As technology evolves, more businesses are finding that they no longer need to have employees in an office setting, planted at desks all day, to accomplish goals. As more workers trade in their suits for sweatpants, many companies are looking for the best ways to set up a remote workforce. Employees are often happy to take on this type of work, but it does pose a few challenges for employers, particularly in the beginning.
One big concern for many companies is how they will train their remote employees. Whether you need to show a new employee the ropes or you need to teach an entire team how to use a new tool or convey some process changes, remote learning can be incredibly helpful. Here are eight tips on how you can effectively train remote employees with modern technological tools.
1. Respect Employees’ Time
Some managers enjoy developing materials and organizing training, but try to resist the temptation to go overboard. Many remote employees are also juggling personal responsibilities at home, so be sure to respect their time, particularly if the training is unpaid and takes place during their downtime. Be sure to streamline the information you deliver and the way you deliver it, particularly in the beginning.
2. Allow Employees to Learn at their Own Pace
Many people turn to remote work because they appreciate the flexible schedule, allowing them to work during their peak productivity hours while staying on top of family and caregiving commitments. In a survey carried out by Indeed, three fourths of respondents said work-life balance was the biggest advantage of working remotely.
Your training should be designed with this in mind. Take care not to impose a strict schedule on employees; create self-paced learning modules that people can work through at times that suit them. You may need to set a deadline for when the entire training must be completed, but giving employees the flexibility within that time frame to structure their own training schedule is ideal.
3. Record Live Sessions
Depending on the type of training you need to deliver, it may be necessary to hold live sessions from time to time. However, despite your best efforts, it may not always be possible for everyone to be available at the same date and time. Therefore, you should make a point of recording scheduled training sessions so that employees who are unable to attend will be able to catch up. These recordings can also be useful for those who did attend but need to review certain concepts again.
4. Choose the Right Software
Remote working relies heavily on technology, and having the correct software can help you deliver training to remote employees in an efficient and flexible manner. There are plenty of options on the market, so you should start by considering your budget as well as the number of people who will ultimately need to access the software as some tools charge according to the number of users.
You will also need to consider what type of features your training will require. For example, will you need the ability to share your screen or monitor each person’s progress? Once you have narrowed down the field to a few offerings that seem to be a good fit, request a trial to ensure the software will meet your needs and is intuitive to use.
5. Take Advantage of Technology
The software used for delivering training isn’t the only way technology can assist in training remote employees. There are plenty of free options that you likely already use in the course of doing business that can help your remote training efforts.
For example, tools such as Zoom and your office’s Slack channel can also be incorporated into training for collaboration among students on projects, posting videos and even streaming lectures. You may also consider setting up some group meets online via Zoom to give your employees the chance to see one another and feel more connected and part of the team.
6. Make it Easy for Employees to Access Training
Make sure all of the training sessions that you add are easy to access, and always clearly communicate updates to the team. This may mean sending emails a few days ahead of time with a link to the virtual session, perhaps with some screenshots of the virtual classroom included.
It is often a good idea to let students know what to expect ahead of time, including a checklist of what they will need to know how to do to get the most out of an upcoming session, such as using the chat feature or muting their microphone. It is also useful to send another e-mail a few minutes before a class goes live with the URL so that everyone will have the information handy.
7. Make Yourself Available Online
If you are using live training sessions, let your students know how long you will be online afterward to answer their questions or address any issues that arise. You could also consider scheduling check-ins with each student one-on-one from time to time to make sure that the training is going smoothly. Let your students know how you prefer to be contacted outside of training sessions if they have any questions or concerns, such as via e-mail, telephone or chat.
8. Be Prepared for Technical Issues
Although fast internet connections are often required for remote work, there is still no guarantee that employees will not encounter technical problems when working from home.
To reduce the chances of technical issues interrupting your training efforts, make sure your employees have the right software and know how to access IT support before training gets underway. You should also ensure that all of your e-learning content works on multiple devices. That way, if a student has a problem with their computer, they will still be able to follow along on a tablet or mobile device.
Contact the Employee Benefits and HR Consultants
Managing a business in the modern era is full of unexpected challenges. For help developing an effective remote workforce and delivering training to remote workers, contact the experienced employee benefits and HR consultants at Business Benefits Group (BBG) today.