.S. workforce were remote workers even before the coronavirus crisis.
The current global scenario only leads us to conclude that this remote work trend is only going to rise in the coming times.
Remote work arrangement if managed properly has actually given a boost to employee productivity and engagement levels.
GitLab’s Remote Work Survey report (covering population across Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States) highlights some interesting stats – 83% of respondents say they are able to accomplish all of their work tasks remotely and around 82% say remote working is the way of the future.
52% of the Australian respondents say that employers can benefit from improved employee loyalty and retention if they offer a remote working environment. Employees who work remotely also report being more productive (59%) and efficient (48%).
While most organizations have now adapted to and are also thriving on the new normal, a challenge that they still seem to struggle with, is launching and supporting fully-remote employee training programs.
Moreover, considering remote work is here to stay, remote training programs for employees becomes all the more important in the long run.
94% of employees would stay with a company longer if there was an investment in learning – LinkedIn.
Here are some of the best practices organizations can follow to make the most of your remote employee training.
1. Make a realistic & reasonable plan
Draft a reasonable and realistic plan around which remote training programs and initiatives should be implemented. Set short term goals that help keep your employees focused, ensure business continuity, and also increase productivity levels among employees.
A very effective way of identifying the true training needs and laying down relevant training plans is conducting a Training Needs Analysis (TNA). Training Needs Analysis/Assessment enables organizations to identify the crucial performance or growth gaps that exist and bridge these with the right interventions.
A TNA can help create a better training strategy as companies can zero in on core deficiencies, address these in a timely & effective manner with the right training initiatives and speed up transition.
2. Communicate well and proactively
Communication is the key factor that will make or break your training initiatives. What does effective communication imply? It is about –
- Communicating the training plan right
- Ensuring clarity in flow of information
- Maintaining transparency in training process
- Ensuring alignment of goals among employees
- Being responsive towards employees’ concerns & queries
- Ensuring a regular upgrade of guidelines, protocols, etc.
All these elements sum up the very basis of a successful remote training program an organization undertakes.
3. Remember, time is of essence
Remote work has changed the very dynamics of how we work today. Working from home is not just about managing work, in addition to this, it’s also about balancing work with taking care of kids/family, pets, handling household chores (trust me, there are a lot). Thus, organizations need to be sensitive towards their employees’ time.
Communicating essential information in the most crisp & concise way is the key. Pick a time slot that is convenient for your team. Try and ensure these are not in addition to the hours they already spend working for you daily, you do not want to over-burden your team.
Everyone may not be clocking the same working hours, therefore, arrange for training that can be accessed by employees as and when they need it. In case of live-stream training, a web link can be provided to employees, to refer to later. If some bits of information can be imparted or a module can be explained on a simple Slack chat, go for that, it’s a time saver.
Offer proactive response support to your employees whether it’s for remote tools being used, or any other glitch that they may face. By respecting their time and providing proactive support to your employees, when they need it, you are also building a higher level of trust, connection and employee engagement.
4. Create a training log
Documenting training programs launched become all the more crucial, especially now, when we are not stationed at one place. Any kind of misunderstandings or cracks in the training program, is a serious problem that needs to be taken care of.
In these times, when in-house training is not possible, documentation becomes specifically helpful, especially for programs that include certain certifications.
A strong and clear documentation process helps keep training programs consistent, uniform and seamless. Keeping a tab on – what training framework is to be followed, what modules are to be used and what kind of training resources and tools are to be deployed (presentations, slides, virtual tools etc.) is highly essential.
Training initiatives if listed and documented efficiently, can be managed and run successfully from any part of the region and this also helps in keeping the entire team aligned to their growth trajectory.
5. Make the best of the remote technology available
Making use of the right communication tools is yet another winning factor while imparting training remotely. There is no dearth of remote technology software available today; having said that, organizations could leverage tools that they already have, tools that are easy to use and which their teams are most familiar with. This again helps save on time and organizations can focus better on the training agenda. Using the right platforms can make the entire remote training program smoother, clearer and more receptive.
For example, Microsoft Teams or Google Hangouts are still the free and easy options available to connect with your teams virtually, offering essential features of video calls, screen-sharing, chat bots, etc.
The aim is to ensure a higher ROI on training with continuous learning, elevated employee engagement & increased employee efficiency.
Remote work is the new normal and the quicker companies are able to embrace it and adapt to it, the better it will be for their survival and growth.
Identifying the true training needs of their people, leveraging the right technology and following it up with the best digital training approach is the need of the hour for all organizations.
Garima Sharma is Lead – Assessments & Surveys, at GreenThumbs. She is a subject matter expert for Personality Assessments, Talent Management, 360 Degree Appraisals, Employee Engagement, Feedback Surveys, etc.