How to Build a Learning and Development Culture for Your Remote Teams
Business leaders know that progress and innovation keep organisations from stagnating and help them move ahead of competitors. If your company mission and values statements prioritise continual improvement, management and employees must share that obligation. The best way to prompt workers to strive for more is to give them educational tools. But what if your staff works from different locales? Some may be far from a central office where traditional training would take place.
The answer is to write learning into the foundation of your company culture. Though they may be physically apart, the team that learns together sticks together. And this gives remote teams stability and the type of marketplace edge you are looking for. Here are the cultural areas you should be focusing on.
You don’t need a formal training program to provide the raw material for daily discovery. Just having the right information or go-to human sources at their fingertips lets people do their work more accurately and efficiently. Telling customers “I don’t know” or playing phone tag with coworkers is a drain on productivity and morale.
People love to learn. According to business research firm Gallup, hiring trends show that workers need the opportunity to add to their knowledge bases now in order to move ahead with their careers in the future. By making information retrieval easy—say, with a central database or manual, or a roster of company experts—you’ll show that learning relevant details is a top company priority.
So, what do your people need to know? Training should dovetail with what remote teams are already doing well, so they can master what they are good at and move the company forward. If your operation has areas of weakness, confident learners will be ready to tackle them.
First, ask your staff! Survey them to understand what they wantto know. Then, check your numbers. Performance metrics can tell you where to place your educational resources. Ensuring that training is relevant to job requirements will produce more enthusiastic learners.
Acknowledgement and Mistakes
Although training opportunities are proven draws for millennial and other talent demographics, they should also be valued by management. Without the support of peers nearby, it’s up to you to motivate your remote teams to learn. Recognizsng the extra effort will go a long way towards meeting that objective.
This plays into your company’s policy on handling employee mistakes—ideally, experiences from which they learn. Are you going to sanction them for that? Or are you going to embrace the teaching moments? That starts at the top.
By tying developmental opportunities to a system of recognition and a positive approach to identifying and rectifying mistakes, management displays a commitment to learning. An acknowledgement program is especially important to remote teams. Periodic thank-yous combat isolation and let people know they are on the right track in performing their work. And group discussion of mistakes brings those remote workers together and helps others avoid going where individuals have failed.
Business leaders should accept mistakes as valuable indicators of where training can be useful. Thank your employees for making and owning up to them! Then do something positive to move on from poor outcomes.
If your mission or core values include a vow to always be improving, then supporting a culture of education is your contribution toward that goal. Giving workers a pat on the back puts the ball back in their court. A reward structure for completing training steps or going out of one’s way to find and act on useful information will help cement the value of learning in your company culture.
Reference: “Why Performance Management Isn’t Working”.
Chris Dyer is a recognised performance expert, speaker and consultant. He is CEO of PeopleG2, a leading background check company, and author of The Power of Company Culture(Kogan Page, 2018).
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