As many people are going to be working remotely for the foreseeable future, it’s important to find ways to keep teams engaged and up to date. Just because you’re not able to be in the same office doesn’t mean things like training should get neglected.
Training is one of the best ways to keep employees motivated, and teaching them new skills or training them so that they can do their jobs better is also going to benefit the business.
If you’re worried about training a team remotely, we take a look at five ways to make it useful and effective:
Why it’s important to get your training strategy on-point
Training remotely can pose a number of problems but one of the biggest issues is that itis difficult for team leaders and managers to check progress and ensure that the training is effective. While team members struggle with the lack of supervision to resolve problems and questions with the training.
It can be easier for a remote team to switch off while they’re receiving training — especially if they are sitting alone reading through a presentation or learning resources. If the training isn’t engaging enough then they are more likely to be distracted, or simply not complete it.
Tips for training remote teams
Create an engaging training course
While there are plenty of training resources already out there, they're often too general for a specific team and they're more likely to lose interest when they're being shown things that aren't relevant to them. Invest some time and money into creating engaging training courses that can be used again and again. This way you can make them tailored specifically to the team and roles, sharing useful information and skills that are going to help them to do their job better.
Don't just set up a video meeting with your team and talk through some slideshows, work with a professional video production company to create high-quality training videos that your team is going to really learn from. You can set up a group video call or chat while the team watches the videos so that they can raise questions — and also make it clear that they can reach out afterward for clarification on anything.
A good place to look for guides and recommendations for online course creation is Learning Revolution — they run through everything from screen recording software to platforms to upload and share your training course. And if your course is relevant to your wider industry, you could actually make money from your training materials by selling them — as well as bringing in extra money, this can help to establish your business as an industry expert that's leading the way.
Set goals and objectives
It can be hard to evaluate how effective your remote training is, so you need to set some SMART goals and objectives for the course. This will help your team to understand what they should be picking up on from the sessions and will give you an insight into whether the training is successful.
Come up with two of three objectives for each session or course such as being able to understand something, learning a new skill, equipment, or process. The goals should then be related to putting this learning into practice. For example, they’re able to complete a certain process on their own, or they increase their output by a certain amount because of what they’ve learned.
Assignments and tests
To fully understand something new, most people will need to put it into practice — especially if you're training them to do something practical or use a piece of software or equipment.
Assign reading materials to the team beforehand related to the topic covered in the video so that what they're learning is reinforced during the training session. Then set small tasks or projects after each session. These don't have to be too long or complicated, something that takes less than half an hour. And depending on what they are learning, they don't necessarily need to be checked.
At the end of the training course, you could assign a longer project that your team has to work on altogether or in smaller groups. This will help them engage with the course and what they've learned, but also reduce the feeling of isolation when they're training remotely.
Ask for feedback
Schedule feedback sessions where your team can talk about what they've learned. Different people will pick up on things differently, so by sharing what they've found most useful or interesting the team will end up learning more from the training course. Feedback sessions give the team a chance to talk about how they will implement what they've learned in their jobs as well. And it gives you an insight into how well the training worked, and whether there's any room for improvement.
You should also ask for specific feedback on the training courses — ask how useful they found it, what could have been done better, and what they would benefit from learning about in the future. Making sure that your training is highly relevant and engages the team is even more important for remote teams. You can find some of the best employee feedback tools in this article from Hubspot — gathering feedback not just on your training sessions is essential to understanding how engaged your team is when they're working remotely.
Schedule regular training
Build your remote team's training sessions into their weekly or monthly schedule. It's all too easy for training to get pushed back, especially when there's lots of work to be done and tight deadlines. But if there are long delays between each training session it's harder for the team to fully engage and remember everything that they've learned.
Once you've started on a training course try to prioritize regular sessions to ensure that it doesn't get overlooked or forgotten about.
While training a team remotely does pose some challenges, it can still be effective and is a good way to keep employees motivated and engaged with their work. You just need to focus on providing training sessions that are relevant and interactive, using professional videos and give teams opportunities to discuss what they've learned and put it into practice.