As much as orientation is important in the process of getting employees onboard, training is equivalently one of the key factors in ensuring the success behind it. However, now that many organizations have moved to an arrangement of working from home more widely, it also means the numbers of remote employees would expand. Therefore, with the status quo of the current practise being exposed more and more to virtual trainings, let us go through the top 11 tips in running a Virtual Training for your remote employees.
1) Send training plan to all participants early
‘Plan your work and work your plan’, so they say. In this case, it is ultimately true as to have everybody prepared from the beginning is crucial in ensuring all parties all prepared mentally and physically. The reason behind this is so that employees could prepare themselves beforehand and to plan ahead with their tasks for the days they would be involved in it. They could also prepare themselves with materials that could be of beneficial to be used in the training.
2) Send a reminder of the training schedule
Once the participants have been informed on the training plan, it is always best to remind as the event is nearing. The reason behind this is so that participants would not miss out on the arranged schedule and not be panicked or shocked as the time arrives. Not only that, countdowns are always nice, as it would instill excitement onto those involved as it is something all could look forward to.
3) Create presentation slides. Don’t use too much text on slides
Notice how some presenters could grab the attention of the participants throughout the whole presentation, while some unfortunate ones would last only a few minutes before the rest fades away into thin air despite being present in the session? As it is, remote employees would have to go through their training virtually.
Hence, to catch the eyes of the remote employees throughout the whole sitting, it is always best to create slides that are catchy and not too wordy, to avoid presenters reading solely from it hence losing the focus of those supposedly present just within minutes.
4) Take advantage of interactive virtual tools (Use the right technology)
It is always best to have a 2-way communication as compared to just having a sole person talking while the rest are on mute. During the presentation, or even before you start, prepare the training to be equipped with the right tools to be in such way that it would encourage participants to be interactive not only when they have to, but also allow them to feel free in speaking-up with their queries and comments as and when they feel like it. Among the ways one could break the ice would be to have tools that could enable participants in being involved in charts, quizzes, polls and many more!
5) Start your training on time
Notice how awkward it can be when everybody’s in and you’re the last one to arrive? What more when the session is done virtually, where most parties would be on time, or even early! Hence, it is always best to ensure the session starts on time to avoid participants feeling confused, if there is something wrong with their connection, or if they joined the right link, or as simple as feeling disrespected as the training they were invited to join where they were punctual however the organizer isn’t taking it seriously.
Thus, it is always best to ensure punctuality is being practiced all the way from the beginning as it would be among the first impression the remote staffs would have on the team.
6) Encourage active participation and interact with your participants
Notice how tones play a huge part in communication? Hence as an organizer, it is always best to maintain a calm yet charismatic tone throughout the training to instill a positive vibe onto the participants. Encourage participants to ask questions as well as share their experiences. Open up the floor and make them feel rewarded and celebrated when they participate as it would further motivate those who took the initiative in being actively involved.
For those who have yet to volunteer in answering any questions, call on their names so that they know you acknowledge them and most importantly, their opinion matters. Last but definitely not the least, it is always best to begin with you enabling your webcam while inviting the rest in doing the same.
7) Set clear goals, ground rules and expectation
Notice how when goals, visions and missions are being known to all parties, it makes things a lot clearer for all? Hence while going through the training, inform accordingly to the remote employees of the goals as well as expectations to be expected from them as part of the team, from the other team members, as well as from the management.
Discuss on them clearly so that both parties could meet on the same page agreeing on the goals before starting to work on it. Other than that, it is also best to discuss on the basic principles on what is accepted and perhaps tolerated, and otherwise. To talk things through from the beginning is always encouraged as it would eliminate uncertainty and transparency between both sides.
8) Create fun-in between session
It is always best to have an ‘advert’ in between sessions. This is because imagine having to compress and process so much in that short period of time. Indeed the overwhelming feeling would surge through the minds and throats of the employees leaving them with headaches, nausea, and losing focus altogether. Hence, have fun sessions in between, just to get the mind of those tasks that have been trained.
Altogether it will act as a pause button to our minds which would be beneficial for the staffs as it will allow their minds to take a breather and absorb the inputs that have been given to them. Fun-in sessions could be of anything that could be of the category of fun, such as videos, fun-fact sessions, or even just a small talk that is non-work related. This may sound small, but it will bring a long way.
9) Schedule breaks into agenda
Remember those days when you’d feel exhausted, you would get up and go for a walk to the pantry to just take your eyes away from the computer screen, or even just to the toilet? How refreshing that felt, right? Same goes with this. Having to rush everything onto the employees without giving them breaks, such as toilet breaks, tea breaks, or even lunch breaks, in other ways, would be a subtle way of forcing the participation of the employees, whereby take it from me, wouldn’t be of beneficial to both those training and attendees as on their minds would be one and only one, when is this going to be over?
10) Utilize the chat window. Push for participation in chat and Q&A
Not everybody likes to speak out as they would feel swamped with the feeling of shyness, scared of making mistakes and not sounding smart, and many more. Hence instill into the employees that it is okay to send in their comments, questions and answers through chats, and that it is not looked less upon. From time to time, it is highly encouraged for the trainers to look into the chats so that the remote staffs know they are also being heard, even through chats.
11) Create and distribute follow-up materials
I remember having to go for trainings after trainings, and among the first question I would always ask would be, is there any Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for this? If yes, that would be of a huge relieve as I would then move to the next question of where can I find it. if there isn’t, I will notice a slight percentage of panic existing within myself without even wanting it’s presence. Not only that, realize how when we go for trainings, there would always be materials prepared in a folder?
To answer your question (and mine, before I knew the impact it had on me when there wasn’t any), no it is not just to waste paper. That is because it is indeed true that to have the information ready in a way that we are able to follow through instead of just listening brings the understanding to a higher level. This is because not only are the employees able to see it with their own eyes while listening to the training, but also able to jot down notes based on a simple and personalized way for them to understand and remember more.
With all that has been said and done, I hope you find the tips helpful as they are not only beneficial for trainings in the working world. If you were to look at it closely, you would find that it is helpful and useful to all across age range that is having online sessions, be it classes, trainings, or even meetings. After all, a great execution comes with a successful planning.