Reposted from Forbes Agency Council, June 16, 2022
Carol Levine, APR, Fellow CPRS is co-founder and CEO of Toronto-based public relations and corporate communications agency, energi PR, and a though leader on Forbes Agency Council. Here Carol joins fellow Forbes Agency Council PR, media, creative and ad agency executives on their Expert Panel to share trends and tips. To learn more about energi PR visit www.energipr.com and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Remote work became standard early on in the Covid-19 pandemic, as many companies set up new policies to align with stay-at-home orders. Two years later, this working style and hybrid models are here to stay, and many modern employees both crave and thrive in this type of flexible “work from anywhere” arrangement.
While remote work has many benefits, it can be a challenge to ensure each employee is trained properly and set up for success outside of a face-to-face office setting. To help, 14 members of Forbes Agency Council offered tips for agency executives who want to ensure their remote employees receive adequate instruction and understand their roles and responsibilities.
1. Enact Onboarding Training
First, make sure you have onboarding training to set up your employees for success. Make sure you also set aside time to have weekly check-ins with employees, both individually and as a team. – Irma Penunuri, BurgerRock Media
2. Explain Internal Logistics
It’s important to have a solid onboarding process for remote employees to ensure they receive the initial training they need to integrate seamlessly into the team and understand your protocols. Don’t leave them to the wild west of your Slack channels without some explanation, for example, and ensure they have all of the logins and passwords they need to hit the ground running with confidence. – April (Margulies) White, Trust Relations
3. Use A Learning Management System
Make sure your managers have regular conversations with their employees. Weekly conversations can help uncover an employee’s desire to learn. Look for mentors or buddies who can help provide hands-on training. Look at your learning management system. We use Lessonly, which lets us easily track usage as well as assign specific material. Other LMS options include Coursera, Udemy and LinkedIn Learning. – Jason Hennessey, Hennessey Digital
4. Create Your Own Training System
When we transitioned to a fully remote office, we knew the only way to onboard efficiently would be to create our own training system. Each new hire is tasked with watching custom videos about each of our departments. They then must pass a series of quizzes related to those videos. Having this system in place has reduced training time and inconsistencies while improving overall employee morale. – Adam Binder, Creative Click Media
5. Leverage Online Resources
One word sums it up for me: discipline. It is difficult to onboard team members remotely, not to mention the fact that they miss the camaraderie that comes from sitting together to solve a problem. We run our orientation and training virtually and have beefed it up with online resources. We encourage colleagues to meet one on one and invite more junior staff to client meetings and pitches for greater exposure. – Carol Levine, energi PR Inc
6. Have A Fixed Training Schedule And A Training Allowance
Whether working from home or in an office, it all comes down to communication and consistency. We’ve found that having a fixed training schedule is essential for ensuring it’s not pushed aside or forgotten. Also, allocating a training allowance to each employee encourages them to undertake external courses. We have a training budget, and we set aside two hours a week for growth, which has really helped the team. – Kathryn Strachan, Copy House
7. Create Individual Quarterly Goals
We create goals for each team member on a quarterly basis. One of those goals is to complete a training session. It can be via books, seminars, Web conferences or even in-person conferences. The key is to outline what the goals are for the quarter in advance and what training is needed to achieve those goals. – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design
8. Interact Often
Being in constant contact and guiding employees through any mistakes you notice is the best way to ensure that the mistakes are not repeated and that they are actually learning versus churning out “work.” Whatever tool you use is not as important as the actual one-on-one support. – David Kley, Web Design and Company
9. Encourage Suggestions And Questions
Besides a streamlined onboarding and training process (which is a given), communication is key. Keep in constant contact with employees, check in frequently and encourage suggestions and questions. You don’t know what they don’t know unless they tell you (or you ask). – Lon Otremba, Bidtellect
10. Ask For Feedback On Training
We offer training in multiple formats—one-on-one, video, text and more—but we find the most value when our teams offer feedback on training. What training was impactful, and what missed the mark? How can we constantly improve? We ask our teams for feedback regularly to update our onboarding and team training to better serve them. – Jonathan Franchell, Ironpaper
11. Build Your Own Training Modules
There are plenty of tools and self-serve software to build proprietary training modules to help immediately integrate your team members. If you think you don’t have the time or resources to build modules, evaluate how many hours your team spends going over the same content each time you hire a new person. Would you make the investment if you knew you would be giving your team that time back? – Justin Buckley, ATTN Agency
12. Create Short, Engaging Ways To Connect
We’ve designed a series of “Lightning Round” sessions. These are scheduled once a week for 30 minutes. They are designed to spark a “did you know” sense of curiosity by bringing to light interesting and sometimes odd quirks we’ve uncovered in our industry. In essence, they offer a way to connect that is fun, easy, educational and short. – Leeza Hoyt, The Hoyt Organization, Inc.
13. Create A Library Of Training Materials
During Covid, we adopted the motto “stay home, we’ll come to you,” and we learned that whether it’s advertising to consumers at home, shipping products to consumers at home or bringing the workplace to their home, it is all possible. We started taping our training sessions and created a library so that employees can access training material when it is convenient for them and then repeat as needed. – Lori Paikin, NaviStone®
14. Invest In Training And Development
We invest heavily in training, learning, education and development. Every quarter we identify core areas in which our staff need and want training and offer either on-site or remote learning opportunities. In one successful training program we held during the pandemic, we provided a comprehensive mental well-being and remote productivity workshop for the leadership team and wider staff. – Azadeh Williams, AZK Media