The circumstances surrounding COVID-19 are enough to test anyone’s skills as an employer, manager, or trainer. In the coming months, we’ll be called on to re-evaluate and revise many aspects of our operations as we face a “new normal,” and it’s tempting to put training on the back burner.
However, it’s important to note that more than ever, creating learning opportunities for your team should still be a priority.
New and Existing Employees Need Help Adjusting
Adapting your organization’s training and onboarding processes to the new remote environment is inevitable. Your new plan must support those new employees that will be joining a remote team, remotely. Moreover, you must provide instruction and support for employees who’ve never worked remotely before and prepare them for more changes that are sure to come. Now is the time to digitize your training and onboarding. The need is here, now.
Now is the Time to Learn Modern, Digital Skills
Take advantage of the opportunity to teach your team 21st century skills. Online communication and collaboration may not have been adopted by your older workers in the past because “there was no need” for it, and now the steeper learning curve is unmistakeable. Now, the need is here, and workers have the opportunity to learn.
Show how modern communication can preserve and continue to build company culture, even when team members aren’t together in the same space.
Maintain or Revamp your Training and Onboarding
Adapt your team to these changes by shifting your training to focus on skill application in the digital world. Adjust your plans so that you can still make use of funding opportunities you may have secured before, while still meeting requirements and standards. Here are some general tips for conducting remote employee training:
1. Keep Learning Objectives Clear
When in doubt, stick to basic learning objectives. Be honest and clear about what you hope learners will know and be able to do at the end of their training session. Include only material that supports the goals and keep yourself from going on tangents. Avoid the temptation to give work solely intended to keep workers busy. They will appreciate the extra time to review and practice what they have learned.
2. Build a Schedule for New Hires
Keep a schedule and set deadlines, just as you would for in-person training. Team members who aren’t used to remote learning will likely find it easier to stay on track if there is some degree of structure. Knowing that there are more tasks when the current one is complete gives a sense of positive urgency and organization.
3. Keep Topics Concise and Easy-to-Follow
Use a variety of audio-visual materials but break them up into digestible segments. Remember that even adult learners have limited attention spans, and that information is more likely to stick if it comes in shorter bursts. Remember not to overload your learners with more information than they can handle.
4. Talk to Your Team
Make space for one-on-one, just-in-time help. Set times and engage learners with an online chat tool. Make it known that clarifying questions are welcome and that the whole team is in this together. Don’t be afraid to bring together groups of learners. The more, the merrier!
5. Use Different Training Mediums
Use diverse tools to keep a variety of learners engaged. Quizzes, discussions, planning pages, and even games can be included. Changing the delivery of each training module helps keep things unique and exciting. Rather than having a playlist of 20 training videos, break up the back-to-back delivery with games and worksheets.
6. Work with Someone Who Knows
Engage an online learning expert, both for big picture planning and technical advice. Your existing content cannot simply be put online and expected to run successfully. The content must match the medium to have good flow, be engaging, and make sense. An online learning expert can help you make the transition from in-person to online quickly and seamlessly.
While you and your employees learn to adapt to current circumstances, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. All members of your business community are in it together, and even in challenging times, there are resources and support that can help your team adapt and even thrive.
Co-Founder, Enable Education
Amy is living proof that you can do something good with a philosophy degree (or two, in her case). She is delighted to combine her love of ideas with more than ten years as an educator, curriculum developer, and children’s media producer. Amy firmly believes that great thinkers come in all sizes and is committed to helping people see the power of their own ideas.