Flex the Training Muscle with Successful Remote Training

By Scott Creger

A CreateINterest NOW Series


In response to the coronavirus pandemic, organizations have swiftly made a number of workplace changes– going totally remote, eliminating employees in some industries, or speedily hiring in others. With more people making working from home the new normal, companies are adapting how they advance their performance and well-being of their workforce.  Organizations that have adapted to the new normal have one thing in common: They never stop training their employees. They don’t look at learning as a one-time event that disturbs working hours.  A recent Deloitte study found that improving employee training is a crucial initiative to 86% of companies.  The World Economic Forum reported that more than half of all employees will need reskilling or upskilling to address the changing requirements in their jobs.  The most successful companies during the pandemic have found that ongoing remote training is imperative to the continuous development of employees- and key to leading through this pandemic.  Developing the training muscle strengthens companies for future disruptions. Expanding learning opportunities- and improving learning overall, is serving as a bright spot for organizations through this challenging time.

The challenge some companies are facing right now is “How do we continue to carry the critical mission of learning in a non-traditional workplace atmosphere?” Employee training events need to guarantee that the audience is not only listening to the training materials, but enjoying them, learning from them, and most importantly, retaining them. There are 3 interrelated strategies that are essential drivers for effective remote training: engagement, collaboration, and performance focus.

  • First, engagement is an indispensable ingredient in any learning initiative and has a large impact on learner motivation and effort. Right now some leaders are using training that we call “passive”- using tools like readings, videos, lecture, webinars, or presentations. The winning organizations are enhancing remote learning with more “active” tools like discussion, debate, problem-solving and role playing. Integrating “active” learning events helps increase the engagement of remote learning. If successful organizations have no choice but to use “passive” learning activities, they intersperse “active” activities in between learning events such as web conferences, chat rooms, or forums. This helps the acquisition of knowledge, clarify concepts, and promotes share understanding. In skill building this also helps translate to on the job execution. 
  • Second, collaboration is a fundamental characteristic of healthy learning cultures. Successful company cultures that drive collaborative practices are more likely to see better communication, alignment and overall team success. Employee feedback has determined that it is important to develop virtual learning events that bring remote employees, and onsite employees, together. A 2016 Deliotte study showed that 70% of workforce learning happens via on-the-job collaborations with peers, teammates, and managers. The most impactful remote training is mirroring on-the-job collaborations by designing learning program that uses team-based learning goals and encourages and rewards collaboration. Learning leaders today understand the impact collaboration has on remote individuals who benefit from more direct interaction.
  • Lastly, organizations that focus on practice, remediation, and coaching are focused on ensuring remote training is initiating performance focus to achieve success. Usually performance reinforcement is achieved not through design but through natural interaction with peers and managers, due in part to proximity. This type of support is at risk as organizations continue to increase remote work. Impactful remote training courses identify key activities that set qualitative and quantitative performance objectives, and supply learners with minimum performance standards. Successful organizations are taking a step back and reviewing their existing training plan. Does it address the specific performance of the remote workforce and provide support?

Ultimately, organizations are about people, and their success lies in the engagement, collaboration, and performance of these people.


Train to win.