Can Virtual Training Break Your Remote Work Roadblocks?
This article is part of a series on overcoming the challenges of distance work by creating learning experiences based on the science of hard learning. What you are about to read is a myth. The learning challenges by the company, AshCom, are fictional, but Katherine, AshCom’s CLO and her team share real and general learning groups at large organizations. It is our hope that you will be able to connect with the characters, their challenges and the solutions they have discovered. We invite you to read the first ebook in the series.
Looking for patterns
How would it work in a manufacturing company? “Laszlo muttered as he read another article on the growing tendency to embrace distant work in significant parts of the economy. He spends a lot of time reading, faithfully following general business journals, such as Harvard Business Review, multiple manufacturing journals, and numerous blogs on human resources. If anything catches his eye, his lessons continue in his daily session on the treadmill in his basement.
Lazlo was not looking for as much information as his brain could process and retain. He was looking for repetition. More specifically, he was looking for patterns. As a person with deep experience in human resources at companies like Boeing and Lincoln Financial Group, Laszlo knew to be cautious in embracing the latest thing, but he was also well aware of the pain of losing a significant trend or being late to respond.
Most of the time, the last thing you want is to fall to the ground. Also, the first reactions to what is common are often proven wrong. Laszlo did not lack the courage to act. It was also that he tried to grow in knowledge and understanding with a longer perspective before making changes.
Reading Laszlo was not the only source of information. His HR team includes 87 other human resource professionals at multiple plant locations around the United States. He makes a weekly update call with the whole group every Monday morning. Typically, Laszlo only asked a few managers a number of questions initially because the meeting was virtual and only lasted 13 minutes. Primarily, he wanted to know what challenges his team was facing. A growing call for remote work options was one of those challenges. And this was consistent not only with potential new recruits, but also among existing staff.
The New Remote Working Reality
Literature was telling him that Ashcom had to face the new reality of a growing remote worker. Her team members were echoing what they heard in the interview and employee review sessions.
This was not something that was trendy and could not be ignored without creating a significant threat to the survival of the company he led. It will not go away with time.
But his initial questions continue to haunt him. How does a manufacturing company allow for a growing number of remote workers depending on the people working on the machine?
Laszlo called a special meeting of its HR managers and asked them to identify all the locations of the plant that could be partially or completely remote. He gave them two weeks to complete their duties. He reads their report and concludes that it may be possible for about 20% of their employees to work from home some or all of the time.
Her next meeting was with Catherine, CLO of Ashcom. Katherine was smart and creative to lead her learning team. This team has created a real learning game for managers by focusing on increasing their financial literacy. It was a tremendous success. Managers not only enjoy the learning experience but also put into practice what they have learned. Ashcom’s financial performance improved, which was the whole point of the game.
Time for a serious talk
Laszlo and Catherine had already met once to discuss increasing the distance work. That first conversation was “What if?” Talk. The time has come for more serious discussions.
Katherine also thought a little more about their growing distant workforce after their initial conversation. She and her learning team have spent significant time talking and thinking about distance and mixed learning as a possible way forward.
Their second meeting was even more serious, a reflection of the changed situation. Lazlo started the conversation. “I have been watching the development of this remote work for over a year now. The last time we discussed this, it was an idea. An idea came from my HR managers who were talking to both current ASHCom employees and potential new recruits. “
“But has anything changed?” Asked Catherine. “Of course,” Lazlo replied. “It simply came to our notice then. But the intensity has changed. We have started the problem of holding on to our current workforce. People are leaving for more flexible work schedules. In some cases, they are paid less to be able to work from home. “
“Is that all?” Asked Catherine.
“Not a long shot,” Lazlo replied. “Everyone in the production is fighting to attract good talent, even those who do most of the office work. But our lack of flexibility is a serious problem that we need to address as soon as possible. Our competition is figuring it out, and we have to match or defeat them. We also see rising material costs that are not related to remote work but when all of these are combined, they put a very real strain on our bottom line performance. “
Laszlo paused and then continued, “Education will be a big part of the distance work initiative. From our last conversation, what did your team do? “
“Okay,” said Catherine, “because it wasn’t a top priority, we couldn’t go too far. We’ve built a framework for how to communicate with it most of the time. It’s not that we haven’t done some virtual learning before. The creation is certainly remote because it’s played by managers across the country. We’ve transformed many of our personal learning experiences into more digital formats. “
A holistic virtual learning strategy
Laszlo nodded, “Your team has done well, and I don’t want you to think the whole company doesn’t appreciate it. What I’m telling you now is to create a complete virtual learning strategy. “
Katherine smiled. “Strategy! My favorite word is one. I have a lot of questions, but the first thing that comes to mind is how do you turn a manufacturing company into a remote-friendly company?
Lajlo’s turn to laugh. “Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like BT aint for me either.
They gave me a list of locations that could be partial or even completely remote. Most of them are office workers, but there may be others. I can even say that it is possible for us to figure it out. We estimate we can find about 1,400 jobs that might be suitable. What I want you and your team to do is learn how to give them the training they need both new recruits and existing staff. ”
He continued, “Any idea where to start?” Catherine replied, “Of course. We have a method we usually adopt. We call it ‘slow to go fast.’
Lazlo laughed. “You know that doesn’t make sense, does it?”
“My team and I strongly disagree with your assessment,” Katherine said. “We always start thinking about a problem and its possible solutions without reacting. I promise you two things. First of all, it doesn’t take us long to get our heads around what it means to have a finely tuned virtual learning strategy. My second promise is that the time to think will pay off in the end. ”
“You know your team and your process,” Laszlo replied. “Do what you need to do, but think fast.”
“The message has been received,” Katherine said as she stood to leave Lazlo’s office.
Download ebook Embracing the Remote Working Challenge: How to turn learning experiences built on solid learning science to discover how you can overcome obstacles with the help of psychology learning and targeted solutions supported by proven methods. You can join the webinar to discover which scientific principles are relevant for remote workforce training.