Remote work is a hot topic right now, mostly because it’s been propelled into the spotlight in response to the coronavirus pandemic. While the circumstances surrounding the new working normal aren’t ideal, telecommuting can actually have some pretty stellar effects on your staff. It’s been reported that remote work produces happier employees, reduced turnover, and overall positive effects on most company cultures. But anyone who has had to move their operation online knows that the process doesn’t come without challenges–particularly when it comes to keeping training consistent and accessible.
There’s no doubt that remote training comes with a unique set of challenges, including:
- Lack of face-to-face interaction
- Barriers to information
- Technical difficulties
So how can you set up your organization to be well-prepared and equipped to deliver the most effective training experience possible?
Think about how you want to deliver information
When it comes to delivering effective training to your team members, it’s common for many leaders to be a bit short-sighted in their delivery model. Many turn to live, synchronous learning sessions where everyone participates simultaneously on a web-conferencing tool but this approach is limited. It forces trainers into a situation where they must:
a.) create a single time slot where all parties attend or;
b.) conduct several sessions over the course of days or weeks, which understandably eats into the time they could be spending elsewhere.
Both approaches are cumbersome because they force the trainer to spend an inordinate amount of energy on coordinating details, but they also waste time on a process that is typically repeatable and lose message consistency in the process.
Of course, with everything going on, there’s also a very high probability that many of your workers aren’t living in their usual circumstances as well, likely contending with childcare, homeschooling, and other distractions in addition to their usual workload. This in mind, an asynchronous learning model would be a far better solution for your enterprise training. This model allows learners to access content, assessments, and communications on their own time.
But even when there isn’t a pandemic going on, asynchronous learning still has many distinct advantages over live classes. It gives employees more control over their training experience, allows them to absorb material at their own pace, fits around their busy schedule, and allows them to interact at a time that works best for them, regardless of geographical location.
Evaluate and choose a powerful employee engagement platform
Showing you the value of asynchronous learning is really only half of the battle. When you’re implementing this type of arrangement for your enterprise training, you’ll also need to consider how you store, share, and keep your company’s proprietary information secure.
In this type of situation, many leaders turn to company intranets or LMS for their needs, but this approach is misguided. Not only are these systems typically cumbersome and not equipped to deliver information in a user-friendly manner, but they don’t take into account that the way we communicate is changing: It’s no longer effective to just email or Slack something and assume it’s seen, you need a central repository where all information is stored that is easily accessible on all devices.
Modern communication tactics aren’t the only way intranets and LMS fall short for trainers, though. Many leaders have reported difficulty when uploading new content to these portals and even more have cited poor user-experience as a significant barrier to adoption for their learners.
Just a few ways these solutions fall short in the UX area include:
- Nightmare navigation
- Lack of personalization
- Inaccurate labeling and tagging
- Annoying pop-ups
- 15+ clicks before you can start learning
- Video not supported natively
- Complicated SCORM training requires multiple toolchains
When it comes to evaluating corporate communication software for your enterprise training, you’ll want to consider several things:
- Is the corporate learning solution easy-to-use and simple to learn?
- How much time will it take until the employee training platform becomes useful to your team members? Using things like LMS becomes a time-consuming, costly endeavor that causes disruption at your organization, sometimes taking up to a year to implement. You’re better off finding a solution that is quick to start, intuitive, and has a familiar interface many of your workers may already be familiar with (this is the part where we promote CircleHD for your consideration).
- What level of security do you need? It’s very likely you will be sharing sensitive information in your training program, so you want to make sure whatever you use utilizes the latest enterprise-level security protocols to keep your information safe from prying eyes. Not only that, but you want to find a solution that allows you to take advantage of access controls–after all, the information in one training module may not be suitable for all departments or team members so it’s critical to be able to restrict information to the relevant parties.
- Is it mobile-friendly? That advent of the smartphone has exponentially changed the way we create and consume content and it’s essential that your team members are able to access their training modules from their device, no matter where they are. Not only should you look for a solution that has a dedicated app, but you should also check to ensure browser compatibility.
- What type of analytics does the platform give you? You can’t improve what you don’t understand but, the truth is, many of the solutions on the market today don’t really give you enough data points to paint a picture of what’s going on, they just give you enough information to say they offer analytics as a feature. Look for a platform that provides you with information like:
- What content is being accessed
- When content is being accessed
- How often the content is accessed
- Who is viewing it and for how long
- Where additional training may be needed
When you offer your workforce effective onboarding and training, you’re giving them the tools and skills they need to be successful at their job. At the end of the day, intranets and LMS are not designed for this use and you will be much happier if you find a solution that is focused on securely delivering training to your remote workforce.
Gather your existing learning materials
If you’re a training leader, you’re likely to have a large backlog of training materials stored in multiple places, which can make transferring them to a new portal seem like an exhausting, insurmountable task.
In this instance, going back to basics is the best way to address the task at hand: make a spreadsheet and take inventory of all your existing assets noting the name of the item, what type of file it is, a short description of its use, and a link to where it is stored. By putting together a holistic picture of your assets, you’re able to get a better understanding of what you have, what’s outdated, and what needs to be archived.
Assess where you may have gaps in your training
The best part about the aforementioned exercise is that it doesn’t just enable you to see what training assets you have, you can also gain insight into what you don’t have. Perhaps you noticed during the inventory step that some assets are out of date, don’t have accurate or complete information on them, or address some new processes or functionalities your product has. This is a great time to note the updates that need to be made, but it’s also a good time to strategize ways you can update your existing training with next-gen technology or other information that may make it have a bigger impact.
Start by surveying employees who have gone through specific training or onboarding to see if there were any pieces of content they found particularly helpful or if there was anything they felt missing. Be sure to also assess materials for any knowledge gaps, looking for things your team could use more information on or any new trends in your industry they should be educated about.
Of course, finding these shortcomings is one thing, creating content to fill the void is a whole other beast. Often times other teams, such as marketing, usually need to be involved in the process, which can create less-than-ideal bottlenecks for you. If you’re using an effective internal content management platform though, you’ll find that it has native recording tools that let you create videos for key information, which is exponentially quicker to put together than a lengthy document (and wildly more effective).
Put together a training calendar and pre-class checklist
When you run a remote training program, you’re managing content, the environment, and the overall experience for a lot of people, which can be a big responsibility. It may sound old-school but checklist or agenda of modules and due dates will go a long way to ensure nothing slips through the cracks and essential steps are followed. You may even want to go a step further and create a sense of urgency to finish a program by implementing a training schedule for learners.
Define the support process
Knowing who is going to provide support for technological hiccups is an important aspect of the remote training planning process. At a minimum, you should have a member of your IT support team prepped on what happens if a serious issue occurs, and try to keep them on call. (Hot tip: if you’re using a platform like CircleHD, you should have access to 24/7 support for anything that goes awry.)
Deliver training modules
You’ve gone through all the pre-planning. You’ve selected your platform and identified what content is going to be used. Now, it’s time to actually deliver that training. The good news: if you selected an adequate corporate learning solution, this part should be incredibly simple. You’ll just need to upload your courses, set pertinent access controls, and invite employees. Make sure accessing the portal is as simple as possible. You may even want to put together a “cheat-sheet” for basic functions.
Engage your learners
Since your asynchronous training is being conducted remotely, you need to go that extra mile to ensure employees are engaged with and understanding the content. Not only can you encourage knowledge retention by attaching tests and quizzes to your training modules, but you can also reward your employee’s training efforts with a build-in certification function that automatically issues awards upon course completion.
Another great way to increase learner engagement is through the activation of gamification features like leaderboards, which can be used to facilitate friendly competition amongst colleagues, or just to provide some milestones as employees progress through the program.
Make a connection a priority
Of course, you want to use your employee training platform to save time, but don’t forget that part of creating an effective working environment means reaching out and offering yourself as a resource to your team members.
Studies show that employees who are are emotionally disconnected from their companies and may actually be working against their employers’ interests; they are less productive, are more likely to steal from their companies, negatively influence their coworkers, miss workdays, and drive customers away.
Set your workers up to be the best they can be by empowering them with the knowledge they need to succeed and the support to do it.
Measure performance and results
When determining if your training efforts are making an impact, you need to go much further than just completion percentages. Be sure to track the metrics we mentioned earlier and use that information to create and distribute content that is meaningful to your audience, which will make you radically more effective in the long run.
When it comes to remote training, don’t let “out of sight” mean “out of mind”. Equip your remote teams with the powerful corporate communication software they need to make onboarding, training, and continuous learning and cornerstone of your company experience.
If you’d like to learn more about how CircleHD can help your enterprise implement a training program that is effective and propels your employees to higher levels of success, we’d love to chat with you. You can also read more about how some of the biggest companies in the world are using CircleHD in their own communication initiatives.