How to Build Strong, Unified Teams With Remote Learning Technology

Build culture with remote learning Nearly half of American workers spend at least part of their time working remotely, according to Gallup. An impressive 70% of organizations offer remote work opportunities, and employees report feeling more engaged and productive when they can choose their own workspace.

At the same time, however, establishing a cohesive culture is essential to building strong teams, remote or otherwise. But how can you design a training program that keeps everyone on the same page when you have employees working all around the city or in multiple states? 

For many companies, the answer includes implementing a remote online learning program.

How Does Remote Learning Strengthen Your Workforce?

Renee Alexander, an organizational development consultant for a large healthcare system in upstate South Carolina, works closely with all aspects of team member experience, including e-learning. She believes that connection to the organization’s purpose and mission is essential to building unified teams that work well together.

“Wherever there is a strong mission, value, and purpose statement, employees will be on board with what the organization is trying to accomplish,” said Renee. 

And while that kind of cultural unity starts at the ground level with interpersonal team dynamics and effective leadership, you can also promote cultural initiatives through strategic remote learning opportunities that bring everyone together.

But how exactly can you use remote learning to build stronger teams who all work toward the same goals? 

  • Promote a unified culture across all locations.
    Companies with operations in different cities or states often run into cultural snags because each group develops its own methodology and team dynamics. Creating online learning communities helps unify those teams by providing connection to a common purpose and mission.

  • Accelerate the learning process.
    Remote e-learning puts the pace of learning in the hands of the individual. In a classroom setting, the slowest learner tends to set the pace of the course. In an online setting, however, individuals can progress faster or slower depending on their prior knowledge of the subject and individual learning style.

  • Foster community among employees separated by distance. Online learning promotes collaboration among teams and encourages the formation of supportive communities, even when team members work in different locations. It also gives instructors a platform where they can get to know participants on a more personal level through interaction over time rather than seeing them only once or twice for a training seminar.

Ask These Questions As You Build Your Program

One of the most attractive things about online training for your remote workers is that they can log on from anywhere. With cloud-based platforms, employees aren’t tied to a desk at the worksite and they have the freedom to complete training modules any time, anywhere.

As you consider which platform is right for you, start by asking these questions: 

  • Does my current HRIS offer any e-learning tools or resources? This feature is becoming more commonplace, especially among larger HRIS providers. Kronos and Ultimate Software, for example, both offer extensive learning management resources that range from educational content libraries to virtual training with live instructors.

  • Do I need to integrate my HRIS with an external e-learning platform? If your HRIS does not include e-learning, you may be able to integrate it with an external platform such as Cornerstone. Cornerstone is a configurable platform that offers social collaboration, predictive analytics, task management, and a mobile app to keep employees up-to-date on their progress and next steps.

  • Do I need a MOOC platform? A MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) platform may be a more cost-effective option if you aren’t ready to purchase new software. Coursera, for example, offers a business platform with a wide range of courses and online certifications to sharpen the skills of your team.

  • Do I want to design my own courses or use existing content? If you need to design your own courses, investing in a more robust learning platform may be your best option. However, you may also benefit from integrating free content from a platform like LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) into your program.

  • What devices are supported? Bring Your Own Device policies can be a great move for remote e-learning programs since employees will already be comfortable interacting with their personal device. Be sure any platform you choose is versatile enough to accommodate a variety of operating systems.

Effective remote learning, especially the kind that promotes a unified culture and purpose, is not a one-and-done proposition.

“Connection and purpose isn’t something that can be accomplished in a quarterly retreat,” said Alexander. “Instead, it’s an ongoing process of continually reinforcing learning, combining knowledge, and developing best practices that meet the unique needs of the total organization.”

Technology can help you accomplish that goal by bringing team members who live or work in different places together under a common umbrella of institutional knowledge. When implemented well, it can help both new and established workers feel more connected to one another and to the mission of the organization.

And that’s the key to building a strong team culture.

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