There aren't many things so closely linked to productivity, so essential and crucial, than training. In all our work, no matter what we do for a living, we need someone to show us how. That’s what it boils down to. We need to know how we’re supposed to be doing the job. And as things change, we need to understand those changes, how they affect us, and how they affect our understanding of the job. To business, training is an investment. An investment in people, in the future and that organisation’s productivity. It’s a driving force for any business. Or at least, it should be.
Businesses who don’t make that investment are at best doomed to struggle, and at worst doomed to failure. Without the support and encouragement of learning, staff move on. They don’t see their place as important, so they find somewhere else to go. Poor retention damages productivity even further. And the wheel keeps turning.
So we all need training. We need to grow as individuals, and to do that we need to learn. And we need the learning to be constant. Business needs to constantly review how it delivers that training, how it helps its people learn. Even more so in the digital age. Gone are the days of flip charts and stale biscuits in bland, uninspiring hotel conference rooms. Row after row of bored yawning colleagues, wishing they were back at their desks doing something actually productive.
With more and more businesses running head first for the cost-effective delights of hiring remote teams, it becomes clear that though those remote workers may not be visible in the office, just like their colleagues, they still need training. In fact, it’s even more important to keep their knowledge fresh and up to date, because of the distance. But remote workers have differing needs, and by the nature of what they do, different expectations of their employers. So it’s wise for businesses to consider these points when they go down the ‘remote road’.
The quickest answer and the most obvious solution is online. E-learning through video tutorials, webinars and app-based tools are all available. In fact, many companies find these so powerful, they’re adapting an online only way of executing their Learning and Development needs. Access to online learning should be given to remote workers from the very beginning as part of the onboarding process. As well as the obvious specific benefits of the training, this also makes it clear to the remote worker that they have the support of their managers. An important point in any aspect of dealing with remote workers.
Flexibility is king when it comes to remote work, so building that in to all communication is important, whether it's through daily learning or lengthy courses. The whole reason the remote worker is remote in the first place is because they enjoy that flexibility. So they’ll need their training to reflect that, they’ll need the option of working on their learning as and when they want. This leads us back to tech, and the need to give them access to the right tools for the job. Again, regular check-ins to ensure that they are supported, able to ask questions and get feedback are central to the Learning and Development of our remote worker.
One of the best ways of enabling and engaging employees through their learning is to harness the powerful force of peer support. Remote workers will benefit hugely from this.
They don’t have the opportunity to approach a colleague across the desk, or stop by someone’s office to check details on something, so any and all contact with peers is invaluable. Social media groups, WhatApp and group calls all enable support and feedback to become part of the process, as well as strengthening the bonds of the team.
Wundamail, a simple team management tool, is perfect for this. It brings the team closer, by keeping them all in touch with each other’s progress and providing them with the opportunity to support and encourage. At the end of each day, everyone on the team receives an email asking the simple question ‘What did you do today?’. They all reply and the next morning everyone receives another email with a compilation of the whole team’s answers. It puts everybody in the same place and makes support easy to access and deliver.
Businesses engaging remote workers need to be aware of their unique needs in respect of how and where they work, and especially of how and where they learn. The tools are there and the time is now.