Training new employees is challenging enough, but adding multiple states and time zones into the equation adds an additional layer of complexity. With the advent of inexpensive collaboration software and tools and increase in remote recruiting, though, remote training is a skill that’s moving from “nice to have” to “must have:” 57% of US companies already have a formal policy allowing employees to telework. If you're faced with onboarding a virtual team, hiring site The Muse has developed a quick guide for training team members who work remotely.
How To Onboard and Train a Virtual Team
- Send a remote hire package. Go above and beyond outlining benefits and give new hires everything they’ll need to work with the team. This may include Google Docs, a directory of names and email addresses in the office, and passwords for retrieving accounts. If you need an example, check out how eShares drafts its offer letter.
- Create a detailed training manual. Provide examples of top notch work and retrospective notes on how the team created this output. Leave little to chance and outline the process the team used to ship the latest projects.
- Start with a rapid assessment. Add your new hire to a project with a rapid turnaround time. This will help the team better gauge a remote employee’s understanding of the process and ability to complete work without direct supervision. Better yet, schedule regular check-ins to ensure workflows and end products are meeting requirements.
- Provide explicit and detailed feedback. Send new hires detailed feedback for the first three to five new projects they work on. Be sure to send supplementary training materials alongside feedback. Over-communicate and don’t assume a remote employee knows a process that has not been explicitly spelled out. Lenders.com, for instance, sets up a regular cadence of Skype calls so their developers can get immediate feedback.
- Find a transparent and online collaboration tool. Select a tool such as Trello for all team members to track project progress, whether onsite or remote. All employees should know where a project stands at a glance. This also creates a pattern of rapid and frequent communication between remote and onsite team members.
Takeaway: Get remote team members up to speed as quickly as possible by opening up sources of information and kicking off relationships with frequent feedback sessions.