Remote work is booming—and while it’s brought benefits, like access to out-of-state talent and better work-life balance for many, it’s also come with its own set of challenges. For one thing: how can companies easily deliver training programs for employees to further their professional development?
Most organizations are in great need of effective remote employee training programs. Whether your aim is to upskill employees or to onboard and train new ones, delivering any kind of remote training can be challenging.
We know how difficult this task can be, but have no fear. In this post, we’ll walk you through how to create a remote employee training program that suits your company’s needs.
Use this guide as a checklist when you’re building out your remote employee training program, especially from scratch.
You’ll first want to consider how to deliver the remote training program, as well as what materials will best suit your circumstances.
Videos are often popular to walk employees through software use cases, or explain abstract concepts. Pre-recorded ones are particularly useful for companies, as they lessen the need to deliver the same sessions and information live (synchronously).
You can also supply employees with printable handouts and cheat sheets based on your main training topics. These handouts can contain the information from your entire training program and serves as an anytime refresher, even after they’ve finished the program.
Optionally include sessions for live Q&As. Get all required parties—such as management or HR—to answer queries, clarify any steps or modules. Plus, these synchronous Q&As add a bonus personal connection between remote employees and managers or other people in the company.
Think of remote training programs as a manual. In order for employees to arrive at your desired goal, whether it’s mastering a software or improving their sales skills, they need to learn information in a logical way.
Because of this, think of your entire training program as a roadmap divided into modules that mark different topics or milestones you want employees to have. Later on, create specific lessons that will fall under each module, and take note that lessons should be bite-sized and easy to consume.
So, in an example of a training program that walks employees through a proprietary app of your company, you might have the first module be “The Functions of X App,” then a follow-up module “Learning Basic Commands of X App,” and so on.
The module “The Functions of X App” can have lessons that highlight specific use cases of the software, and each use case is a separate lesson that comprises a case study and in-app walkthrough.
To make your training program more effective, optionally include practical exercises that help employees apply what they learn.
If your remote employee training program is going to be something everyone at the company will be taking part in together, decide on the right schedule to implement the program. When you’re dealing with a remote team, this can be a challenge.
Consider going the self-paced route and allowing employees to schedule in their own time to go through their training program, asynchronously. To help facilitate this, create a guide that shows employees how long each module or lesson will be and how much time you recommend allotting for each.
When you need to have live sessions, pick a schedule that works with the most employees. Or consider holding separate sessions that will accommodate differing time zones. If needed, you may need to tap liaisons for global employees who can lead live sessions and trainings for any team members at the other side of the world.
With any remote training program, it’s best to invest in the right tools that will facilitate training, learning, and collaboration. Fortunately, there are several options that make training programs easier to create, manage, and distribute.
Also note that you may require a mix of tools to make your program more effective. Here’s a guide for which tools you can consider, especially when you’ve identified your needs and program goals:
A learning management system is a software for creating, managing, and delivering training programs. You’re able to organize lessons and modules in a logical way, and design your program from top to bottom.
LMSs are used for all kinds of online training, including onboarding, technology upskilling, soft skill training, sales enablement, compliance training, and more. Aside from more informed employees, the benefits of using an LMS include:
Video conferencing tools can be useful for hosting live sessions and Q&As. If your company is on G Suite, you have access to Google Meet and Google Calendar, which you can use for scheduling appointments, broadcasting training program-related events, and host meetings for your organization.
When you’re trying to get a remote team to train together seamlessly, cloud apps are the way to go. Fortunately, many aspects of running a training program can be done completely on the cloud, including your accounting activities.
You can find free cloud accounting tools like Wave available for your team to use and collaborate on, especially when you’re building out your training program. The best accounting and bookkeeping apps let you create, send, and manage not only professional looking invoices but also payments from your clients and to your merchants and suppliers.
Stay on top of any bills you have for software you use in your training program to any instructors you’ve hired, and make sure these are automatically reflected in your books.
Building a remote employee training program will require sharing various documents and files with your employees, so cloud storage is going to be one of the most useful tools in your current stack.
Choose the best cloud storage providers that let you seamlessly collaborate and share different files, whether they’re documents, videos, presentations, and more.
To make sure employees are keeping on top of their self-paced training, it’s helpful to add in some extra layer of accountability. Milestone checks for your remote employee training program can range from anything like lesson assignments that employees have to submit or sticking to a classic employee monitoring system that tracks their activity on their computer.
To determine the best milestone check system for you, remember your goals for your employee training program. If this is an onboarding training program, then you’ll want to make sure new hires are on top of their modules so that they can start being productive at work faster.
For these types of remote training programs, you might resort to employee monitoring software or having live check-ins to see how these employees are doing. Investing in robust webinar software might be just what you need to support live training sessions and milestone checks of your remote employees, since these tools usually come complete with everything you need to share screens, collect questions, and the like.
On the other hand, if your employees are upskilling, you can leave small assignments and to-dos at specific milestones to help test their learning or let them practice new concepts and theories.
Supplement your remote employee training program with other valuable resources that will add to the program experience. Embed links like product wikis and documentation, so your employees can refer to them anytime during or between lessons.
One good idea may also be to provide external resources they might be able to check. If your company, for instance, has access to exclusive journals, papers, or case studies, share them whenever relevant.
You might also find it beneficial to include instructions on how employees might ask support from managers or training directors. Include their office hours or simply make a note about the person to contact if they have any questions during their program.
This tip also applies to post-program implementation. Be mindful about what your employees might need following a formal training program. What do they require to implement what they’ve learned effectively?
A survey by Nulab had some interesting findings to share about how full-time employees saw team bonding activities.
As high as 96.3% of surveyed respondents said that these activities had a positive impact on their relationship with their colleagues and on their collaboration experience at work (95.5%), while also boosting their relationship with their employer (94.2%) and feelings of staying in their job (91%).
In between your remote employee training programs, insert some time for the team to get to know each other and bond other shared activities and experiences. Team bonding activities have been shown to have a positive impact on several aspects of employees’ work life:
Finally, when creating your remote employee training program, commit to making it better. Your first iteration will often not be your best, so accept that there will be many ways to improve your training programs moving forward.
Ask employees to give their thoughts about their experience in the remote training program. Add a survey at the end that captures their feelings and opinions. Ask about how the content was delivered, the helpfulness of the program, and what they would want to see improved in the future.
Aside from formal avenues of receiving feedback, pay attention to the comments and questions you might receive during the program modules and lessons. If there are repeating comments and questions you get, it may be a good indicator of what to update or clarify for upcoming sessions or iterations.
Building a remote employee training program from scratch may be a challenge at first, but use this post as your guide. The most important thing to keep in mind is to implement and take action and commit to improving as you go. If you’re looking for a place to start, why not check out the 360Learning Onboarding Playbook?