According to a study by Gartner, at least 48% of workers will work remotely this year, forcing employees to rethink many of their operating procedures. These include hiring, performance monitoring, and remote training.
Another major trend is an increase in competition for competent, experienced, and qualified workers, now that geographical limitations have less impact.
So, if you’re running your business mostly remotely at present, you need to plan for the future by learning how to train remote employees instead of trying to find new hires in this cut-throat environment.
Keep reading to discover more about employee training for remote workers.
Challenges Associated With Remote Training
Hiring remote personnel comes with enormous cost-saving benefits for both employers and employees. Most of these pertain to time saved during a commute and money saved on renting office space.
Remote employee training isn’t without its challenges, though. These are some of the main stumbling blocks you could encounter:
Lack of In-Person Supervision
Decreased ability to oversee remote workers’ performance has always been a bugbear of remote work. While this might indicate a lack of trust when it comes to performance, lack of supervision can impact remote training significantly.
Often, employees view training as an unnecessary evil, and won’t study as hard without someone looking over their shoulder. The trick is to make sure you don’t waste their time with irrelevant courses, or training for the sake of training.
Limited Access to Information
It’s difficult enough to get information out of co-workers in an office setting, let alone remotely. Some of the most common stumbling blocks for remote workers include:
- How do I access the training?
- How do I ask questions?
- How does it all work?
- When is my next session?
Fortunately, nowadays, you can keep all this information in one place, allowing employees to access it via a central HR platform, like monday.com, WorkBright, and BizMerlinHR.
These systems are instrumental as a contact point for issues surrounding how to train a new employee remotely, too. That’s because they represent the worker’s first interactions with your business.
Technical issues can hamper productivity and training in any setting, but they’re particularly disruptive during online training sessions.
There’s not much you can do to eliminate the possibility of internet and VPN failures during training. Your only option is to try and avoid these by installing the best systems you can to limit these occurrences.
Distractions are the death blow of effective training. Employees must have a quiet space where they can focus on the subject matter fully.
One way to get around this is to offer a degree of flexibility in your training schedule. This way, they can sign in for their training session when they’re able to work undistracted, such as early in the morning or late at night.
The existence of these and other challenges only serves to highlight the importance of planning your training effectively, while taking potential problems into account.
Steps for Setting Up Remote Training Systems
If you started tinkering with the possibility of online training before now, you can probably skip through some of the steps below. If you’re starting from scratch, here’s what you need to do:
1. Choose a Way to Deliver Training
Most people think of remote training as a type of online meeting. This is a common type of training nowadays, but we all know that one type of learning rarely suits everyone.
These are some options available when choosing an online learning format:
These training sessions involve simultaneous participation by several learners, like classroom teaching in an offline setting.
Synchronous learning has a set time frame and depends on everyone having space in their schedule at that time. To get around scheduling difficulties, you can run smaller sessions at different times and allow attendees to book on that suits them.
If your business struggles with low employee engagement, this type of learning can help to bring them back into the fold.
Asynchronous learning is the type of learning employed widely by the earliest remote-learning universities. Learners access their training materials in their own time and self-pace their studies to meet specified deadlines.
You don’t need an instructor present during their learning session, but students must have access to assistance if needed. Asynchronous learning relies on video format as well as text-based content.
As the name suggests, blended learning combines both asynchronous and synchronous learning instances. This flexible approach allows you to customize your training to suit your company goals, as well as your employees’ preferences and schedules.
2. Set Up the Tools You Need
If you find that Skype or Zoom meets your needs when it comes to training, and you’re happy to record results and progress manually, that’s fine. Yet, you’re missing out on the advantages of technological solutions to your training requirements.
The latest remote training solutions help save you time, record results accurately and automatically, and enhance the experience for learners.
These are some options to consider:
Webinar and Conferencing Tools
Remote conferencing tools differ from the in-person ones you’re used to using for training purposes. As a minimum, they should offer the following features:
- Screensharing ability
- Remote access to participants’ desktops
- Text-based chat
- File exchange facilities
- Broadcasting abilities
Popular conferencing tools include Zoom, Zoho, and Bluejeans, while you should consider BigBlueButton or Larksuite for your virtual classroom needs.
A Learning Management System
An LMS allows you to deploy, manage, and track your training efforts.
A good LMS includes the following functionality:
- Invitation to remote sessions
- Assignment of learning materials
- Results tracking
- Integration with conferencing and virtual classroom software
More advanced ones may offer the ability to create online training from existing materials like videos, quotes, and illustrations.
Authoring Tools for e-Learning
Authoring tools help enhance your LMS by assisting with the creation of engaging, valuable asynchronous training. The best ones hinge on HTML5, support a variety of output styles, and allow for interactive content.
It’s best to choose a tool that packages your sessions, so they’re accessible via any browser as well as tablets, and mobile devices.
3. Prepare Relevant Learning Materials
This step depends on the tools you’ve selected before.
Synchronous learning demands that you prepare presentations ahead of the scheduled classes and accumulate references and videos to complement your session.
For asynchronous learning, you’ll need to find appropriate e-Learning courses, videos, and texts to include in your coursework.
Blended learning requires a little of both.
A good authoring tool helps you put these all together to maximize your employees’ learning experience.
4. Get Your Training Underway and Track Results
If you’re using an LMS, it’s easy to schedule your training sessions, invite attendees, give them access to their learning instances, and set up deadlines. The LMS will also keep track of your employees’ attendance and tabulate their results.
It can also help you use these metrics to track the effectiveness of your teaching methods and materials.
Virtual classroom training is a little more complicated, here’s how to pull it off successfully:
Set Up an Effective Training Schedule
A consistent, transparent schedule encourages higher attendance. It helps people prioritize attendance by planning their days around other deadlines.
A well-thought-out schedule ensures learners can easily fit it into their schedule and focus fully on the material. Speak to your managers about deadlines they’ve already set for their employees, so your training sessions don’t disrupt your business goals.
Be sure to manage everything in your LMS calendar to avoid overlooking anything important.
Implement a Pre-Class Checklist
Create a checklist for yourself and address it before every session. This ensures you have everything you need at hand when the training begins.
You should include a list of the key aims for the session to make sure you cover them all in the session.
This helps eliminate disruptions in training and helps you prevent embarrassing moments.
Preparation is critical when presenting an online training session. So, make sure you have a tech professional on standby throughout your session to assist both you and your students.
That way, they can assist quickly if the systems become inaccessible or your VPN connection disappears.
Make Access Easy
You don’t need to send constant reminder emails concerning upcoming training sessions. The initial invitation, acknowledgment of their RSVP, and a reminder sent a few days before the session is sufficient.
Include a link to the virtual classroom with the final reminder. Be sure to advise participants of any training materials they need to bring along, e.g a pen and notepad.
Include Orientation at the Outset
You must explain your expectations to students at the outset and establish some ground rules. At this time, you can describe what they should do if they experience technical issues.
Other common rules include:
- Keeping their microphones on mute unless they’re speaking
- Muting mobile phones
- Closing their email and other windows
- Using the comments section to ask questions
It’s a good idea to include a slide outlining how the training system works before you get started. Don’t assume everyone knows.
Go the Extra Mile
You should stay online after class to assist with any issues, answer questions, and hand out assignments. You can also use this time to schedule more in-depth sessions with those who need a little extra help.
Remember to tell the students about this while wrapping up the session.
Keep Learners Engaged
We’re all guilty of wandering minds during a training session, but it’s difficult to tell if you’re losing learners’ attention during a remote session.
Don’t lose them, there are a few ways you can keep your students on their toes.
- Introduce gamification like keeping scores of questions answered correctly
- Award certificates for top performers or those who complete the course
- Keep sections short and compact
If you find that some students aren’t engaging in the session at all, think of ways to involve them. You can ask them questions or if they know of any real-life examples they can share with the class.
Remote Training for New Hires
Initial training sessions are an important part of orientation in any work environment. They’re vital for new hires who won’t have the benefit of their peers to show them the ropes.
At the outset, this training should focus on the following:
- Familiarizing employees with company processes and culture
- Encouraging inclusion in remote teams
A study by McKinsey reveals that 51% of people quit their jobs because they don’t experience a sense of belonging.
Positive onboarding experiences help employees to feel welcome and can sow the seeds of ongoing loyalty for new hires. It’s proven to reduce turnover and enhance productivity in both remote and in-house situations.
Some top tips for effective onboarding training include:
Involve your new hire in training before their first day by sending them information about company policies and culture as soon as you hire them. This helps them feel less overwhelmed and gives them a hint of what to expect.
Provide a Clear Path
In your initial interactions, describe the path you have in mind for your new hire. Describe any further training you’ll offer along the way and how you’ll involve them.
Welcome Them Publicly
A company-wide email welcoming your new hire helps them feel important. It can also encourage other employees to reach out and welcome them personally. This helps them feel like part of the team.
Training Is Vital for Your Business Today
With effective remote training, you avoid the race for new hires and retain your employees by growing and nurturing their skills.
Ongoing training might have represented a legislative box you needed to tick before, but now it’s coming to the fore as a vital business tactic.
As a modern-day business owner, you’re always looking for ways to help your remote workers thrive. Browse our blog for more information on growing your business during these innovative, tech-driven times.