By Mary Kelly
The continued push for flexible working hours and locations continues to expand and can be challenging for leaders who want to keep top talent, provide “working from home” opportunities, and stay productive.
Leaders know that training and developing their people is a crucial component for keeping them engaged and proficient. Workers claim they want to be both personally and professionally developed to become more successful in the workplace.
One way businesses can provide flexibility, even when they have employees back on site, is to create training that can be done from remote locations. Training can be more effective when conducted at a time and place that is most convenient for the employee. It allows workers the flexibility they want, and can be a better experience than the “everyone has to meet in the conference room at 8 AM” approach.
How can organizations provide quality training that actually benefits both the employee and the organization?
1. Set expectations for the training outcomes
When it comes to ensuring the success of any training, it’s important to provide your employees a comprehensive walk-through of what they should expect to learn.
If leaders don’t provide direction and set expectations, workers may think this training is just another mandatory program designed to check a box for compliance or HR. They may not take it seriously. Leaders need to let their people know why they were given the training.
2. Have quality content
This is the biggest challenge I see when implementing training. Many leaders delegate the job of finding good topics and programs to the HR department. The HR department is not always clear on the leaders’ goals. Sometimes the HR department finds the cheapest possible option, and the outcome is worse than if they had not done any training at all.
For example, I just worked with an organization whose teams loved the prospect of having remote training on Effective Time Management, but they complained about the first series of programs they received. Why? The programs were poorly orchestrated, poorly conducted, and contained out-of-date content. Employees (rightfully) believed that this was a waste of their time, and the irony that the topic was called Effective Time Management was not lost on them.
The leader called me to do damage control. Employees were now jaded on remote learning, and they were wildly unenthused about going through another iteration without some kind of guarantee that it would be better.
Doing training right means getting it right the first time.
3. Assign group facilitators to hold remote learners accountable
Employees who have just started training remotely may find it a paradigm shift. They may try to multi-task the training, such as allowing the videos to run on one computer while they peruse social media on another. To make remote learning successful, assign a facilitator who may be able to be online at the same time and create a more interactive experience.
4. Schedule frequent supervisory check-ins after the event
Social isolation is one of the crucial challenges in the virtual world, even if it is only a day or two per week. Employees, including your training staff, may also suffer from this unique challenge. Frequent check-ins give your remote employees a sense of community. It gives them the feeling of being heard and acknowledged. If those workers are left ignored, it could potentially impact their training and learning enthusiasm, which decreases productivity.
5. Keep tabs on the learner engagement and performance
When you are providing training to your team, you won’t have the same level of visibility on your remote team as you would if you were in a physical office environment. Ignoring the learners for an extended period leads to poor team engagement and performance. Remember, engagement and performance go hand in hand. To ensure your remote team accomplishes both, help participants understand the objective of the training so that they can comply with their roles.
6. Help people focus
The world is full of distractions, your remote learners may get distracted by everything they need to accomplish, both for work and at home. The same task might require more time as your team may struggle in a remote environment. Developing focus and priorities helps people plan their work, track their projects, eliminate what is unnecessary, and meet project deadlines.
Great training can help.
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