5 Tips for Training Remote Employees

Angela McDonald • 31/07/2016

5 Tips for Training Remote Employees

Outsourcing isn’t just about handing off work and getting the completed version back later. To be successful at outsourcing, you need to invest in your offshore staff. One way of doing that is to provide training. Whether it’s upskilling, introducing staff to company processes, or broadening your staff knowledge base, training remote employees is important and worthwhile.

Why bother training remote employees?

Plenty of reasons. Training introduces your company culture and reinforces it for your offshore staff. It shows you’re invested in the employee and in turn means they will be more invested in your company and its success.
More practically, training one offshore employee allows them to teach the rest of your remote team. Plus, it gives your business a wider range of skills and lets you advertise that your staff are certified in more areas.

So how do you go about training remote employees?

• Embrace online courses

Online courses run from free webinars and software certifications all the way to classes produced by prestigious universities. Many of those are technology and business focused, which provides good value for your company. There are courses in arts and humanities as well.
By using online courses you allow your remote employees a measure of flexibility about when they do their study, so it can fit around other work.
It is important that you keep track of how your offshore employees are going with their online courses. Monitor what they’re learning.

• Find ways of including them in any onshore training

If you bring someone in to do training with your local employees, look at ways you can broadcast that training to your remote team. There are any number of video conferencing software you can use to beam seminars to the Philippines. All it takes is someone to monitor questions coming in from your remote staff.
If your training will take place during the middle of the night in Manila, then record it to allow your remote employees to watch during their daytime. Be sure to make any training materials available to them, and if possible, someone to answer any questions about the material.

• Forge bonds for informal training

Much of the training that occurs in a workplace is senior staff passing on knowledge to juniors. Set up that kind of mentoring scheme to include your remote staff – using email, skype, and chat software.
And remember that it doesn’t just go one way – you may find your remote employees are willing and able to mentor your younger local staff as well.

• Acknowledge training success and self-directed learning

While you might not be able to dedicate time to finding courses and online seminars for your remote team to attend, that shouldn’t stop you from encouraging your employees to have a look themselves. Be receptive if your employee comes to you with a training opportunity they’d like to engage in – offer to pay for the costs or the time the employee spends doing the training.
And when any of your employees are successful in completing training, getting certified, or upskilling, be sure to recognise it. Even if that’s just a note of congratulations in your company newsletter.

• Allow adequate time for training remote employees

It’s easy when your local staff are out for training – you know they’re not able to do work at the same time. That goes equally for training remote employees. The time to do training should be built into their working hours. Don’t heap it on top of an already-full work schedule.

Of course, sometimes it is necessary for staff to do training in their own time. If that’s the case for training your offshore staff, be sure to offer compensation for the extra hours.

Training remote employees is a part of what will make your outsourcing venture successful. Through training you can achieve lower turnover rates, and higher staff satisfaction. And of course, the learning your employee gets will result in them doing more and better work for your business.