Roop Bhumbra, head of talent development at Hays UK and Ireland, shares her advice for training remote teams.
The ability to learn any time and anywhere has suddenly become the new expectation since much of the world of work began operating remotely in the wake of Covid-19.
It’s widely realised that mobile devices break down barriers to learning and give employees more freedom as learners. But how exactly do you go about offering engaging, high-quality training from afar?
Here’s how to keep your staff learning and developing, no matter where they’re based or what their working pattern is.
Establish your delivery method
The first thing to note is that remote training has come a long way since its inception. There are now a huge variety of different models, tools and platforms that are worth exploring. Conferencing and webinar platforms, for example, are still a popular option for remote training.
A conference or webinar platform will operate in more or less the same way as virtual meetings. At a minimum, make sure the platform you’re using can screenshare, instant message and exchange files.
Learning management systems are usually apps or single suites that help you set the session up, invite attendees, assign learning materials and track results. Similarly, learning experience platforms are entire portals that facilitate training. They’re perhaps the most flexible option when it comes to remote training in terms of how you can design and deliver courses.
Decide which method will work best for your staff and deliver on your organisational needs, and be open to trialling new platforms and tools as they emerge.
Don’t skip the pre-planning
Your training is only as successful as your pre-planning allows it to be, so take the time before the training is rolled out to get it right. It’s also a good opportunity to troubleshoot any problems before they have a chance to arise, whether that’s to do with the platform you’re using or the learning content itself.
Remote employees will want to begin their training by knowing what the process will look like and what the expectations are, so outline a schedule reflecting the aims of the training and the overall principles it will explore – but save on going into the nitty gritty of the course itself.
Incorporate a variety of learning materials
Once the delivery method and schedule are established, decide on how exactly the content will be conveyed.
If the training involves a group of learners participating simultaneously, consider including such things as presentations delivered by the training lead, acting or role-play exercises to illustrate different concepts and opportunities for discussion and questioning.
On the other hand, if the training is to be completed independently, look at incorporating integrated video content, interactive games and activities and knowledge checks and quizzes.
Wrap up with post-training
The idea of post-training is to provide remote employees with the tools to refresh what they learned or build on it in their own time. Sometimes the training session itself might be rushed or come at an inconvenient time, so the opportunity to revisit this is crucial.
Post-training should involve instructive resources that aid employees in implementing what they learned in training. Short videos are a great post-training tool as they can be accessed easily by remote workers and are a bite-sized, digestible way of revisiting the content of the training itself.
Proper measurement of learner progress is vital for individuals undertaking training and for the company offering it. Which aspects you track will depend on the goal of the training. For example, you might just be interested in how many people completed the training.
Or, if you are looking to improve your current offering, perhaps look at how long learners took to complete it or what their scores were in a particular area.
The right training for now
It’s important to realise that training shouldn’t be a chore employees undertake only when things go pear-shaped, but a regular activity that’s part of the culture of an organisation. Training opportunities should reflect current industry trends and innovations, meaning that now is a crucial time for leaders to refresh what they have on offer.
With many professionals working remotely for the first time in their careers, wellbeing has been under the spotlight as the impact of blended personal and professional lives takes its toll. Therefore, wellbeing training ought to be offered as a priority to address such issues as mental and physical health, work-life balance and work-related stress.
Communication should be another focus of current training, particularly for managers who are leading remote teams and relying on online communication tools, such as Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts and Zoom. This will be a learning curve for many, so training on this will be hugely valuable.
Investing in engaging training that is tailor-made for the here and now might seem unattainable for many organisations, many of which are just trying to keep afloat during the current economic conditions. Using the right tools will help your teams thrive from home and feel supported as the world of work changes.
By Roop Bhumbra
Roop Bhumbra is head of talent development at Hays UK and Ireland.