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Online, remote training is still possible

Posted onPosted on 1st Apr

All the signs are there that remote working is here to stay. Even companies that have said that they want staff back in the office seem to be prepared to support flexible/hybrid working. For remote working to work full-time, companies have to be able to do everything they can do with an office.

That includes staff training, an area of learning that may have proved difficult for some companies that require a certain set of skills or certification. However, all is not lost as Peter Watson, director of Watson & Watson Health and Safety Consultants, explains how online, remote training is still possible, no matter the industry.

Run online training

Appropriately enough, it looks increasingly like online training is going to be the staple of the new remote-working world, for health and safety and beyond. This makes sense for all kinds of reasons. Cost-effectiveness and convenience are possibly the two most obvious ones. Visibility is another significant benefit. In fact, it’s vital for any compliance-related training.

In practical terms, training is likely to be divided into four broad types. These are induction training, job-specific training, non-job-specific training and compliance training. All of these can often be delivered remotely. You may, however, need to take a slightly different approach to each category.


Induction training

Induction training essentially makes sure people know what they need to know to be safe and effective. Many companies could probably deliver a lot of it through pre-recorded, self-service modules. This could actually be a lot more engaging than having the same presenters go through the same presentations again and again and again.

This could be supplemented with videoconferencing for content that changes regularly, plus “meet and greet” sessions.


Job-specific training

Similar comments apply here. Using screen-sharing on video calls is probably going to work more effectively that having even one person looking over another’s shoulder. It certainly beats having small groups trying to see what’s happening on even a decent-sized monitor.


Non-job-specific training

This is a really wide field, but it can probably be fairly divided into three main categories. These are hard-skills, soft-skills and business awareness. Depending on your industry sector, there may be a case for teaching hard skills in a real-world environment. That said, online training can still be very useful for refreshing your employees’ knowledge.

Soft-skills and business awareness can often be taught very effectively online. In fact, there’s a strong argument that soft-skills training should probably be increasingly taught online because that’s where people are going to need to function.


Compliance training

Compliance training is essentially a variation of either job-specific training or non-job-specific training. It does, however, deserve its own niche since it often has major implications for keeping businesses on the right side of both the law and their insurers.

For this reason, there may be a case for contracting-out compliance training to vendors who specialize in the area. They will make sure their training covers all the relevant points. There is a very strong case for delivering it online as this allows for progress to be accurately recorded. In other words, it makes sure nobody slips through the cracks.


If possible, send people to real-world training providers

Sending employees to off-site courses has long been a standard business practice. There can still be a case for doing so. Often, however, the objective business case only applies in very niche situations. For example, if companies need to show that their employees are competent swimmers then they need access to a real-world swimming pool.

For the most part, much of the value of these courses is the networking opportunities. These can, of course, be genuinely valuable. Increasingly, however, they can be obtained at a much lower cost through virtual offsite courses. The experience might not be quite as intense. The overall value-for-money, however, is much better.