The global coronavirus pandemic has manufactured a new normal. Whether it’s wearing a face mask indoors or socially distancing everywhere you go, the COVID-19 public health crisis has changed things. Even the way we work has likely been permanently altered, forcing companies all over the world to turn their office workers into remote employees as more businesses adopt work-from-home policies.
As a result of this transition, HR departments and hiring managers will need to utilise the best practices for effectively interviewing, hiring and training talent. Although a lot of organisations have already been using digital tools, the ubiquity in the aftermath of the virus outbreak has been remarkable to witness in real time. But the complete migration will be difficult to achieve, mainly because managing a full-time remote team and maintaining a top-notch learning system will require some time getting acclimated – for both employee and employer.
So, how can firms train virtual employees? Here are 10 virtual training tips your company needs to incorporate into your overall plan of welcoming people on board the ship.
1. Establish training infrastructure in one location
When you’re planting the seeds for a virtual session, you and your team need to determine the right training infrastructure. It’s best that you implement a platform that is in one centralised location instead of multiple venues. This makes managing and monitoring employees easier for employers, and it makes it simpler for employees to refer back to when trying to learn the ropes.
A critical function of your system is choosing the right delivery method since it depends on the size of your firm, what is being taught and how long the session will be. That said, it’s crucial to choose the right delivery model for your firm, so here are the three standard protocols to pick from:
- Synchronous learning: This is when multiple employees are being trained simultaneously online during an instructor-led course.
- Asynchronous learning:This is when somebody is being trained at their own pace without the direction of an instructor. The person is participating in remote training and taking advantage of the various eLearning tools. Your firm can also possess a contact resource to answer questions online.
- Blending learning:This is when your firm integrates the elements of synchronous and asynchronous models to establish a customised solution. Experts say this is the best model to maintain for any business that has intricate remote training requirements.
2. Make mobile-first courses
For companies that have already instituted a virtual training platform, many of them choose to produce mobile-first courses. The purpose behind this initiative is to ensure that learning is always convenient to the new hire, which refers back to asynchronous learning. While this might not be suitable for entities that have intense and complex training manuals, a mobile-first course can succeed for standard offices.
3. Monitor learner engagement and performance
When you’re in the office, you can regularly seek feedback from your supervisor or manager. It’s a bit harder inside a virtual realm for workers to attain constructive criticism. But it’s still crucial for businesses to put together an ecosystem that facilitates learner engagement and performance since new employees want to how they’re doing or what they can do to improve their overall performance.
You can achieve this by having scheduled video conference meetings with the latest talent acquisitions. You can also integrate a gamification measure into your virtual training to allow you and your new hires to monitor performance levels.
4. Ensure training is interactive
Let’s be honest: training can be rather dull. It’s not the most exciting time of your life. But does it have to be it this way? Not quite. The easiest strategy for your company to employ is interaction. This is a big thing that you need to remember to do since it’s one of the best practices to ensure a successful session and higher retention rate. So, how can you make your virtual training more interactive?
Here are some components you should consider:
- Support videos
- Live webinars
- Discussion forums
- Team collaboration software
By being interactive, you have already laid the groundwork for virtual team building.
5. Invest in the right digital tools
In order to have the best virtual training seminar, you need to invest in the right digital tools. You can’t just rely on a $10 webcam from Amazon. Since you’re training your next generation of employees, and depending on these professionals to get the job done in the comfort of their homes, you want the best technological capabilities. This way, you can go into detail and ensure no stone is left unturned.
What should you be looking for? Here are several virtual training tools to mirror an in-person session:
- A public and private messaging tool
- Whiteboards to draw, write or upload an image
- Screen-sharing so instructors can share their screen with employees
- A follow-up list that serves an agenda for what’s being covered
- High-quality audio so that everything that’s being shared is audible
6. Implement an effective training schedule
When you’re conducting synchronous training, you need to create a consistent, transparent and effective schedule. By doing this, you can allow your new employees to prioritise and maximise their attention. A calendar will suffice, but you can take it to the next level by integrating to-do lists, spreadsheets and files to the scheduled date.
7. Verify access is user-friendly
There have been many instances over the years of applicants or employees unable to access a particular platform. It may have had to do with the poor user experience, miscommunication or a bad connection. Whatever the case, it’s imperative that you ensure access is pain-free and the instructions are easy to follow. Here are a few measures you can employ to boost attendance:
- Test out the system yourself before any scheduled event
- Email a link to the session a few days in advance
- Send a reminder notice within a couple of hours of the event
- Share a screen capture of the virtual classroom
- Inform them of the password moments before the session for security purposes
- Let people know what to expect from the virtual training session (the platform, lessons, basic functions and more)
8. Choose your platform
Many new outfits are popping in the aftermath of the pandemic, with companies seemingly taking advantage of the huge demand in everything related to virtual. In today’s world, there are several types of conferencing and dedicated virtual training platforms that organisations worldwide are using – and knowing which one to select can be hard. Here are just some of the most popular outlets:
9. Have somebody always online during business hours
If you had adopted asynchronous training, then somebody might be independently learning without any instruction. However, they may have a question or two about the company, protocols or anything else that relates to the position. Therefore, if you have adopted a system to train virtual employees, it’s best to have somebody always online during business hours so that you answer questions, comments or concerns.
10. Create a pre-class checklist
A pre-class checklist is a sort of cheat sheet for both the employer and the employee to remember what to bring or what to do before and during a virtual training session. The checklist can be emailed to trainees in a reminder email about the scheduled event. For instance, you could explain to the trainees that they should do the following:
- Keep microphone on mute when you’re not speaking.
- Make sure you have a good connection before the event
- Turn off your mobile devices
- Remove any distractions, such as social media, email and games (or, if your kids are a distraction, too, then be sure to place them in front of the television!)
- If applicable, use a ‘raise hand’ feature when somebody has a question
As time goes by, you’ll come up with other tips after several of these training programmes.
Does all of this seem intimidating? It probably does, but you should realise that you’re not pioneering virtual training. Many companies before you have made plenty of mistakes, and others will make errors after you. The important thing is to learn from your peers and do what works for you. As long as you remember that virtual training is effective and engaging, you can remain confident that this will be right for your organisation.
‘Virtual training is not a new concept, but companies now see it as a necessity rather than an established solution,’ says Aris Apostolopoulos, Senior Content Writer at TalentLMS. ‘However, experienced instructors over the years have found out that virtual training is much more effective when it’s interactive. Think of classrooms and how engaged learners feel when they get to ask or answer questions, provide feedback and share concerns or even insights. This is how a virtual training session should be. Don’t just turn on your microphone and start talking, but make it feel like a conversation so you can fight learning fatigue.’
Schools, businesses, government offices – everyone is migrating to the online world amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Is this a temporary shift until a vaccine is developed or the virus has been eradicated? This is more than likely a permanent transition to everything being completed online. And this is what office workers have asked for after so many years. Will this be the stuff dreams are made of, or will we learn to regret it after a couple of years?
Do you have any questions you’d like to ask or any other tips you’d like to share? Head over to the comments section below and let us know!