Working remotely used to be an option for companies that wanted to onboard diverse talent. Now, the practice is mainstream, and nearly everyone is familiar with logging into their company’s system via a virtual private network.
This new virtual work environment has impacted training. Currently, all team members must be trained online regardless of whether they are down the street or across the country.
Developing a training program that satisfies your company’s productivity goals helps employees to grow professionally and maintains organizational culture is a challenge.
Here are four key points to consider when developing effective training programs for teams that are in different locations.
Take the Time Difference Into Account
Training in a vacuum isn’t fun, but did you know that it can also be ineffective?
While individual training is necessary in most cases, a company gets the best outcomes when highly skilled people work well together to achieve goals.
However, when team members work in different locations, they risk losing opportunities to apply their skills within cross-functional teams.
As a training program manager, you can bring back those opportunities by organizing team training based on time zones.
For a software development company, put together a team that consists of one requirements analyst, a developer, and a tester, all of whom are located in the same time zone.
With remote teams, you’ll want to pay more attention to how you communicate the times of various scheduled lectures, tests, and quizzes to team members.
Using Coordinated Universal Time or UTC leaves no room for ambiguity and makes it easier for you to build a schedule that works for all learners.
Improve Interactivity Through Tech
Effective training programs have interactive elements that make them relevant and engaging.
Technology such as group chat services and video conferencing make those types of training programs possible even across time zones.
Use tech tools to schedule emails to be sent during work hours.
When using chat functions, make sure that team members show their time zones. It’s helpful for learners to know which team members are available to collaborate at certain times of the day or evening.
Also, ensure the effective maintenance of any systems you use.
When using software tools for training, system glitches inevitably happen. You can alleviate stress and cut lost training time by having tech support available for each time zone.
Adapt It to Their Working Hours
When grouping teams according to time zones for collaborative training isn’t possible, compromise is the key to a well-made schedule.
You’ll want to plan training to fit within the work hours of your members, even if it falls within lunchtimes, early mornings, or late evenings.
When you schedule a lecture for an inconvenient time for a group in one time zone, the next event, such as a test, should be arranged at a time that is most convenient for that group.
Rotating the training schedule so that everyone shares the pain makes all participants feel valued and included.
Adapting to the learners’ work hours is more than about making your employees happy; it’s an opportunity to reinforce online lessons with real-world projects.
Most training programs focus on improving productivity.
Entrepreneur magazine reports that adding experiential learning into such programs is a way to boost productivity.
Directly after learning an online lesson, the employee should have the opportunity to put the new skill to the test on actual work projects.
Define the Goals of the Program
While progressive companies encourage lifelong learning among their staff members, a training manager must define specific learning goals within courses.
These training programs include courses that address the specific needs of the company.
For instance, let’s say your company plans to migrate to a new asset management system.
In that case, your training program goals should be broad enough to get employees sufficiently up to speed on new digital systems that include, but are not limited to, that new asset management platform.
Excellent training programs include goals that are relevant in the short term and that enhance the company’s culture for long-term impact.
Moreover, course lessons should align with the company’s values.
Everyone is familiar with the old phrase, “knowledge is power.” It rings especially true for training programs.
When employees believe that they are getting some benefit from the training, they are more likely to take the training to heart.
Therefore, always aim to match course training outcomes to employees’ work performance goals, providing them with skills that are evidently useful.
The process of goal definition isn’t complete until everyone involved knows what successful goal achievement looks like.
In the case of learning a new software platform, you could define success as a 20% reduction in request-for-information trouble tickets 30 days after migrating to a new digital platform.
Outline the Structure of the Program
Every effective training program begins with an outline of its structure. Here are some elements that belong in your outline.
Choose a format for your online courses based on your company’s time constraints, training goals, and the types of teams that need the training.
The step-by-step format allows students to learn complex concepts in a linear way.
On the other hand, the reference format gives students the flexibility to learn at their own pace using company-provided resources.
Consider which type would be optimal for the team and the skills they need to acquire.
Organized Modules for Lessons
Organizing lessons within modules helps students to know which concepts need to be mastered before moving on to more difficult ones.
To make these modules more useful, include supplemental resources and tips that are lesson-specific.
A Variety of Learning Delivery Methods
As a training manager, you know that people have different learning styles.
Some learners thrive on reading, while others respond better to audio content.
By including multimedia in your lessons, you’ll help all learners to achieve the company’s training goals in accordance with their learning styles.
Short Quizzes Based on Learning Objectives
Evaluations help you and your learners to know if students are really learning what you expected them to learn.
Learners also gain motivation and get a sense of accomplishment when they successfully complete short quizzes.
Therefore, quizzes allow you to motivate your learners while also tracking their progress.
Companies can improve their position in the market, achieve long-term goals, and strengthen their organizational culture by nurturing their employees.
With a carefully planned training program and the right delivery system, your company’s employees are set to reach their full potential. This means happier team members, more innovation, and higher levels of productivity.
With the tips above, you will be able to conduct an effective training program even if your employees work from different locations.
This guest post was written by Michelle Laurey and may not be copied or re-posted without permission. Michelle works as a VA for small businesses. She loves talking business, and productivity, and share her experience with others. Outside her keyboard, she spends time with her Kindle library or binge-watching Billions. Her superpower? Vinyasa flow! Talk to her on Twitter @michelle_laurey.