The remote training practice is likely something your team faced somewhat sporadically over the past decade or more, as a smaller portion of your workforce made arrangements to work from home. You might have accommodated because a valuable employee faced challenges, such as a long commute or child-care issues. For any number of reasons, training remote employees was worth it to you and employers everywhere.
Since the first quarter of 2020, virtual onboarding and remote employee training have become essential. Only 17% of U.S. employees worked from home five days or more per week before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. At the onset of the pandemic, the percentage shot up to 44%, accelerating the remote work trend amid quarantines, lockdowns and other travel restrictions. If it weren’t for remote work options, millions of workers would be out of work, and many business shut down.
Training Remote Employees for Success Translates to Your Organization’s Success
Fortunately, businesses made their way through work-from-home onboarding processes on the spot, but now as employee expectations shift toward long-term remote and hybrid work arrangements, HR and talent management should develop more practice strategies to train remote employees.
Here are 10 strategic virtual onboarding tips to help everyone settle into your organization with confidence — whether on-site or at home.
1. Put Video Conferencing at the Forefront
Video conferencing apps gained in popularity in spring 2020. Video conferencing platforms became a lifesaver for employers and employees, serving as a means to make face-to-face connections in the virtual work world.
Instead of distributing training documentation and static, pre-recorded videos for remote employee training, employers could schedule a video training session that felt a lot like meeting in the company conference room.
With this strategy, your employees can ask questions live and have them answered immediately among their co-workers.
2. Create Opportunities for Connection
Amid COVID-19, many employees understandably experienced feelings of isolation. Create and foster pipelines for interaction, such as firing up a virtual social groups and keeping it active or encouraging a non-social media-centered buddy system where employees call, text or email one another.
3. Help Remote Employees Manage Distractions
Another facet of telecommuting employees might not anticipate is the endless stream of distractions.
Your virtual training tips might include strategies to help employees shut out distractions to give their work the necessary focus to get it done well and on time, allowing them to maintain a regular work schedule for their benefit and your organization. At the least, encourage your employees to carve out an hour a day for remote training when they can give the material 100% of their attention.
4. Invite Open Discussions on Training Questions
You’re not training employees in a vacuum, and they aren’t learning in one, so keep an open line of communication to see how everything is going. Use your company intranet or your private social media group. You can quickly and clearly clarify matters for everyone, thanks to an open forum for lively questions and answers.
5. Run Online Polls to Gather Training Effectiveness Data
When you want to gather data about remote training, run an online poll. You can provide a space for comments, questions and feedback. If you’re looking for numbers to guide your training, a poll is a quick and efficient way to get what you need. Ask questions about whether employees find the information engaging, clear and meaningful to their daily work.
6. Encourage and Empower Employees to Become Self-Guided Learners
With today’s online education and training opportunities, you can put the power of learning in your team members’ hands. Let employees know what you need from them, then allow them to explore their options. That doesn’t mean you set them loose without any guidance. Offer guideposts, such as resources your organization would use, or free access to training programs. Since workers already spend a great deal of time working remotely, it isn’t a stretch to approach learning similarly.
7. Create and Use Breakout Rooms
If you want to schedule a mass training session for everyone before turning matters over to department managers and their respective teams, use breakout rooms to create several smaller sessions. With the right platform, everyone can easily switch to enjoy seamless training relevant to their needs.
8. Offer Strong Visuals
In your video meetings, provide employees with strong visuals to help them understand the material, such as spreadsheets, slideshow presentations, infographics and videos that drive home your training points. About two-thirds of people are visual learners, and studies suggest that four in ten people respond better to visuals and text compared to text alone. Other research shows using visuals can help improve retention and learning by up to 400 percent, so make sure to include compelling visuals to enhance learning.
9. Provide On-Demand Training Options
There are times when employees can’t join a live video meeting or audio conference call, so ensure that they can catch up when they have time with on-demand options. Provide absent team members with the recorded session and any supplemental documents, spreadsheets or information they need to stay up to speed for the times they can’t make a virtual meeting in-person.
10. Identify Employees Who Might Need More Help With Remote Training
Not all employees will respond to remote training with the same enthusiasm or abilities. It’s helpful to identify employees who might struggle as early as possible.
Humantelligence has everything you need, including a 12-minute self-assessment, analytics platform that uses psychometrics to identify people’s work behaviors, values and work energizers, as well as a learning and development solution to help keep employees engaged and growing. Our recruitment module can also help you hire in the right candidates – those that fit, add to, and bring a diversity of thought to your team – and ultimately contribute to strengthening your culture.
Help Your Employees Settle Into Your Organization No Matter Where They Are
We hope our virtual onboarding ideas help you feel more confident about bringing new employees into the mix, even if they never or rarely step foot in your office. Today’s technology offers a bounty of options to welcome and engage new employees or help current employees adjust to remote work with ease, confidence and camaraderie.