General Training, Human Resources

Are Remote Workers Costing You Your Business?

As businesses continue to adapt to and change with the times, one working arrangement is standing out among workers and employers: remote work. This popular way to work has many benefits for both parties involved, but it also comes with risks.

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Source: De Repente / Shutterstock

Offering flexible work options gives modern employees the freedom they want. But it can also lead to disengagement and decreased productivity, not to mention the security risks that are associated with this type of work.

According to Claudio Erba, Founder and CEO of Docebo, the success of remote work programs comes down to training. As flexible work becomes more prevalent, it’s critical that businesses create more engaging remote work experiences while maintaining compliance and security. Erba joins us to discuss the importance of training remote workers and the impact it will have on your business.

L&D Daily Advisor: For companies that are new to offering remote working arrangements, what are some things managers should be aware of, or be on the lookout for, when managing remote workers?

Erba: First of all, managers have to ask themselves WHY they want to offer the opportunity to work remotely. Is it in an effort to save costs? Is it to provide a better work/life balance? Once the purpose is determined and there is a clear answer to “why,” an organization needs to build key performance indicators (KPIs) to test the initiative to measure the success of the initial rollout.

I believe that there is a hybrid strategy managers can use that gives employees the discretion to work fully remotely, partly remotely, or fully in-office. To be successful, managers need to first trust their employees and understand that remote work needs to be an individual choice. Companies have a duty to their employees to provide options to optimize work/life balance while also providing the most conducive environment to high performance and job success.

When implementing a remote work program, it’s critical that managers are aware of the issues that could arise. From feelings of isolation to a lack of productivity, managers need to find ways to monitor their staff from a distance so that they can indicate these problems quickly and address them efficiently.

Achieving this can be a challenge, especially when your employees work primarily from home; as the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind. Arming HR professionals and team leads with the digital tools and resources to be able to effectively and consistently engage with their remote staffers is key.

L&D Daily Advisor: How can managers and supervisors train their employees to work remotely? Do you have any preferred best practices for this arrangement?

Erba: Humans are social animals and crave collaboration as opposed to isolation. Training for remote work relies on a format that supports on-demand, 24/7 access; defines specific KPIs for success; and puts in place a collaboration-driven management style. This means departing from traditional training methods and adopting a more agile approach to learning.

It’s ideal that this type of training is facilitated through mobile. Beyond the fact that 65% of all digital media is now viewed on smartphones and two out three learners say accessing content on mobile is essential, for remote workers, easy access to learning is critical.

Since these employees don’t have the option to go to their manager’s desk and ask a question, it’s absolutely necessary that they have access to knowledge at the point of need—and the best way to offer this is through providing learning opportunities on the device employees use most: mobile.

L&D Daily Advisor: When it comes to training for remote work, do you think it’s better to train staff while they are in-house or while they’re remote? If an employer doesn’t have the ability to train in-house, what are some easy ways for it to train its staff remotely?

Erba: The Docebo platform is based on the 70:20:10 model. This model is rooted in the fact that 70% of learning opportunities happen “on the job,” 20% is learning from a coach or mentor, and 10% is formal learning.

Training employees only through formal learning is not the optimal way to grow your team. It doesn’t matter if you train them online or offline through instructor-led training. The best way is to provide an online learning collaboration tool, like Docebo’s Coach & Share, to enable teams to share knowledge both on-site and remotely.

Artificial intelligence (AI)-powered training programs are ideal for remote workers not only because of the easy on-demand access they offer but because they have the ability to respond to employee preferences in real time.

For example, criteria like the pace at which an employee runs through training or the type of content they prefer to consume are all factors that the program takes into consideration. With that learner-specific insight, the platform can then direct employees toward training courses that align with their needs and goals, ensuring optimal levels of engagement.

This is so important for remote workers in particular because they lack the advantage that in-house employees have of being able to work closely with managers, who can identify those trends and offer tailored guidance accordingly. With a predictive training platform, remote employees can receive that personalized attention while also getting to customize their own learning path.

L&D Daily Advisor: Some workforces are entirely remote. What would you suggest to employers to help them create a more cohesive workforce and help avoid isolation?

Erba: Collaboration is the key, social moments are important, and having rituals can create the spirit that a cohesive workforce needs. Businesses who are operating entirely remote workforces have to work that much harder to encourage creative and collaborative thinking because they lack a central meeting ground.

To combat this, remote businesses need to prioritize fostering and encouraging social connections digitally. This could mean developing a shared digital platform where employees could participate in peer-to-peer coaching, contribute and share content, or review one another’s work and offer feedback. Because remote businesses can’t rely on “water cooler” conversations to drive social connectivity at work, they have to provide ample digital resources that will organically facilitate and encourage those connections for them.

L&D Daily Advisor: When it comes to cybersecurity compliance, what should managers/employers do to train their staff on avoiding data breaches or similar security issues?

Erba: Security is not always a matter of having the best firewall but the best training and education about potential flaws. While some cybersecurity threats are unavoidable, it’s important to outline an all-encompassing security policy that’s always available as a reference.

This type of training should break down the basic precautions, like creating unique passwords or avoiding connecting to unverified Wi-Fi networks, but also be specific to an individual’s department and responsibility. This is where a digital e-Learning platform also comes in handy because it has the potential to personalize training content based on individual roles and responsibilities.

This is especially important with remote workers, where these threats can be more pronounced and individuals can be connecting to varying degrees of secure servers. As I see it, less cybersecurity awareness and training will ultimately mean less security overall.

L&D Daily Advisor: How can AI-powered training help fight security threats, and what are the pros and cons of using this strategy?

Erba: I strongly believe that predictive AI can help increase the security levels of an organization, especially identifying scam and social phishing activities.

When training employees around security, it’s critical that executives and managers are able to track progress and understanding among participants. Up to 25% of information breaches are caused by employee error or negligence, so it’s necessary that businesses ensure employees understand security policies thoroughly, especially remote workers, who pose an even greater threat to business security.

However, especially in larger corporations, it’s hard to track how employees are progressing in training and whether or not their knowledge and understanding is efficient. AI-powered training tools make this level of insight possible.

Leveraging AI-powered training programs allows executives to track employee progress and sentiment in real time. This not only enables businesses to better understand the learning formats that are resonating but helps executives identify skills gaps and roadblocks quickly before bigger issues arise.

L&D Daily Advisor: Let’s shift gears here. What is Netflix-inspired training, and how can it boost productivity outside the office?

Erba: Over the last few years, we’ve seen Netflix and YouTube begin to change the way people consume online multimedia content. It’s time that training platforms embrace the dynamics of consumer media to train employees. With this approach, we provide the learning experience that mobile users and Millennials are familiar with.

Netflix-inspired training refers to the idea that learning content should be just as personal to a participant as the home page of their Netflix account. Netflix considers individual viewing patterns and preferences to advise personalized home pages that suggest content that will resonate with viewers. The same way consumers have come to expect Netflix to cater to their preferences, they also expect the brands they shop with, the content they consume, and even their employers to deliver that same level of personalization.

Particularly when it comes to Millennials, who are officially the largest generation in the workforce, offering this level of attention and personalization is essential to ensure they’re engaged.

If businesses want to attract and retain modern workers, they have to apply a Netflix-inspired approach to all of their operations, especially learning and development. The best way to achieve this is through AI-powered learning platforms that can apply that level of insight on your behalf and produce personalized training and content as a result.