To prepare for the future of work and in response to the pandemic, many companies have been pivoting to remote-based training. Some have even decided to run their operations 100% remotely for all of their employees. Although COVID-19has accelerated this trend, it’s also due in large part to the reduced overhead costs, geographical arbitrage, and increased availability for customers that an online approach can bring.
Despite these obvious benefits, however, there are certain pitfalls to avoid if you are training employees remotely.
In this article, we will discuss some of these challenges and show you how to overcome them in order to deliver the best remote training experience to new employees in your organization. That way, you can avoid crucial mistakes while ensuring that your training is both effective and enjoyable.
No In-Person Supervision
In a traditional learning environment, your corporate trainers can sit face-to-face with new employees. However, this is not the case with remote training.
A lack of direct, in-person contact can lead to problems with motivation, especially if your team is already accustomed to in-person training. Employees may begin to see training as a simple box that needs to be checked off, rather than something to be given their full attention and respect, and the lack of direct supervision might encourage them to cut corners in their work.
To combat this, ensure that you check in on your employees regularly with quizzes and tests tied directly to the training in order to promote engagement.
Not Enough Information
When new employees are learning remotely, they may struggle to find the information they need. It can take time to seek out the right team member or company resource, time that lengthens their training and delays their ability to get into the field and start producing revenue.
To avoid this, ensure that you deliver precise guidelines and lay out exactly what the trainee needs to do, when they need to do it, and how to get it done. Also, provide them with contact information for the proper team members to reach out to if they have any questions.
A common complaint from remote employees is that they feel socially isolated from their team—or even the rest of the world—while working from home. This is one of the major downsides of a remote workplace. The lack of fun social interaction with coworkers and supervisors can bring down morale and cause a deficit of motivation.
Luckily, there is a way to counteract this.
On most online media platforms, there are ways to conduct virtual training with multiple employees to create a feeling of community and social connection. The employee running the training should aim to make it informal and fun to break up the monotony; make sure that other employees have a chance to communicate with each other and break the ice.
If you’re unable to create a collaborative virtual space, try providing your employees with one another’s contact information instead. This way, they can feel like they are part of a greater whole, instead of a team of one.
Consider exercises like the Reciprocity Ring to support your L&D goals while also creating a supportive environment.
While the idea of sitting on the beach and leisurely browsing your laptop with a cocktail in your hand is a common dream, real work usually doesn’t happen that way. Even if employees are working remotely, distractions are still a very real issue, and they need to be prevented in the workplace.
Encourage your employees to set up a quiet, dedicated business environment in their home. It should be free of distractions such as TV, children yelling, and other disruptions.
Another option is to pay for a coworking space for your employees during their training, so that they have somewhere to go that is strictly dedicated to work.
Uncertainty Of How the Training Will Apply to Their Role
When a trainer is actually sitting in front of a new employee, it’s easy to guide the newbie through the material and help them put their training into context. When sitting in front of a computer screen, however, your new trainee could get confused easily.
Ideally, your training will be straightforward enough on its own to meet your remote-working employees’ needs, but you need an alternate plan in case questions come up. If someone doesn’t understand how certain training is relevant, they should be able to reach out to a dedicated “sponsor” or trainer that will explain things in more detail.
When you’re training in your office, you can draw things out on a whiteboard, use pens and paper, or even bring in the tech department to resolve technical issues if something goes wrong, but it’s not quite so simple when your new team member is potentially thousands of miles away.
There could be a number of technology problems, such as:
- Laptop or training device dying
- VPN connection malfunctioning
- Training platform going out of service
Ensure that you have a backup plan for these kinds of potential problems. Plan out how to deal with technical issues before they happen, so that they don’t get in the way of your goals. You can’t ensure there will be no technical issues at all. However, with a plan in place your new employee can begin training again as soon as possible.
Bad Course Structure
Following the right course structure is crucial for training new employees. If your course structure is helpful, succinct, and easy to follow, it’s likely that your employees will have a great training experience.
How do you create a positive course structure? First, make sure the steps or instructions are clear and organized in a logical way that flows from one part to the next. Otherwise, they may feel that the pacing is too fast and get lost or discouraged. (This could cause employee churn if you’re not careful.)
Second, the course content should be informative but still engaging. You want to achieve an effective mix of serious business tone with a more conversational style so that you can effectively prepare your new employee without bogging them down.
If your course structure fits these criteria, you’ll find that your employees complete the training faster and retain more information.
Remote Training is the Future of Work
The world is more interconnected and more competitive than ever before. As a result, many companies are choosing to train new employees remotely—or create entire remote teams—in order to adapt.
However, training from a distance has its own unique set of potential issues, and you shouldn’t jump into it blindly. Otherwise, you could risk alienating your team, missing parts of your training, or wasting important budgetary spending.
It’s critical to have a proper plan in place before training your new employees digitally or remotely. This way, you can accurately gauge their progress and performance. You also ensure that your company’s resources are put to use in a way that minimizes expenses and maximizes revenue.
About the Author
Ashley Wilson is a digital nomad and writer for hire, specialized in business and tech topics. In her self-care time, she practices yoga via Youtube. She has been known to reference movies in casual conversation and enjoys trying out new food. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.