Considering the challenge many small businesses face in finding and retaining good employees (Plantronics survey found that 44 percent of small business owners say attracting and finding quality labor is the biggest HR pain point); you don’t want to lose team members because they feel their opportunities are limited and the company is not investing in their future. Among millennial workers, in particular, employer education and training are an expectation, writes the HuffPost Business in “9 Company Perks Every Millennial Wants (and Expects).” The blog post cites a millennial-specific survey conducted by professional services firm PwC which found that 35 percent of survey respondents cited growth and education opportunities as attractive employer perks.
It’s not only the need to meet employee expectations that makes training important. As your small business grows, you need people who can take on more responsibility and help the business expand into new areas. Hiring from within is far easier and more beneficial to employee morale than bringing in outsiders.
Meet remote training challenges
With some of your team working remotely all or part of the time, training can be challenging. Online courses or webinars enable your team to learn whenever they want and wherever they are. But other training may require bringing professional trainers into the office or scheduling brown bag lunch sessions led by internal managers, and then you’ll want everyone to participate at the same time. If it’s not cost-effective for remote employers to travel to headquarters, you’ll need to arrange an audio or video conference.
Regarding technology tools, in addition to providing your remote workers with mobile devices or implementing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy for anytime/anywhere learning, consider employing cloud-based web and video conferencing as well as document sharing. There also is a host of cloud-based learning management systems, some of which are free for a limited number of users; others are billed monthly. Use these systems to design your own training courses.
Other considerations to ensure the successful training of remote workers include:
Start training with time at headquarters: Bring new employees into the office for their first few weeks of training and to meet the headquarters team. It’s important for new hires to feel a sense of belonging and that is best accomplished when they can interact with people face-to-face.
Create a mentor program: Provide a newly hired remote employee with a mentor from within the organization. Mentors will be responsible for helping remote workers develop skills and knowledge to do their job competently and advance professionally.
Encourage participation in associations: Pay for remote employees to join local business organizations and associations where they can learn through networking as well as take advantage of seminars and workshops that are offered.
Set milestones: Your training program should include milestones. Check in periodically to see how your remote employees are doing and to find out if they are having any difficulties that may require adjusting the training or changing the pace.
Ensure crystal clear communication: Since training can take place anywhere – in a hotel lobby, a coffee shop, an airport lounge as well as a home office – it’s difficult to control background noise. A noise-cancelling headset can ensure that training isn’t compromised by the inability of remote workers to hear clearly regardless of noise around them from others or the environment. As an example, Plantronics newly announced Voyager 5200 and Voyager 5200 UC feature WindSmart technology, an exclusive Plantronics innovation that ensures extraordinary wind and noise reduction.