How to Train Large Groups Remotely

Photo by CC user Silicon Beach Training on Flickr.

Staff training is an important part of building a strong team, especially with the abundance of new and changing technology in the work place such as video conferencing for large groups with BlueJeans software. But training remote teams is a little more difficult if you can’t be in the same room as them, especially if you need to train large groups of people all at once. Yet their training is more important as they will need to work independently rather than in an office with a supervisor and surrounded by people. You also don’t want to be repeating yourself over and over again. Use these tips to train new staff or improve the skills of existing staff without needing to constantly repeat training sessions or leave out necessary information:

  1. Provide Access

The first hurdle for many is accessing the conferencing system as e-mails containing access codes can easily be deleted and some security software or firewalls can block video conferencing. Before the training session starts, send out reminders for everyone to check they have the right access code and that they have configured their firewalls correctly. Leave a brief safety window of time before the first session if this helps. This is also a good time to remind everyone to double check their internet connection speeds and their video and audio settings, as technical issues can easily hold up meetings and become a nuisance. It will have the additional benefit of encouraging the practise of making these checks before every meeting so that there are never any hold ups.

  1. Use a Software Demo

Not all new hires will be used to video conferencing so a first step is to get everybody’s skills to at least a basic level. An ideal way to do this is to provide a training demo session to demonstrate to all new hires at once how to use the conferencing software, and any other software you will be relying upon and using regularly, so that they can quickly ease into it. By giving this demo to everyone at once, you prevent the need to train each employee individually. You can even record the session and save it on cloud storage for future new employees to watch, preventing the need to give the same lecture every time there is a staff change.

  1. Use Screen Sharing

One great tool for these demos, as recommended by HR firm TLNT, is screen sharing software. This means that on a video call, you will record and transmit everything that is happening on your computer screen to everybody else on the call in real time. It is a much better method for demonstrating software or work practices as it is much more visual and lets employees see exactly what they need to do. Slideshows and still images don’t have the same affect and are easier to misinterpret. Again, by recording the session and uploading it to cloud storage, you will have it always ready and available for anyone who needs a repeat of the demo or who missed it the first time around.

  1. Provide the Right Tools

Along with demonstrating the software, you need to make sure that everyone has the right tools, equipment, and information they need to do their jobs correctly. Mashable says that remote staff have even higher standard for work tools than office workers do, so it is important that you provide them. If they don’t already have the devices they need to access conferencing software then provide it for them along with a strong internet connection, which they will need for making calls. Share your conferencing software with them so that they can communicate with all other staff at all times. Upload all relevant files into your cloud storage and ensure that they are regularly updated so that everybody can always find the information they require.

  1. Keep it Simple

Modern conferencing software is designed to be as simple and easy to use as possible, and you should use the same philosophy in your training. Learning a lot of new information all at once on top of adjusting to a new job is overwhelming, so making it as simple and streamlined as you can will ease the transition and prevent early burn out. People also learn at different paces so keeping it simple when training a large group will ensure that nobody gets left behind. Keep the training sessions brief and to the point and cover only what needs to be covered. Everything else can be picked up naturally or by letting staff come directly to you for advice.

By keeping all of these in mind, being prepared before the training session, and providing the right information and communication after the session, you can train even large groups of new hires, or existing employees, to a high standard. Doing this will prepare your company with a strong and qualified remote working team that it will need to succeed in the future.