As more companies are exploring the benefits of telecommuting, with that comes to huge responsibility of properly training their virtual employees. Even when you have individuals working from home, you still want to make sure that they are well-equipped to do their jobs and that they feel a sense of connection to the other individuals who work for your business.
This is why we wanted to provide you with five great tips on how you can prepare your telecommuters for a virtual setting. That way, they can be happy and productive employees for years to come:
Speak and listen (clearly). Although you may have video conferences and phone calls from time to time, you’ll probably communicate most with your employees by email. Since it’s hard to read tone via the written word, you have to make sure that you make your points as clear and concise as possible. To assist in that effort, you may want to create a trainers handbook that provides tips on how you and your employers can continually improve online communication. That way, nothing gets lost in translation.
Have a probationary period. The reason why a lot of companies have a probationary period is because it gives both the employer and the employee time to see if they are going to be a good match. Sometimes, businesses that are virtually ran do not think this is necessary, but when a probation time is made available, it can help you to objectively evaluate if the person will be a productive asset for your company. (60-90 days is still standard.)
Make the training as extensive as possible. When you have new employees working alongside you in a physical setting, even then it can sometimes be challenging to make sure that they have all of the information that they need in order to thrive. This can be all the more taxing when you’re trying to do it by phone and email. That’s why it’s wise to have an extensive training time (2-3 weeks) with as much video conferencing as possible so that you can be sure that they’re equipped and they feel confident that their qualified to do the job.
Provide incentives. One thing that tends to happen when people work online is that so long as the work gets done (and done on time), there isn’t a lot of encouragement that they are given. Whether your company focuses on upper training online computer training or online retail, virtual employees need to feel like they are valued and appreciated. So, whether it’s online gift cards or some other kind of incentive, make it a point to offer them to your workers from time to time.
Get together (on occasion). It may be in a big room or via a conference call, but make sure that at least a couple of times a quarter that you and your staff get together to discuss plans for the company and also to simply connect as a working unit. When people are only communicating through email, it can sometimes make them forget that they are dealing with people who have day to day concerns and life demands just like they do. By verbally (and visually) connecting, it helps to create a sense of care and well-being; the perfect environment for any staff to succeed.