When COVID-19 hit in March 2020, companies quickly responded by switching over to a remote workplace, allowing employees to work from home to ensure their safety and wellbeing. What no one expected was how positively the workforce would respond to this change.

The pandemic showed many companies that employees can be productive while working remotely and don’t need to stick to a rigid schedule. As a result, many now want the opportunity to work on their terms. With remote work being so popular, employers who don’t transition to a remote-first culture will struggle to retain and attract top talent.

According to Jobvite’s 2021 Recruiter Nation Report, 54% of organizations have seen candidates turn down an interview or job offer due to a lack of flexibility and remote work options. In addition, employers and employees have reported increased job satisfaction and greater productivity due to the flexibility and self-reliance afforded by remote work.

But companies must do more than “go remote.” In today’s ever-evolving professional landscape, organizations must incorporate engaging and interactive initiatives that support the success of distant teams for the longer term. In fact, a recent LinkedIn survey found that 94% of employees would choose to stay longer with a company that invested in their learning and development.

Here’s how organizations can optimize learning and development for a remote workforce in the new year.

Invest in the right tools.

Old-school training methods won’t cut it in today’s digital world. When making the transition to a remote-first workforce, organizations must embrace cutting-edge technology for successful training and development. One of the top tools available is a Learning Management System (LMS), which can have a wide variety of applications beyond simply hosting online courses.

An open-source LMS can revolutionize the L&D experience with the ability to track and monitor progress with insightful learning data, deliver custom and curated courses, and provide streamlined and organized initiatives in a single solution.

Develop robust training sessions. 

Developing a corporate training program from the ground up can present unique challenges depending on the organization’s needs. No matter the industry, there will be required topics that need to be added to any training program. These include programs like company culture, safety protocols, and other compliance training programs.

One prevalent training program that is necessary to foster a healthy and positive workplace culture is addressing diversity and inclusion. According to Glassdoor, “61 percent, or about three in five U.S. employees have witnessed or experienced discrimination,” and these incidents can occur in a variety of ways. By including diversity training in L&D initiatives, organizations can help ensure a respectful and safe environment for teams online and in the office, especially as needs change and specific issues need to be addressed.

No matter the course topic, they need to be engaging and efficient. This will help employees retain the information while also learning additional specific company policies, procedures and responsibilities within their role, and other information regarding their position.

Leverage flexible learning methodology.

The best training is delivered to end-users on their terms. Therefore, organizations also need to be offering different types of learning methods that align with all types of learners. For instance, some may prefer formal learning through a training module or course, whereas others may prefer informal learning, like social learning. It’s also important to diversify content and resources to ensure an engaging and practical learning experience.

In addition, organizations need to make sure they’re making learning and development content accessible to everyone. To do this, make sure courses are accessible to those with visual, physical, speech, cognitive, auditory, and neurological impairments. It’s also important to understand that the needs of today’s learners vary, no matter their age, and having content readily available in multiple formats will help ensure a more comprehensive learning experience for everyone.

Track employee’s learning and development success.

In a virtual world, it’s crucial to have the right analytics and reports to follow training progress across various departments and teams within the organization. When creating new virtual training programs, make sure to establish clear expectations early on and define key performance indicators (KPIs).

The technology being leveraged should already have metrics in place to make training program outcomes easy to measure. If not, you need to switch to technology with those measurement capabilities. Having powerful reporting capabilities can help managers track learners’ progress in real-time and share updates with key stakeholders as needed.

In Conclusion
In today’s ever-evolving professional landscape, it’s clear that the remote workforce is here to stay. That’s why optimizing your teams with engaging and sustainable training is crucial to keeping employees engaged and on the right path for enhanced performance and success.

Phill Miller is based in Indianapolis and is the Managing Director for Open LMS, the world’s largest open-source LMS provider.

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