With the growth in people occasionally working from home, as well as working remotely full-time, training remote employees is a critical skill.
Have you ever been one of the few people dialing in remotely when everyone else on your team was together attending a training? It’s not a great experience.
Here are 6 key things to keep in mind when you are training remote employees.
1. Develop a consistent training schedule.
As we’ve often written, training shouldn’t be restricted to once a year or even once a quarter. Make sure you are providing regular training and keep it consistent.
One good place to start is to include sales training in your weekly sales team meetings. For other teams with regular meetings, make training a regular part of the agenda.
When people have a consistent schedule for training, they’ll prioritize it and you’ll generally get higher attendance.
For some ideas of sales training topics, check out our list.
Sales Training Topics Checklist
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2. Balance self-guided vs. interactive training.
As you are planning your training schedule, evaluate which topics are best to cover in interactive group sessions and which are better to review individually.
Many training topics, especially related to policies, processes, and factual information, can be reviewed individually. Skill training and sharing best practices, on the other hand, are generally best to save for group sessions.
When you use self-guided sessions for training remote employees, make sure to include some level of assessments. You might even consider investing in a Learning Management System to develop a custom training curriculum.
If you have a Sales PlayBook, you can put your self-guided training modules into your PlayBook.
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3. Leverage technology wherever possible.
With all the recent improvements in videoconferencing technology, training remote employees is easier than ever.
Look for opportunities to enable face-time for your remote employees. It can be the difference between just being a voice on the phone and seeming like a real person.
This can also provide some accountability to ensure that people are paying attention. To that same end, look at any webinar platforms you are using and see if it’s possible to track whether people are paying attention. Many platforms allow you to do that.
4. Drive interaction when you are training remote employees.
When I first started working at Criteria for Success over 10 years ago, I had a client that was silent on webinars. We’d be leading a training session, and whenever we asked for feedback or questions, we got crickets.
This is uncomfortable for both the trainer and participants!
Work to establish an interactive, fun training culture. Ask a lot of questions and get the team to share examples, stories, and best practices.
5. If possible, group remote employees.
Just because employees are remote doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t get together.
Depending on your team’s location, explore whether it’s possible for them to gather into small groups for some or all of your training sessions.
This will improve teamwork, help grow relationships, and drive interaction and accountability in the training sessions.
If you try this with your team, one important consideration is where the groups will meet. If people are working from home, they may not be comfortable having colleagues visit. Consider finding a shared workspace where the team can get together instead.
6. Don’t forget to bring the whole team together.
No matter how good you are at training remote employees, nothing beats in-person interaction.
Make sure to schedule times where you can get the whole team together for in-person training. And keep these events fun!
We have one client that has quarterly “block parties” where everyone who is available comes into the office for a half day of training, updates, and announcements. They use these occasions to celebrate key life events like baby showers, and they often schedule team dinners and other fun events. This also provides a good opportunity to schedule a leadership meeting, since people are in town.
Even if you can’t manage quarterly meetings, look to get your team together at least twice a year. In-person training can be transformational, and employees will form relationships that might be hard when they work remotely.
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