How to Remotely Foster Employee Development Across a Distributed Workforce

Let’s face it, the last year or so has been weird. Really weird. Everyone’s working from home,  and while that might have been fun for the first month, we can all agree that it gets pretty old, fast.  With employees distributed all over the country or even the world, it’s not surprising that cohesion and […]

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Let’s face it, the last year or so has been weird. Really weird. Everyone’s working from home,  and while that might have been fun for the first month, we can all agree that it gets pretty old, fast. 

With employees distributed all over the country or even the world, it’s not surprising that cohesion and unity in the workplace is at an all-time low. This in turn means that morale – and therefore, employee development – is also at an ebb. If this worries you, you’re definitely not alone.

This article will give you some tips on how to boost it back up, and foster a sense of teamwork and integrity in the process.

Let’s get into it.

What is Employee Development?

At its core, employee development means helping your staff become the best workers they can. This can take many forms:

  • Training
  • Team-building
  • Working smarter

Whichever method you go with, the idea is to foster a sense of progress in your employees and to show them the steps they must take to improve as a worker.

Training

This is more of a general point, but still important to consider nonetheless. 

Where people usually go wrong is by treating their workforce like a giant amorphous entity, rather than a group of individuals with their own needs, strengths, and wants.

Some ways to implement this concept into your place of work include:

  1. Host meetings with smaller groups of staff to allow for a greater sense of individuality.
  2. Ask everyone for their input or opinion about a problem or topic.
  3. Personalize your training strategies as much as possible.

That last point is arguably the most crucial. People learn in different ways and at different speeds, so in order to get the best out of each and every worker you must cater to their individual training needs.

This sounds fairly labor-intensive. After all, what do you do if you have a large number of employees? And what about the fact that we’re all working from home right now? 

However, just because your workforce may be distributed it does not mean that you shouldn’t put effort into your employee’s development. In fact, it may be more important now than ever.

It’s difficult to foster a sense of unity among your employees while everyone is so spread out, so it’s pivotal to recognize the importance of encouraging a strong sense of team spirit. A good place to start is by making sure that everyone knows what they’re doing, and the way to do that is to optimize your training procedures.

Team-Building

In terms of fostering employee development, team-building is arguably one of the most important components, especially in this new age of distributed workforces. Without it, employees can feel isolated, even demotivated. Some ways you can alleviate this issue are:

This can help your employees to feel more connected to their team. By using the same device for work as they do for leisure and relaxation, it can improve motivation and can produce a feeling of readiness to work. Using vanity toll free numbers can also help with encouraging an employee’s sense of identification with their company.

  • Regular Meetings

Having regular get-togethers, even just for 5 or 10 minutes, can vastly improve employee development. Again, it encourages unity within your team, especially in a distributed workforce situation. These quick round-ups are called ‘standup meetings’.

But how to run a daily standup?

  1. Use screen-sharing software.
  2. Make it simple, short, and to the point.
  3. Set out the goals for the day and ensure everyone knows what they’re doing. 
  4. Listen to any concerns or queries.
  5. Add an element of fun! If it’s someone’s birthday or it’s a national holiday, there are a ton of virtual celebration ideas you can use to make these meetings something everyone will look forward to.

Working Smarter

“Work smarter, not harder.” That’s the common phrase, and it’s one that is extremely relevant to today’s style of working. With your workforce spread out across the country or even internationally, it’s important to find ways around common problems that appear as a result of workforce distribution.

  • Automate What You Can

This procedure essentially means that anything that can be done automatically, should be. Using elements such as IA intelligence can help to ease the transition from in-person to online working. Not only this, but it alleviates the pressure on employees as well, which can contribute to their sense of development.

  • Process Mapping

This is a chronically underutilized practice and one that can save huge amounts of time, labor, and money for a business. But what is process mapping? Essentially, it consists of listing the vital processes of your business, i.e, the core components of your company that it can’t run properly without.

This not only makes your employees’ goals more clearly set out but also streamlines the process of achieving objectives for your business. Mapping the essential processes cuts down on irrelevant work, making your business more efficient and allowing room for employee development in the process.

Summary

So, there you have it. 

Employee development is an ongoing process, especially in uncertain times such as these.

The way businesses operate is constantly in a state of change and evolution, and if you don’t keep up with the developments, you could put your staff’s mindset and motivation at risk. 

A distributed workforce is hard to cope with at times, but it doesn’t mean you need to compromise on all aspects of your business. However, it’s easy to fall into the trap of forgetting that your employees are humans, not screens. The tips outlined in this post should help you remember that there’s a person behind every camera, and by knowing this you’ll already be on the way to facilitating as much employee development as possible.

By providing individualized training, focusing as much as you can on team building, and by using your expansive knowledge to combine human and automated work, you can be sure that these perilous times won’t get the best of you or your company. Good luck!

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