May 10, 2021

How to Keep Employees Learning and Building Competencies While Working Remotely

by Mike O'Neill

Are you worried that your employees aren’t taking full advantage of the training you’re providing now that they are working remotely?

Remote work presents some unique challenges with employees across the country or the world. Some employees are trying to juggle family obligations alongside work requirements and struggling to manage their time effectively.

As a business leader, this can be frustrating. 

  • You want to make sure everyone is aware of the resources you’ve invested in for them.
  • You want your employees to keep moving forward and stay on top of industry trends and company changes. 
  • You want to continue growing your business.

At Bench Builders, we have worked with a wide variety of companies — from mom and pops to large multinational organizations — to help them conquer the challenges of remote work. We’re going to show you some of our top tips to help ensure that your employees are taking full advantage of the resources you’re providing for them so you can continue to grow your business.

Training for Remote Workers

First, we need to determine if all workers are working remotely or a blended workforce?  Both scenarios are becoming more and more the “norm” in the business world.  COVID came along, bringing abrupt changes in the way we all do business.  

In some cases, employees are returning to work while other employers may be opting to keep a mostly remote workforce.  Worldwide we were thrust into remote work situations with no time to prepare, and we made it work!

Vaccinations make it easier for employees to return to their regular work environment but is this how businesses want to move forward?  Either way, blended or fully remote, planning needs to happen, so all employees have the necessary and beneficial training.

What Is Employee Training

There are 2 different types of employee training, and which one you choose is dependent upon your industry.

Type #1: Mandatory Training

With mandatory training, every employee must complete this training.  There are no exceptions.

  • New hire training
  • Annual training
  • Certification or license renewal training
  • Department of Labor required training

Type #2: Optional Training 

Optional training is training that is optional for employees to complete.  This is training that may be very beneficial to the employee, teams, and organization.  Examples may include:

  • Google Suite
  • Microsoft Suite
  • Team building
  • Leadership
  • Communication

Why Do Organizations Offer Training?

There are many reasons organizations offer training.  It does require an investment of time, commitment, and financial resources to provide training.  Let’s look at a few of the reasons why an organization should offer training to its employees.

Reason #1: Employee Morale

Employees want to feel valued and appreciated.  When an employer invests in the improvement of their employees, they feel that commitment.  Doing the same tasks day in and out without any room for growth or stimulation can lead to unhappy employees.

Reason #2: Built-In Growth

A great way to build your organization is to foster promotion from within. Effective leadership succession plans require targeted training to prepare them for their future leadership roles. 

Reason #3: Organizational Strength

The organization is only as strong as its employees.  Provide necessary training to have a more robust workforce, and the organization automatically becomes stronger.  

Reason #4: Increased Productivity

With remote employees, it is likely they are not as productive as they could be.  Perhaps the remote employees have independently developed processes for organizing and prioritizing their work.  Training assures that they are following the same procedures and prioritization.

How To Keep Employees Learning While Working Remotely

Training can include self-paced instruction, instructor-led training, or even blended training.  

Self-Paced Instruction

Self-Paced instruction is the most problematic with managing the remote workforce.  It is critical to provide appropriate guidance outlining the following to keep them on task:

  • Completion Date - outline the exact date the self-paced training needs completing.  
  • Reminder - employees often have the best intentions, but it is worth sending out a reminder via electronic messaging after the halfway point to the due date.    
  • Completion - Ideally, a system automatically tracking completion is best.  If no such system is in place, use a Google Form for employees to submit their completions. 
  • What if an employee does not complete the training - Continually extending deadlines sends a message to employees that the activity isn’t valuable.  

Instructor-Led Or Blended Training

Video conferencing solutions have come so far in the last fifteen (15) months since COVID arrived.  These solutions have revolutionized the way organizations work together, and they are ideal for instructor-led or blended training.  Even schools use this method to instruct remote students while also providing instruction to students in the classroom.

  • Set expectations at the beginning of the training.  Let them know what to expect from the training as well as relevance.
  • When possible, have an exercise at the beginning of the training.  This exercise will help break- the-ice between participants and the instructor(s).
  • Ask questions of the participants to assess their understanding of the training.  
  • Allow participants to ask questions and preferably allow enough time to answer all questions.

Let The Professional’s Help Keep Your Employees Learning While Working Remotely

We can help manage your remote training for employees.  Specifically, we work with you to find the best combination of tools and custom strategies to get the results you seek.  

Don’t wait a moment longer!  Contact us today and let the professionals at Bench Builder’s help!
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