How to Train Your Employees Remotely

A video call allows a manager to train his employees remotely.
Remote training is growing in importance amid our new social distancing norms. How can your company transition employee training online?

I have a gut feeling that online, remote training will be more important than ever in the next few weeks or–let’s face it–months. I’ve encountered online training in my previous food industry gigs (like my stint at Chipotle when I was 18–I still get whiffs of red onion on my person every now and again). Large corporate restaurants in particular need to be able to onboard employees efficiently and often in order to deal with high turnover rates. But, remote training can be an asset for every single industry. And, it can be as detailed as you and your employees need. It can be more productive and require less resources in the long term than in-person training.

Regardless of circumstances, we’re willing to bet that the surge we’re seeing in remote training at the moment will stick around for a while. But how do we implement it in our own workplaces? Well just keep reading, folks!

Step 1: Decide what you want to teach

Obviously, the first step in this process is determining what training your employees need. You can teach both hard and soft skills remotely with ease. Hard skills are measurable skills that usually involve a process. That can be anything from how to use a point of sales system in a restaurant to how to operate a forklift. Soft skills are a little more nebulous but just as important. Those include communication, etiquette, leadership, etc. Soft skills  are the ones that push employees from meh to outstanding.

If you’re one of the many companies trying to transition your usual in-house training to an online platform, then you probably already have an idea of what your content will be. But, perhaps you’re now looking to train your employees on better remote working methods, or how to reduce communication strains online. Regardless of your goals, first determine the skills with which you’d like to equip your employees.

Based on that, you can create a curriculum and break down the info into easily digested modules. Now is also the time to think about the longevity, or perishability, of the training. That is: will it retain value for an employee viewing it next year vs. next week? Is there a way to section the training so that it can serve both brand new employees who need broad training and seasoned veterans who are just brushing up on specific concepts or processes?

Step 2: Decide how to present the remote training

Obviously, here at ECG Productions, we believe the best way to present information effectively is using visuals. The other option would be a Powerpoint or text document, I guess? And that just sucks. It’s easy for employees to gloss over a page full of text and never absorb the information you’ve spent precious time trying to convey. Now that’s not to say it’s not easy to mess up a video training session too. I’ve sat through countless training videos that parse information badly, presented by boring hosts with no sense for pacing. But, done right, video training can really be the best way to clearly communicate ideas while retaining attention.

Another way to present your modules is through simple infographics or animations. Apart from being fantastically fun, it’s also a good way to present your company’s branding to your new employees. Infographics are also very easy to edit and change. So, if a step changes in any processes, it’s easily updated and versioned out. But enough on that. You’re gonna have to go to Cam’s blog to learn more about the nitty gritty behind making live and animated e-learning videos.

Step 3: Disseminate the information!

After you’ve produced the content, you can then send it to your employees in whatever vehicle you’d like. You can easily share videos in links or playlists, or add them to a learning app or platform that logs your employees’ progress. That adds a layer of accountability and simplifies collecting feedback. Even the most thought-out training programs should be open to suggestions. You need to know from the people actually sitting there and watching: Where it’s the most effective? And where can it be improved and made clearer? Like I mentioned above, if you’ve chosen to use animation as your information vehicle, changes are easy. Video tutorials may be a little harder to edit, but, with a solid plan up front, you can strategically set up the shoots to make sure any material that’s subject to change actually can.

Go forth and prosper (while staying home)

An ECG virtual meeting to train employees remotely.
ECG’s virtual team meeting on Google, probably a familiar sight to most of you too!

So there you have it. If you’ve followed all the steps above, you, as an employer or manager, have created a legacy training system that you can leverage for years to come. Your employees have learned invaluable skills, both hard and soft, that make them more of an asset to the team. All that, and not a bit of social contact generated in the process!

At ECG, we’re here to offer our support to anyone who may be struggling to adapt to the new workplace landscape. With a decade plus of experience, our full-service video production house is ready to guide you through a new process, or offer solutions to roadblocks. Times are tough all around, but we know how to stay flexible and keep rolling with the punches, and we’re ready to help you do it, too.  Stay strong, folks!

(Oh, and please, wash your hands.)

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