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Now that workers have experienced the flexibility of remote work — and managers adjusted to the idea of leading remote teams — it’s become the “new normal.” But keeping employees engaged and motivated in remote teams is no small undertaking.
Employee engagement is often a result of employees feeling like their company values them and invests in their future, not just at the company, but in their careers.
They know where they fit into the larger organizational goals and why the work they do matters.
Training and development efforts are a big part of business strategy, but also employee retention. Leveraging training programs is an excellent tool to attract and retain top talent, according to research from MRI Network.
For many companies, however, having disconnected teams, asynchronous schedules, and time constraints limit team development. Managers and employees don’t have the time to spend on comprehensive development programs geared toward building skills and teamwork, and most companies can’t afford to have employees tied up in training classes.
Succinct learning, or micro-learning, enhances learning and performance using easily digestible, short-form content. Employees can access their learning resources on their best schedule, which is ideal for flexible remote teams with minimal time.
Virtual or in-person training courses are time-consuming and cause employees to take time out of their work schedules, significantly affecting their workloads and putting strain on the company budget.
These programs are also intensive, leading to lower retention from learners.
Succinct learning offers a solution with short-form content that’s delivered in formats that are easy to digest. Employees can focus on the information in short bites, allowing for better retention.
Companies also benefit from a higher return on investment, since employees have the freedom and flexibility to attend to their work tasks during the day along with their training.
Is succinct learning right for your remote team? Here’s how you can implement it:
Any training program should be planned in advance, whether you’re using traditional or non-traditional learning models. Training managers, team leaders, and employees need to identify skills gaps and see which learning opportunities should be prioritized.
Goals are an important part of the planning process. Companies should consider budget constraints, time limitations, and current skills gaps to ensure succinct learning opportunities are focused on the most beneficial programs.
Once you have a plan in place and consider the skills gaps, you can design your learning and development program. For example, if your customer service team needs some training, you can provide focused customer service courses to improve both the employees and your company’s customer experience.
If you want to strengthen your sales team, specific courses directed at sales knowledge are beneficial.
Targeting the training is why it’s so important to discuss the plan with leadership and employees. When everyone is involved, you can get a clear understanding of the current skills gaps and employee goals, as well as how they fit into the organizational goals.
It’s difficult for employees to focus on learning if they’re stressing out about how much work they still need to do. You should honor the time allotted for training without causing them to get behind or become overwhelmed with their workloads.
If your employees don’t feel like they’re nurtured and supported, learning may not be successful.
That said, your employees shouldn’t spend more time with training programs than necessary. Each course will have a time estimate that you can consider in your planning and budgeting to ensure you’re getting the best return on investment possible.
There are plenty of options for developing employees and skill sets. You can use videos, online courses, podcasts, simulations, and group work to optimize the learning opportunities.
There are also programs with classroom-based, instructor-led courses that employees can attend virtually — or in person — as they choose, as well as informal peer group or self-study endeavors.
Keep in mind that the skills you’re trying to build factor into the best training opportunities. Some skills need to be learned hands-on, such as complex manufacturing processes, while others can be approached with formal and informal methods.
Another excellent training method is rotating your employees. This gives employees a chance to learn new skills and understand what other roles and departments experience on the job, expanding their knowledge.
Employee development plans are likely new to your organization. When you start, keep the groups small to test out your plan. You’ll be able to identify challenges or issues before the entire organization is involved in the training.
Remember, a big factor in your team’s success is continually testing, measuring, and adapting. Some programs may have analytics, but you can also use your own metrics based on your goals. This is a journey for both your company and your employees.
Putting time and resources into employee development builds a culture of ongoing learning and development that promotes employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention.
When you invest in your employees, they have the skills they need to do their best work and contribute to the company’s goals.
Wildly addicted to all things leadership, Cecilia Gorman is a veteran of the advertising industry and the owner of Creative Talent Partners, a training consultancy that specializes in the development of rising managers and their teams. Whether it’s a team offsite, a manager workshop or through her online Manager Boot Camp course, Cecilia’s sole pursuit is adding value to growth-focused employees.
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