Learning and development opportunities are important for your employees, yet they can be challenging to coordinate, especially if your workforce is either partially or entirely remote. Conferences are expensive to attend and internal training is often ignored by seasoned employees.
Although remote workforce development has been available for decades, some employees are reluctant to attend virtual options. They prefer in-person training.
The desire to save money and COVID-19 quarantines have forced companies to reevaluate how they offer workforce development. Online training can be effective if some work is done on the backend.
Learn four ways to implement and support your company’s virtual development:
Solidify Your Company Culture First
As HR professionals and corporate leaders, you understand the importance of workplace culture. Cultures can make or break businesses.
Besides developing a healthy office culture, it’s also important to extend it into the digital space. Ideally, your company’s culture should extend through all platforms.
Culture should always reflect an organization’s values. According to Gallup, this culture can be shared across digital communication tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or any other program utilized by a company.
One way Gallup recommended doing this was to have “a mix of synchronous and asynchronous role training to build onboarding cohort camaraderie while providing enough flexibility to absorb self-paced learning.”
Essentially, an organization educates employees on the company culture from day one, and it facilitates the building of relationships among the staff.
Develop Engaging Course Content
Whether your company decides to outsource virtual workshops or create them from scratch in house, it’s important to have engaging course content.
Your courses are competing against smartphones, televisions, screaming children, and new emails. They need to be visually appealing and relevant for employees. Of course, there is a segment of employees who may feel they’re being forced to do something they don’t want to do.
Here are some virtual engagement tips from Kaltura:
- Include high-quality videos or screen shares to break up slides
- Use interactive tools like polls or quizzes
- Organize virtual breakout rooms with small group discussions
- Schedule built-in breaks
When developing new training programs, make sure it’s about something employees have never heard before and that it actually applies to their role. Otherwise, you’ll lose their attention in seconds.
Support Your Remote Workforce Development Initiatives
Support for any corporate initiatives comes from the top. Senior leadership needs to commit and participate in remote workforce development to ensure employee buy-in.
Direct managers should maintain open communication with in-office and remote employees. Regular conversations should be held to determine goals and what skills employees would like to develop going forward.
One effective way to support these initiatives is to offer staff a training stipend. These could be used for simply covering the costs of the training or rewarding the employee for taking the initiative.
Provide Networking Opportunities
If we’ve learned anything over the last two years, it’s that quarantines and remote work make it difficult to network. Yet, professional networking has countless benefits for employees and their organization. It’s not just about your employees trying to find a new job. Networking can often help companies solve problems based on conversations with others in the same industry.
One LinkedIn study found that 80% of professionals see employee networking as “important” for their career success. Companies should ensure that employees have access to networking opportunities in remote environments.
Slack channels and social media groups can be used to foster networking. Managers can also schedule online meetups or Zoom social gatherings. There are so many digital communication options available today for remote workers to network.
Moving Your Trainings Online
Implementing a remote workforce development strategy may be hard work in the beginning, but it will benefit your company in the long term.
Remote work is becoming more common and those working in the office may be too busy to dedicate full days to professional development. Virtual training provides flexibility and ensures all employees are learning new information as necessary.
As you move everything online, ensure that your remote training opportunities reflect your culture, company leadership supports your initiative, and that the content engages your employees.
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