By Tammy Bjelland, CEO and Founder of Workplaceless—a company that helps remote workers, managers, and companies thrive in location-free and flexible environments.
As an organization rooted in education, we at Workplaceless see value and results in robust team training, and this is especially true for remote teams.
Remote teams can range from companies that operate with everyone working remotely—a fully distributed model, or where some team members are office-based while other team members work from home—a hybrid model. Flexible teams are often defined as companies that operate with a variety of working options—location or schedule—for their employees.
We recognize that shifting or starting off with a remote operating model involves nuances to skills and processes, and training can play a critical role in getting set up and staying successful.
- How do people demonstrate their ability to be productive and collaborative in remote teams?
- How do leaders effectively manage fully distributed, hybrid and flexible teams?
- What are best practices for remote teams?
- How do companies maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of remote teams?
Even as some big-name companies are abandoning remote work policies, analysts recognize the lack of training as a root cause for remote teams not meeting expectations.
So, what exactly are the fundamentals of training remote teams?
1. Develop a plan
Same as with any other strategic initiative, it’s important to understand how your leadership and development (L&D) goals ladder to your business goals.
Once your goals are defined, it’s important to select the right tools and resources to build the content needed for your employee training plan. This includes the strategy and details in place for how exactly you plan to roll out and continuously assess the programs.
Here’s where a training and onboarding tool, like Trainual, can be instrumental in ensuring your training plan is delivering results.
2. Begin training from day 1
A drive for continuous learning is critical in optimizing a remote team culture. Remote workers need to cultivate the skills for continuous improvement in order to succeed in autonomous work—continuous learning is fundamental.
Your onboarding programs should not just include the nuts and bolts of internal company processes, but also any foundational skills needed to succeed in a new role and within a virtual team overall. By establishing an opportunity for individuals to grow their skills from day one, you’re also establishing a remote culture centered in continuous learning and development.
3. Align language and expectations
Communication can’t be emphasized enough as a critical success factor for remote teams. This is the same for your remote team training.
Ensure the language and outcomes among training programs are aligned across teams and even employee hierarchies. When all virtual team members—workers, managers, and HR staff—are using the same vocabulary (and acronyms!) and understand the same expectations from the start, you are set up to succeed. This alignment aids in establishing best practices and processes for collaboration, along with navigating new structures as a team.