Do you need to change how you think about employee learning? Before 2020 and Covid-19 hit, there was a negativity around working from home. In fact, several businesses were moving away from remote work. To name just a few, Best Buy, Yahoo, IBM, Honeywell and Bank of America were all abandoning their remote work initiatives. These companies said they wanted to improve communication, collaboration and teamwork by coming back into the office setting.
Compare this to 2020 and the impacts of COVID-19 and employee learning has really shifted. Forty-two percent of the U.S. labor force is now working from home full-time. This accounts for almost twice as many employees working from home versus in the office. And if you consider the U.S. gross domestic product based on earnings, the “work-from-home employees” now account for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.
As you can see, you need to reexamine how you think about employee learning given this new landscape. And it seems that both employees and employers see the benefits of remote work so much that it is here to stay. In fact, many major companies are saying they will continue remote work even after the pandemic.
So how do you best support your employees when out of the office? And how do you best support your company when remote? We’ll give you some apps and integrations that will enhance employee productivity and learning as well as help your company work remotely more efficiently.
Best practices for remote employee learning
Before we get into which products or services to invest in, let’s talk about best practices for remote employee learning. With employees working from home on different WIFI networks and with various distractions, what are the best ways to learn? Here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Put yourself in your employees’ shoes
In an office, it’s easy to walk by and oversee training. Whether you use all in-classroom training, online training or a blended training environment, you can observe first-hand how the learning process is going. However, when your employees work from home, it’s hard to picture how they learn. So set them up for success. Make sure they have the necessary equipment and tools to take the training they need. Also survey every employee and ask what will help them learn from home.
- Invest in remote training software
We’ll get into specifics a little later, but you’ll need a platform for employee training that works remotely. You need to take into consideration different employee time zones, Internet connectivity and built-in support, if questions arise. If you don’t already have a virtual training platform, consider your company size, budget and what your specific needs are when selecting a provider. Many come with free trials so you can always try out a few before making your decision final.
- Mix up the delivery
Employees have different learning styles and certainly learn at various paces. So take into account different learning strategies when training virtually. For example, you may have some training modules that use video and you may develop others with text-based information. Mixing and matching different ways to learn will help employees better absorb the information when out of a brick and mortar office.
- Train on demand
When building a remote training program, it has to be flexible. Employees need to be able to log in and take the training when it works best for their schedules. However, by using a corporate learning management system, you can assign training and set parameters as to what dates the training needs to be completed. This process allows training to be fluid, but also managed.
- Include socialization
When employees learn at home, it takes away that element of socialization. So when building training remotely, find ways to build it back in. For example, you could use breakout sessions that get employees interacting or build a chatroom to discuss post lesson planning. Not only will you get employees socializing, but it will help employees better absorb the information and retain what’s being learned.
- Centralize training
Over and over employees cite lack of career advancement as a reason for leaving a job. In fact, a strong learning culture led to 30 to 50 percent higher retention rates in companies. So by stating you have a main focus on company learning from the beginning is important. Start with onboarding and offer continuous learning throughout an employee’s lifecycle. And just because you are remote, doesn’t mean you can’t foster this same culture. Let employees know that even though they aren't in the office, they will still have access to a robust learning program from home.