Remote Workforce Training: Changes and Challenges

What a global pandemic taught many was that perhaps they weren’t as ready for the shift to a distributed off-site workforce as they thought. And yet, despite the trials and obstacles, ultimately numerous businesses were able to get comfortable with this stay-in-place normal—temporarily. The question is, how many of those companies are ready to tackle a more permanent shift when it comes to operating with employees working from various locations, not to mention having to contend with remote employee training, and what about the ability to effectively engage employees and ensure the utmost productivity regardless of location.

There are most definitely challenges ahead as the country does not seem poised to return to a pre coronavirus status anytime soon. In fact, in a recent survey of company leaders, nearly 75% stated that they intend to make the remote work situation permanent for many employees. That said, it is not just having to adapt to remote work which presents business hurdles during the crisis. According to another survey conducted using over 800 IT decision-makers, the picture is grim on a few different fronts. 

  • Many are experiencing a massive negative impact on day-to-day operations.
  • IT resources given the offsite shift are feeling the strain.
  • Current staff in some instances have been drastically cut back.
  • There is an inability for companies to actively recruit and hire new talent. 

Companies are certainly facing a steep road ahead if they are to come out of this healthy and capable of moving forward in a business climate dominated by uncertainty.

statistics showing various challenges in the workplace today as they relate to remote employee training

Yet even with uncertainty there is ample opportunity…for growth, for expansion, for enacting the kinds of changes that will make a company and its infrastructure even stronger than before all of this. It’s about being very strategic as businesses map out the next phase; what exactly they will do to ensure that they are successfully implementing remote employee training practices along with doing everything possible to support those working from home in order to elicit a high level of productivity.

J. Paul Getty once said: “Without the element of uncertainty, the bringing off of even the greatest business triumph would be dull, routine, and eminently unsatisfying.” Certainly, most would probably be quick to argue that coming out on the other side of a global pandemic is a bit extreme as far as uncertainty goes, but then again, this is a chance for some major overhauls and reinvention in order to ensure sustainability, not to mention, be far better prepared for the next crisis…should one arise.  

Overcoming the Numbers

As we see in the chart above, the picture painted seems somewhat bleak. So how do companies bounce back? How do they poise themselves for the coronavirus aftermath and a “new normal”? Again, the strategy is key here. And more so than ever before, companies are going to need to put the focus on their people. In moving forward in what, for all intents and purposes, is unchartered territory, leaders and managers need to rethink how they are guiding and training their teams for continuously growing productivity.

  • Data Driven Planning. While the initiative to integrate data and consequently use that data to personalize remote employee training while making it more relevant and timely has been underway for some time, now it will become even more crucial to rely on data to “get it done.” That is to say, when it comes to people management business leaders are going to have to increasingly rely on data for everything from employee reskilling and upskilling, to daily task assignments, to continuous progress assessment. Speaking of upskilling and reskilling…
  • Employee Engagement. Hand in hand with remote employee training and reskilling/upskilling is of course overall workforce engagement. Without question, the events of the past couple of months have left companies and employees alike in something of a tailspin. Getting back on track will not only require having the ability to measure efforts, track tasks and recognize/reward achievements but even more urgently, leaders will need to focus on those employees patterns and behaviors that require attention so that they can deliver personalized just-in-time training and real-time learning opportunities, thereby maintaining productivity.

Empowering Through Increased Collaboration

Having the resources and technology on hand to streamline workflows, communicate with greater efficiency and offer the types of learning insights that serve to empower and bring together an otherwise distributed workforce will make a huge difference moving forward in a post-pandemic environment.

  • Integrating collaborative workspace applications is critical. Platforms that serve to bring together people, data, and project information, and also such that enhance communication efforts will enable managers to keep people on the same page. Collaboration is bound to be redefined in the weeks ahead; having the ability to solidify and make more tangible those collaborative efforts between all stakeholders will be essential to staying productive.
  • Intranets will evolve. Especially if the remote work situation becomes permanent for some, the emergence of the intranet as a valuable tool as far as communication, workflow management along with being able to be easily integrated with other necessary platforms is going to be central for sustaining smooth business operations.  
  • Enhanced systems of delivery are emerging. Essentially, new systems of delivery that more effectively bridge the gaps between planning, strategy, execution, and resource management will become increasingly necessary. In this way, companies will have the ability to be more agile in terms of operational functionality as well as streamline workforce practices across the board.
  • Facilitating the job of frontline workers will be made a priority. One thing the country as a whole can probably agree on is that during this crisis, frontline workers rose to the challenge. Relying on not only healthcare workers and first responders, but also the likes of truckers, grocery store workers, and warehouses employees, for instance, the nation really saw how essential these jobs truly are. This is why moving forward, we are apt to see even more technology integrated into these various frontline roles, especially when it comes to their delivery and communication systems. Expect more mobile messaging and push-to-talk capabilities appearing within these sectors. 
  • What it comes down to is while yes, businesses have suffered, there have been struggles as evinced in the chart above, they have to be able to embrace the challenges and find the opportunity: opportunity to enhance remote training practices, provide better employee reskilling and upskilling, ensure that technology and platforms used for collaboration are at the forefront of the changes they make, and ultimately by connecting all those initiatives with a myriad of business and performance data points businesses will be able to accurately measure the ROI of every action or system implemented. We would love to show you how we can help your business better adapt to a remote work shift. Schedule your demo today!