To keep up with the changing climate, employers are having to quickly adapt how they operate. Many companies have had to shift the focus of their products and introduce new customer offerings – changes like this make it especially important to find successful ways of upskilling staff while they work remotely.
Co-founder and CEO of virtual fertility clinic Apricity Caroline Noublanche, explores 5 common strategies that you can apply to ensure your team-members remain engaged and essential training remains productive in a virtual environment.
Schedule in-house training sessions
Allocating time for on-the-job training with peers and managers is an incredibly valuable way to learn, and sometimes the only option if budgets are tight. Companies should schedule regular internal conference calls to connect on both a group and individual basis. This can take the form of a virtual ‘lunch & learn’ or an ‘Ask me anything’ with senior leadership, in which teams ask questions about specific topics related to their professional growth. Bringing teams together to brainstorm and take part in group discussions is also a great way to encourage them to learn from each other, challenge one another’s thinking and develop more collaborative relationships.
Gain customer insight through webinars
The end goal for any service provider is to create a valuable experience for its customers. While face-to-face meetings are on hold for the majority, employees should be encouraged to schedule virtual meetings with their customers to build and maintain those relationships. And in the likely event, that customer focus has shifted in the past few weeks, organising industry-specific webinar training is a great way to provide team members with a broader understanding of the day-to-day needs of these customers. For instance, at Apricity, we actively encourage our team to attend educational webinars organised for our patients.
Equip employees with the right digital tools
Employers have a responsibility to equip their team with the tools needed to most effectively do their job. Investing in software tools like Confluence and Miro make it much easier to collaborate on individual projects, and can have a hugely positive impact on productivity levels. Digital coaching tools like CoachHub are also an excellent resource for virtually connecting team members with coaching experts that specialise in all manner of disciplines, which can be tailored to the employees’ needs.
Set professional milestones and celebrate success
Giving feedback can take more of a concerted effort when working remotely, but it’s vital to show that you value the personal development and career progression of each employee. Schedule regular 1-1 sessions with team members, in which managers deliver individual feedback and set clear and trackable objectives. It’s equally important to use these meetings to celebrate their successes, and visual management tools like Kanban boards are a great way of visualising daily ‘wins’ (big and small) to the whole company. Remote working can feel repetitive and lack the same energy as an office, so it’s important to replicate the sense of team morale and motivation online.
When in doubt, over-communicate
Less is more unless you’re talking about communication… It’s easy to forget how much we interact in an office environment without even realising it. For remote teams, this requires much more of a conscious effort – it’s surprisingly easy to go a whole working day with minimum interactions, especially during busy periods. Instant messaging platforms like Slack are fantastic for getting quick responses, but relying on messaging can quickly become routine. Don’t forget to pick up the phone too, particularly when it comes to providing thorough, actionable feedback that’s always better received via a proper conversation.
Adjusting to a virtual workforce is more challenging than it might initially seem. While it definitely requires more effort to keep track of each team member’s morale and professional development, it’s essential to prioritise: for most businesses, the virtual workforce will be the new normal.