In today's increasingly decentralized workforce, the old concept of employees filing into a training room has become increasingly out of step with reality. Today's employees are as likely to be on the other side of the globe, or working anything but standard 9-5 hours, as they are to be in offices and cubicles.
But one thing hasn't changed -- and that's the need for training. In fact, in our complex business world, there are more kinds of mandated, recommended and just plain "they really ought to know this" kinds of information we need to share with employees no matter where they are. Figuring out how to deliver and track training for remote employees can seem difficult, but with a few tweaks to the traditional mindset about training, and some simple technology, it's actually easier than those seminars of old. Here are some tips for remote training that can help you get your training program off the ground:
1) Forget all the messages about cheating and open book tests you learned in school. In the world of employee training, mastery (not memorization) is key. There is no need to fret over whether employees are looking up the answers as they take an online test because the retention rate for both is about the same. (And for people with test anxiety, the retention rate is higher for open book-style testing!)
2) Buy or create a tool to track employee training and any certifications or other testing that's a part of your staff training program. There's nothing more frustrating to an employee than having to redo a course or retake a test because the records are missing. And there's nothing riskier for you as an employer than not being able to prove that employees completed mandatory training, should something go wrong.
3) Provide online access to reference materials for all course topics. Having a manual in the office is all well and good, but when you have employees miles (or continents) away, it won't do them any good when they need to look up a policy or double-check a procedure.
4) Look for an engaging training tool. If sitting in a room listening to someone drone on about inventory security is boring, sitting alone at a computer listening to the same droning voice is ten times worse.
5) Choose a training tool that works on a variety of platforms. A series of new hire videos that require the installation of extra apps, or a set of interactive lessons that only work on certain operating systems can undermine your entire training program.
6) Make sure the training you provide is up-to-date and relevant. This last tip really applies to all employee training, but I had to include it here because it's so on-point for remote workers. Making an at-home employee sit through hours of detail on warehouse safety or the locations of emergency exits in a building they may never visit is a great way to discourage an employee from paying attention to the lessons that do matter.
Providing training for remote employees or staff at satellite locations isn't difficult if you choose your format and content wisely. With the right decisions up front, your entire staff can be well trained no matter where they happen to call their workspace.
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