Remote working for some businesses and project managers is a pretty new concept, in the grand scheme of things—considering the "new normal".
Nonetheless, it's quickly gaining positive popularity.
In fact, it's somewhat of a necessity right now for vertical markets. The sudden rise in remote, technology-based learning options has exposed a number of mistakes that employers commonly make when undertaking remote training. These mistakes can make or break your attempts at training or up-skilling your team, so it's important that you avoid them.
Mistakes to Avoid During Training Your Remote Team
Here are the most common mistakes bosses make when undertaking remote training, and some tips on how to avoid them.
1. Treating Communication Like a Chore
One major downside to remote training is the lack of close interaction between the teacher and their students. In a virtual class, the physical distance between the instructor and the people they're teaching limits communication,
Avoiding misunderstandings when training remotely means working on finding easy and accessible channels of communication through which your staff can talk openly, quickly, and easily with the people training them, whether it's you or an instructor. Instant messaging services and forums are perfect for this, especially between zoom meetings and FaceTime classes. Video conferencing, however, is the best option; if you can leave an hour of the day free for drop-in calls in case any of your team needs clarification or extra help.
When you make communication a priority you will notice that your team is more engaged, attentive, and that they get more from the process. Keeping these lines of communication open after training may not be necessary, but it is recommended.
2. Letting Your Company Culture Die
Remote employees, just like on-site employees, thrive when they feel like they are a part of something bigger. It's your company culture that keeps employees invested and active in their roles, so when they work on a remote basis, whether it be temporary or permanent, it's important to ensure they are connected to that culture. If they are not, and they feel isolated then chances are they will be much less invested in the quality of their work.
Training offers an opportunity to integrate your off-site employees and make them feel included. One good way to induct remote team members into your company culture is by structuring your training in the form of group tasks and eLearning. By giving your team a common cause and encouraging them to work together and build a collaborative culture that is both a part of your business and a unique to your remote team.
3. Treating Training as a One-Time Thing
Training is no longer a one-and-done deal; the fourth industrial revolution is upon us, and almost every industry is desperately in need of additional skills to stay ahead of the competition. For in-house staff, ongoing training is easy to arrange; it can be done on an as-needed basis. For remote staff, however, it's trickier.
Apart from initial, formal training, remote staff do not benefit from the social learning that in-house staff gets through interacting with more experienced co-workers. Without this social learning to hone and polish their skills and knowledge, it's important that you offer your remote team members regular training sessions to cover new methods, new skills, and updated information.
If you make and maintain a bank of learning resources, videos, and infographics for your remote staff, or all your staff, and offer regular meetups, video conferences, and webinars. This way your remote team will be able to keep their training under control, and they will be able to share new ideas with the team (and with you).
4. Neglecting the Importance of Feedback
A successful remote team is one that feels valued; if you want your team to feel valued it is important that you understand how important it is to listen to their opinions, ideas, and feedback on your training process. In fact, feedback should be a key part of your training strategy because it is the best way to illuminate the needs of those learning, highlight issues and gaps in the system, and show how the overall process can be improved.
It's also incredibly simple to get feedback; make a post-training evaluation survey and email it to your remote employees for completion. Once they submit it, read the feedback provided and confirm that you have received, making a note of any details that caught your eye in particular. This will make your team feel valued and heard, creating a more pleasant and producing environment.
5. Not Defining Your Goals and Expectations
If you do not define your expectations and goals when it comes to training your staff, remote or otherwise. First and foremost, your goals and expectations will define the structure, intensity, and length of your training schedule. Secondly. providing clear expectations and goals to your employees in writing will help them to focus on the task at hand and give them a benchmark by which to mark their progress.
You should also redefine your goals and expectations regularly as your employees and business grow. Doing this through one-on-one Skype meetings or conference calls will help you and your employees to communicate more clearly and manage your mutual expectations until your next meeting.
6. Underestimating the Power of Remote Training Tools
Video calls and conferences are wonderful ways to communicate clearly with your remote team, both during and after training. However, relying on Skype or face-time alone will not provide the same results as face-to-face training.
Fortunately, there are many options for remote training and communication these days. A high-quality LMS, for example, will come with a variety of features that suit various learning types. From mobile training and micro-learning, and LMS has a range of interactive training options that can really make or break your remote team training initiative.
In short, almost all of these mistakes come down to one thing; communication, or a lack thereof.
If you have the right tools to communicate well and regularly, create the right tools and resources for your team, listen to their feedback, and clearly define your goals and expectations your remote team's training process will be more effective.
If you continue to communicate well, your remote team will work more effectively, and if you ensure that they have all the technology they need to do their job well, the sky really is the limit!