When the pandemic forced teams to go remote, they thought it would be a short stint. But, this wasn’t the case. And they soon had to figure out how to quickly realign their teams. This, of course, meant tackling remote employee training.
At this point, it’d been a few weeks (maybe months). And these companies needed to get their remote training programs off the ground ASAP. So, they decided to turn their existing programs into online courses. Meaning, they took whatever training materials they had and, instead of a conference room, they met on Zoom.
But here’s the thing: this instructor-led approach was a hot wreck in person. And now that it’s online, it’s become even more of a challenge. Luckily, you can deal with the top challenges while making your employee training (in person or remote) a lot more effective!
Here’s how (challenge-by-challenge):
Challenge 1: There’s no good time for it
Since losing the commute, life got busier. Work and home share a space, people log in from different time zones, and everyone's calendars are packed weeks in advance.
So, finding a training time that works for everyone's schedule can be impossible. And if we're being honest, not necessary.
Sure, in-person training proves that if you look far enough out, that golden hour does exist. But that doesn't mean you should block it for a team-wide remote training session.
When you do, it becomes one of your company's most expensive meetings (feel free to calculate the cost yourself). Because everyone who's training (including the manager leading it) isn't productive. And the more people in that training session, the longer it actually takes because you go at the pace of your slowest learner.
That's part of the reason remote work works best when it's asynchronous. Because everyone can log in on their own time and get things done at their own pace. So, why should remote training be any different?
Instead, put all your company knowledge and need-to-knows in a remote training tool (like Trainual, the #1 tool per G2). Then, with everything in one place, you can assign content directly to each team member, and they'll go through it on their own. No manager needed.
Just be sure to set a due date on each piece of training you assign out (ideally, a week from when you assigned it). That way, there are no excuses for people not knowing the information pronto.
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Challenge 2: Your people aren’t engaged
We'll just say it - training is (usually) really boring. The instructor sits in front of the masses, droning on alongside a PowerPoint that says the same thing.
And most companies assume that if their employees sit through this, they've learned what they need to know. But that's not typically the case.
Usually, one of three things happens instead:
- The instructor goes too fast, and the employee feels overwhelmed, so they're not learning much.
- The instructor goes too slow, and the employee is frustrated that they have to sit through it, so they're not learning much.
- The information is not engaging enough, and the employee stopped paying attention, so they're not learning anything.
You can take your pick - but the end result is the same. Technically, your employees completed their training, but they didn't get anything out of it, and it wasted a lot of company time.
But fixing this is easy, and it starts with creating more engaging training content. So, have your top performers write down (step-by-step) how they do what they do. That way, your remote employees only learn the absolute best way of doing things.
Once everything is documented, add in videos, gifs, photos, or anything else that'll make the training content a bit more interactive. But only add assets that directly relate and clarify the training content - otherwise, they're just another distraction.
Then, have your remote employees go through the content on their own - at their own speed. That way, they can go as fast or as slow as they want before the training is due.
Remote training software like Trainual will even track where everyone is at with their training. And you'll have access to everyone's completion rates, so you know who's done and who's falling behind.
Plus, Trainual even sends automatic email reminders, nudging your team to jump back in and finish their training. So, your people have no excuses like "I thought I was done" or "I forgot."
Challenge 3: Traditional remote training just isn’t effective
If we're being frank, most of these challenges come down to trying to cater to everyone. Once you find a time that works for everyone, it's tempting to try and cover everything. That way, you don't have to go through this again anytime soon. But what one role needs to know is radically different from what another role needs to know.
So, you end up presenting lots of training materials that aren’t really relevant to anyone in particular. As a result, only 12% of your team (according to Shift Learning) will use what's covered in the training moving forward.
Even if you somehow manage to cover everything in this one training session, most of it won't get remembered. Someone who listened the entire time will forget roughly 50% of the information within an hour of the training session.
This leaves even your most engaged trainees guessing what to do or asking you to repeat what you just covered in the training. That said, you're inevitably going to waste more time re-explaining yourself.
So, instead of cramming every detail for every role into one training session: personalize the training for each person - only send each employee the stuff they need to know for their specific role .
With less training material to cover, employees know exactly what stuff they're responsible for learning. And because they're going through it at their own pace (remember we assigned it out?), they can take breaks when needed and jump right back in later where they left off. This way, they avoid information overload and actually retain more!
But here's where the real win comes in: when you do all this with a tool like Trainual, your team can revisit the training content they need to know over and over again! So, when (not "if") they forget something, your remote employees can refer back to the information in seconds. And they don't need additional training just to cover what they should already know.
Plus, you can even create tests in Trainual based on your training content. The tests check if your team understood what they just learned, giving you full access to their answers and scores. That way, you can sleep well at night, knowing that the people who run your company actually know what they need to know (no matter where they learned it).