With the uptick in remote work that happened last year, traditional training methods have gone out the window in favor of procedures that work for remote employees. However, if remote employees are new for your business, it can be difficult to implement training measures that work for both you and your new hire. To make training easier, we’ve put together a list of the best tools to successfully train remote employees.
Table of contents
- How do you train remote employees?
- Web conferencing software
- Learning management systems
- Social collaboration tools
- Project management software
- Gamification platforms
- Remote training is here to stay
How do you train remote employees?
Training remote employees can be difficult for both the trainer and trainee, and it takes time and patience to get it right. First, your training materials need to be clear and easy to access. If your new employee has to waste time trying to find or decipher the information, it’s going to put them way behind in their learning. Try to keep as much of the material as possible in one place.
In addition to making the material easy to access, training should be an interactive experience. Online (and offline) distractions are everywhere when it comes to remote employees, so your training has to compete with those distractions. Many employees who are used to working remotely won’t have a problem ignoring the other options, but you can still help them out by making the training courses as engaging as possible.
Finally, you need to make sure you’re providing constructive, measurable feedback to help your employees grow. Be clear about how your new hire is progressing, what they’re doing well, and what they could be doing better. Continuous feedback is the only way to ensure that your employees continue to grow and provide the level of service you need and expect from them.
Web conferencing software
Web conferencing software, like Zoom or GoToMeeting, has virtually taken over the world in the last year. With the huge spike in remote work, companies were scrambling to find ways to keep communication fluid and accessible between employees. Web conferencing software offers this through video calling features and virtual conference rooms. It offers a personal touch and face-to-face connection that you can’t get through instant messaging, email, or even phone conversations.
Also read: Video Conferencing Wars Enter Next Phase
Why you need it
Web conferencing software is essential for training remote employees because it’s the best way to connect with them when you can’t be in the same room. Not only can you talk to them face-to-face, but there are also screen-sharing options that make it easier to walk them through certain processes. Additionally, it’s easy to train more than one person at a time, especially since you can see facial expressions and body language that might indicate confusion.
Top web conferencing software
There are quite a few web conferencing software options available, but these two are a solid choice for most organizations.
Zoom is probably the most well-known web conferencing software option at this point. They have free plans for unlimited one-on-one meetings, group meetings up to 40 minutes, and the ability to host up to 100 participants. That’s an amazing option for small businesses who might not have the budget to pay for a premier plan. Between screen sharing and recording options, training remote employees can be easier than ever before.
While GoToMeeting doesn’t offer a free plan, they only charge per meeting organizer, which can go a long way with proper planning. Even the basic plan removes time limits and includes screen sharing and meeting lock to keep out unwanted participants. Transcription is also available in higher tiers, which could be essential for training employees who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Learning management systems
Learning management systems (LMS) offer a platform where trainers can host learning modules, quizzes, and audio and video files to improve the learning experience for their new hires. Common features of an LMS include mobile learning, skills and certification tracking, social learning, and message boards to help learners work together to overcome problems.
Also read: 5 Innovative Ways Companies are Using eLearning
Why you need it
If you have to pick just one tool from this list, we’d recommend an LMS. No matter how experienced your new hire is, your company is going to have certain requirements or processes that they won’t be familiar with. Learning management systems can break down procedures into manageable chunks to make training easier. Between quizzes and skill assessments, you can identify exactly where your new hires need the most help. This lets you focus on the areas where growth is needed most, rather than repeating something your new employee already understands. An LMS also centralizes the training material in a single location, making it easier for trainees to find what they need.
Top learning management systems
To make your search for a learning management system easier, we’ve provided two recommendations below: one for small businesses and one for enterprise companies.
TalentLMS is a cloud-based platform that is best suited for small and medium-sized businesses. The tool comes with several options for plans, including a free tier for up to five users and ten courses. Using the drag-and-drop interface, you can create training courses right in the software and distribute them to the appropriate learners. You can even share courses with non-registered users in case you want to do a pre-hiring assessment or use it with your customers.
MATRIX LMS is a great option for enterprise businesses, but it can work for SMBs as well. The platform can be easily customized to fit your specific requirements, including color schemes, branding, and terminology. It also supports over 40 different languages, which makes it perfect for international companies. MATRIX LMS also supports a hands-on approach with instructor-led courses or a hands-off option with self-paced learning.
Social collaboration tools
Collaboration tools in general can encompass a wide variety of software, including project management, task management, document sharing, and web conferencing. In this section, we’ll be referring to social collaboration software, which makes it easier for your team to communicate about projects and assignments no matter where they are. These tools generally host an instant messaging platform, giving your employees easy access to one another.
Why you need it
Remote work provides an extra barrier to collaboration and training, because your employees can’t just pop over to each others’ desks when they have a question. Luckily, collaboration software is the online equivalent, with one exception. Most collaboration software allows you to turn off notifications if you’re working on something that will take all of your focus, which you can’t always do in a physical office. Additionally, many platforms easily integrate with the other software you use to make projects easier.
Also read: Messaging Platforms in the Cloud Will Drive Digital Business Transformation
Top social collaboration tools
Finding the right social collaboration tool can sometimes depend on the other software you already use.
If you already use a large portion of the Microsoft suite for your daily work, adding Microsoft Teams makes the most sense. In fact, if your business already has a Microsoft 365 plan, Teams is included for free. It integrates easily with the rest of the tools in Microsoft 365 and offers video conferencing along with collaboration tools. The collaboration tools support up to 300 people on the lowest plans and allow you to store files in the software and attach files in the chat.
Slack is a simple and easy to learn instant messaging platform. Not only can you have one-to-one direct messages, but you can also start channels based on specific themes or teams and invite relevant people to join in. Additionally, it offers a ton of integrations with other software platforms to help you increase its functionality. Turn a conversation into a Zoom meeting with just a couple of clicks or poll your team to find the best meeting time for everyone. The free plan allows you to try out the system and make sure it’s the right fit for you before upgrading to a higher tier.
Project management software
Physical distance has made training and completing projects harder for businesses. Project management software is a great way to train remote employees because they can see exactly what tasks they need to complete and when. These platforms provide task management tools, places where employees can discuss projects, and usually some kind of document storage. It also simplifies projects for employees who have already been trained.
Why you need it
Project management software allows you to assign tasks to new hires and keep an eye on their progress as they work through them. The trainee can comment on the task to ask questions or make notes as they go. With project management software, you can get detailed reports on what your employees have completed and make sure all of your projects stay on track.
Top project management software
While some project management software options are suited for general use, others are geared towards enterprise companies or those who prefer the Agile method of project management.
Basecamp is a general use project management software that offers flat-fee pricing regardless of how many users you have. It’s a web-based tool with a mobile application, making it perfect for remote employees. Tasks are organized by project, making it easy to keep all of a trainee’s assignments together in one place. You can integrate it with third-party applications, but it also stands up well on its own.
Also read: Basecamp vs. Asana: 2019 Comparison
Wrike is project management software geared towards enterprise companies, however, there is a free plan for up to five users. This could work well for startups or companies who want to try it out before upgrading to a higher package. Even the free version includes basic integrations including Google Drive and Dropbox, a mobile application, and 2GB of storage space for training materials or other documents.
Gamification platforms make learning fun and help your trainees retain the information better. Some learning management systems include gamification in their software, but there is also standalone gamification software that you can integrate into your LMS. Regardless of whether you’re training new employees remote or in-person, gamification is a must-have.
Why you need it
Gamification provides intrinsic motivation that makes your trainees want to perform well. It makes the training process more fun and engaging and increases the amount of information your new employees will remember. Some gamification platforms also include a competition aspect, which can provide a little social pressure for your employees to take the training seriously and perform their best.
Top gamification platforms
These are good options for standalone gamification platforms that you can use for training.
Bunchball: Enterprise Gamification
Bunchball: Enterprise Gamification is a gamification platform that you can use not only to train your employees, but also to engage your customers. The platform integrates behavioral science to help motivate users and keep them engaged in the process. It can be added to any third-party application to gamify the experience. You can use it in your LMS or add it to your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to increase your sales team’s performance.
WorkStride is a people-driven gamification program built to motivate and engage employees during the training process and beyond. With this software, you can blend rewards and recognition into your training program for higher retention rates. The Toolkit feature lets you upload resources, like PDF guides and pricing sheets, where your team can easily find them. If you want, you can even provide real rewards like gift cards for reaching certain milestones.
Remote training is here to stay
As more companies realize the benefits that come with remote work, training employees remotely isn’t something that’s just going to go away. While patience and clarity are important for the remote training process, you also need the tools to make it easier. Luckily, eLearning has risen in popularity over the past few years, so learning management, project management, and web conferencing tools are available to help you increase employee retention and make the remote training experience enjoyable for both trainer and trainee.