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Remote work is emerging as an industrial trend. The software industry, in particular, has seen growth in remote hiring and software development outsourcing. Companies are becoming more aware of the benefits of outsourcing software development, as they can expand their search for talent to a global scale and not just depend on the local workforce. Most organizations are even allowing their existing employees to work from home these days, as it’s proving to be cost-efficient and more productive.
However, managing remote software developers comes with its own sets of challenges, like coordination and communication problems. One such challenge you’ll face with offshore teams is training and upskill the developers to stay productive. Technologies change and upgrade rapidly these days, so it’s essential to upskill your workers too. Statistics show that employees desire to upgrade their skills and acquire new knowledge through their work.
A report from Harvard Business Review states that 90% of employees agree on improving their skill sets annually. At the same time, a 2019 survey from TalentLMS showed that 67% of the surveyed employees desired or expected their employers to provide work-based training.
But training remote teams won’t be the same as training your in-house team. Employees working from home can fall into a comfort zone and lose the motivation for improvement. You need to design and deliver training programs to your remote workers based on the essential and relevant skills. To make things easier, we’ll give you a list of courses and skill training necessary for remote teams, along with valuable tips on how you can create and impart them.
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Skill Training and Courses for Remote Workers
Remote hiring can sometimes seem like a quick fix or temporary measure until a permanent solution is found. In some cases, it’s true – some companies turn to offshore hiring for short-term periods until they can find local talent. Now, more than ever, we can see plenty of cases where remote teams are hired for the long term by companies. It doesn’t matter how long they work for you, but they are a part of your company as long as they do.
So it’s essential to communicate with your team of remote developers, monitor their progress, and help them upgrade through various training. You can even discuss with them and take their opinions on what skills are trending in the industry and what they wish to upgrade. Don’t just inform them about the developers’ training once it’s ready. Involve them from the start and decide together what courses are essential and relevant for your remote team.
We have listed five types of training courses that are extremely useful and beneficial for remote workers. They would help upgrade their tech skills and improve overall productivity and other non-technical but highly relevant industry skills like communication and compliance.
Working from home is flexible for employees and saves time that otherwise would be spent on getting ready for the office and commuting. However, home is where people feel most relaxed and comfortable. That’s why many employees who work from home tend to be less productive.
According to the Avast report, 45% of remote workers said that frequent distractions affect their work and productivity, and 41% also agreed that they sometimes procrastinate. There’s an immediate need to train your employees to be efficient and punctual while still maintaining flexible work hours when working from home. That’s why a work-from-home training course is essential for your remote team.
Here are some things to include in the course:
- A list of tools that can help to manage work time and stay productive.
- A list of tools and rules that help communicate with all team members remotely
- Advice on having a separate workspace at home which is free from distractions.
- Maintaining fixed work hours and sticking to the schedule.
- Scheduling timely breaks between work hours to reduce stress and fatigue.
- The course’s main aim should be to train your employees to function the same way they would in an office environment. Provide all the needed tools and software for your team to stay connected and collaborate.
Be careful with one thing, though – don’t just focus the training on minimizing the downsides of working from home. Also, highlight the benefits of remote work, such as flexible timings and a stress-free, comfortable workspace. It’s important to teach your employees how to leverage the benefits of working from home and become more efficient.
Training for Newcomers
As new hires join your remote team, you need to get them ready to get into the workflow as fast as possible. They need to get on the same page with other team members, and you should also brief them about your organization’s structure and work culture.
Joining a new team in remote mode is more complicated and confusing for newcomers in the first stage. Unlike the situations that may appear in the office, they cannot meet all team members, come to anyone with a list of questions. Managers need to schedule all needed meetings and prepare a beginner’s training course for all newcomers to join your remote team efficiently.
We recommend you to have two different types of training programs for beginners.
- Interactive training for an entirely new team or multiple hirings
Suppose you’re hiring an entire team of remote developers or bringing in numerous newcomers around the same time. In that case, you can arrange interactive group training for them under an experienced senior trainer’s supervision. Live training on group meeting platforms like Google Meet are helpful for such training.
- Pre-recorded training for single hirings
When you’re hiring only one or two recruits, it may not be feasible to arrange the whole one-on-one training for them. It may be complicated to assign a trainer every time a new employee comes on board. For such cases, you can make pre-recorded digital training courses that newcomers can access and follow independently. Use a combination of videos, presentations, and infographics to make the course detailed but easily understandable. Ensure there are proper communication channels for the trainees to contact and clarify their doubts if any.
Pay attention to the following things when you’re preparing a training course for new employees:
- The course should explain their roles and responsibilities clearly.
- Make use of slide shows, videos, market data, and case studies to make the training enjoyable.
- Divide the course into different sections and modules. Include some activities and tasks after each section that will engage the trainees and evaluate their understanding.
- Prepare a detailed FAQ or Q&A section that newcomers can access at any time.
Soft Skills Training
There is a universal consensus that soft skills are equally necessary to both employees and organizations in the corporate world. Training your remote team in various soft skills proves to be highly beneficial for your business in the long run. MIT Sloan conducted a controlled trial with five different businesses, deploying a 12-month soft skills training course for their employees. The results were significant, as the companies reported 250% ROI within eight months after the training.
For the software development teams, it is even more essential to provide soft skills training. This skill set is focused on workers’ personalities and mentality instead of educational qualification and job-specific expertise. So it’s possible to come across highly talented developers who lack essential soft skills such as communication, leadership, and teamwork. Setting up soft skills training to remote developers is a two-way process:
Step 1: Assess your Employees, Prioritise the Important Skills
There are different types of soft skills, and there’s no well-defined list for them. Some
- important ones are:
- Problem-solving and critical thinking
- Quick thinking
- Ability to adapt to changing scenarios
- Teamwork and social interaction
The first step is to assess your remote workers and figure out what soft skills they must be trained for. Make a priority list of those skills that are most important to your business.
Step 2: Preparing the Training Course
Once you know what needs to be worked on, you can put together a proper course. Soft skills are easy to learn but a bit trickier to teach, so if you can get an expert on board to train your remote team, it will be the best move. Also, soft skills are learned better through doing rather than just teaching. So the training course should have interactive activities too, such as:
- Online group discussions on common issues within the organization
- Solving theoretical problems based on real-life scenarios, such as incidents with past projects.
- Live workshops with interactive role-play activities.
Learning and practicing with colleagues is a great way to acquire soft skills through actionable training. Use online mediums to your advantage and engage your remote team in group-based soft skills training.
Technology is dynamic, and it keeps getting better and more advanced. We see new systems, software, updates, etc., emerging regularly as modern technology replaces older ones with increased efficiency.
Sure, the tech industry is massive with huge potential for career growth, but it’s not easy to stay relevant in the industry. Companies must ensure that their employees and developers are updated with the latest software development courses or risk falling behind competitors. And it should be a continuous process, always keeping an eye out for upcoming technical skills and new technologies, then upskilling your team accordingly.
So how can you train your remote team for technical skills? Here are some tips that’ll help:
- Conduct regular discussions and evaluation sessions with your team of developers, analyzing the current market for tech skills and what technologies are most in demand.
- Encourage your employees to attend live workshops and seminars for emerging technical skills.
- Organize short boot camps and crash courses for employees.
- Provide them further resources that they can learn and work on by themselves.
- Organize different training sessions for various teams under the supervision of senior technical experts in your organization.
Compliance Training Course
An important thing when managing remote employees is to make sure they comply with all necessary regulations of the organization and the industry in general. If your team of remote developers is located overseas, they should also know about the regulations of the country you’re based in. All these things must be covered by thorough compliance training. The laws and regulations laid down in the tech industry ensure workplace safety, ethical practices, and a fair and friendly work environment for all employees.
You can prepare a pre-recorded compliance training course, including all the industry regulations, guidelines, and rules set by your organization. These should be provided to remote teams early on when they start and be constantly accessible to refer to at any time. If there are different laws in place for remote teams located in your country vs. those located overseas (such as tax regulations), you need to prepare separate courses for each case.
The entire corporate world has become highly dynamic, and as the famous saying goes – ‘change is the only constant.’ Technologies are shifting, and old skills are getting outdated, new tools and platforms are constantly changing how businesses operate. As more organizations are leaning towards a mobile workforce, they should also be prepared to upskill their remote developers’ team. As a quick recap, here are the five types of upskilling and training courses that are most important for remote teams:
- Work-from-home course: Training them to adapt to the work from home lifestyle, avoid distractions, and improve productivity.
- Training for new employees: Briefing them about the organization and their role, preparing them to fit into the team as soon as possible.
- Soft skills training: Improving their social skills and overall personality attributes.
- Technical training: To ensure that your remote developers are updated with the latest, in-demand tech skills and adapt quickly to newly emerged technologies.
- Compliance training: Informing them about the laws and regulations they are duly bound to follow as your organization’s employees.
Iryna Bilyk is an expert content marketing manager and copywriter who works at YouTeam – a marketplace for instant engineering team extension. She passionately discovers and writes about technology, innovations, and software development solutions. (For the Gravatar – email@example.com)
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