Learning & Development (L&D) experts share strategies for training remote employee during a time of emergency.
Amid the recent Ebola crisis, organisations have been forced to confront a tough challenge: how do you train and develop a workforce that is spread across the globe?
To answer this question, L&D leaders are turning to online learning solutions that can provide the employee with up-to-date learning on the latest threats and protections.
As an example, leaders at the World Health Organization (WHO) turned to e-learning solutions to help educate their global workforce of scientists about handling the disease without putting themselves at risk.
To help other organisations develop their training courses for remote workers, we reached out to top L&D experts.
We asked them what they considered winning strategies for training remote workers during a time of emergency.
Online Training For Remote Workers
In this pandemic era, organisations are increasingly adopting a virtual workforce comprising remote workers and teleworkers.
Learning & Development (L&D) professionals face the challenge of providing high-quality training to this diverse group.
Many organisations use online training programs to reach remote workers.
However, few have effectively utilised these programs. There is a lack of understanding about how to design and deliver online learning for remote workers.
In order to address the challenges that arise when designing and delivering online learning for remote workers, L&D professionals must first understand the realities of learning this type of workforce.
Organisations are now using approximately one-third of their workforce in a virtual setting.
As more organisations adopt a virtual workforce, L&D professionals must understand how best to meet the learning needs of this diverse group.
Do you know? Cudy LMS can help you provide the tools you need to conduct online learning, click here to find out!
Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.
In Learning, Less is Always More
This is the message from the top learning and development (L&D) experts to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) when asked about what they are doing to train and keep employees working in remote or home offices.
Less is always more mean that it is better to have a few useful learning sessions that help a remote or home employee be more productive than to have many of them that cannot provide enough value.
A learning experience should be designed for the individual’s specific job role and responsibilities rather than for the job title alone.
A home-based employee who is to manage a website, for instance, needs learning in website design and management.
What are the Strategies?
1. Run weekly training
One of the biggest challenges in coaching remote workers is keeping them engaged.
According to Angela Wick, President of BA-Squared Coaching and Training, many companies try to tackle this by running larger training pieces that take place once or twice a year.
Nevertheless, nothing beats the value of smaller, more frequent coaching.
“If you have a big coaching that takes a week—and then, you don’t follow up on it—it’s not as effective as if you run smaller training throughout the year and keep going back to those same concepts repeatedly,” she says.
This means that you should run pieces of learning on the same topic every week, such as updating your workers on any new procedures or policies.
It is not good if you gave long gaps between coaching.
It is better to conduct this training every week, but it is better to do short coaching than none.
Things would be best if you made all learning short and accessible for everyone. These pieces of coaching should be online so that people can access them.
It will be better to use a platform with features such as live chat, audio-video calls, etc. It will be a good start for your business.
2. Ensure that the learning objectives are clear
At the end of each training, ensure that your remote learner knows what they can expect to learn from it and what you expect them to learn.
This will help prevent confusion and frustration when people complete the training, but don’t feel like they learned anything new.
According to Wick, one of the biggest mistakes companies make is not making this clear to their workers.
If they understand why they’re doing something, then they’re much more likely to do it right and be satisfied with the product or service that they provide.
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.
3. Use interactive training tools such as games and quizzes
According to Wick, interactive tools are essential in keeping remote workers engaged in their training.
For a remote learner, if you’re not offering some type of interaction—whether it be a game, or a quiz, or some way that they can not only interact with the information but interact with each other—they’re bored.
They’re disengaged. They lose interest and stop paying attention.
4. Group training by topic and skill level
According to Wick, one of the most common mistakes companies make when training remote workers is grouping all of their workers into one large group.
If you have people who are brand new to the field, and then you have people who are highly experienced in the field—having them all in the same training is probably not going to work very well.
You need to differentiate your learning objectives based on where people are coming from.
This doesn’t mean that you should give all of your new hires separate training from everyone else.
Instead, it means that you should create smaller groups based on topic or skill level, such as “new hires” and “experienced employees.”
Then, you can conduct training sessions that are specific to those groups.
5. Make sure that your remote workers know how they can get help
When you’re training remote workers, it's difficult to provide one-on-one assistance when people need it—especially if you have many employees who work remotely.
However, according to Wick, this doesn’t mean that you should ignore this issue.
If someone is struggling with something, they need to know how they can get help.
If someone has a question or they want to talk about something with an expert—they should have a way of reaching out and getting that kind of help.
One way of doing this is by simply providing contact information for the L&D department at the end of each session.
According to Wick, if people see the L&D department contact info at the end of a training, they’re much more likely to go to that person with their question.
6. Offer ongoing support
One of the biggest problems that companies face when training remote workers is getting them to ask for help when they need it.
According to Wick, one of the best ways to avoid this is by offering ongoing support:
Don’t just give them the information and say, ‘Now go train yourself.’
Make sure there are some resources available for them, and that you have some way of following up with them throughout their development process.
One way to do this is by providing online resources—like our LMS—where people can go whenever they have questions or want to review something on their own time.
You can also provide online learning sessions every week, as we mentioned earlier in this article.
Alternatively, it can extend your existing classroom training system but delivered online courses using our virtual classroom.
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.
7. Demonstrate the value of training—and re-training
According to Wick, one of the biggest problems with remote training is that people rarely appreciate how important it is.
If you just give someone a manual and say, ‘Go train yourself,’ they don’t always see the value of it.
We need to make them understand that there is real value in their getting trained on these things.
One way of doing this, according to Raffo, is by demonstrating the value of training and re-training.
If you take your employees through a learning program and then say, ‘Okay, that was yesterday. Today we’re going to do another one just like it—but this time we’re going to focus on different information. And we’re going to give you some feedback and tell you what worked well and what didn’t work very well in your last session.’ it helps them understand that this is something that they should do regularly.”
8. Give feedback—and make it specific
According to Wick, one of the biggest mistakes that companies make when training remote workers is failing to give them specific feedback.
It’s really important to not just say ‘Great job’ but to actually tell them what they did well and what they could do differently next time.
Especially if you’re going through a program with your employees. It’s really important to let them know specifically what they did well and not just say that everything was great.
It helps reinforce what the real value of the training is—and it helps develop their skills more quickly.
9. Give people time to practice—and keep practising until they get things right
According to Wick, one of the main reasons people struggle with training is because they don’t use the skills they’ve learned in a real-world setting.
A lot of times, people get through the training and they say, ‘Okay, I know how to do this thing. I know what it is. I know how to do it.’
And then when they go back to their job, they don’t practice it. So they’re not really getting any better at it.
According to Wick, one of the best ways to make sure that people use the skills that you’re teaching them is by giving them time to practice—and keep practising until they get things right.
It’s important for organisations to give people some time at the end of a training session or after a learning program to practice what they’ve learned.
And then give them some feedback on how well they did.
If someone doesn’t get something right on their first try, that doesn’t mean that they can’t learn it or that it’s a failure. It just means that they need some more practice with it.
Photo by Oudney Patsika on Pexels.
10. Use the right tools and technology to make training more efficient and effective
According to Wick, there are all kinds of tools and technologies you can use to make training more efficient and effective.
There are programs out there now that are used for online learning and bringing people together from different parts of the world.
This way, they can learn together even though they’re not in the same place.
And there are also a lot of other tools you can use for what we would call online collaboration.
It’s where people can get together online, share information, exchange knowledge, and work on projects together.
As long as you have an excellent program in place, technology can really help with remote learning and employee engagement.
Using the Full Advantages of Online Training for Remote Workers
Today’s workforce is more mobile than ever, and learning strategies need to adapt to this change.
Organisations can no longer rely on traditional classroom-based training that is disconnected from the on-the-job experience.
Instead, organisations must look to the latest learning and training design trends—including blended learning, game-based learning, and mobile learning—to create more engaging training programs.
By focusing on the goals of training and the learner’s needs, organizations can create more effective training programs. They will increase employee engagement and productivity.