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Keeping Employees Engaged in a 100% Virtual Training Program

On its own, managing a team remotely engenders a unique set of challenges. Add in a global pandemic bringing the world to a standstill, and those challenges are even more pronounced. By now, many employees have transitioned to a 100% virtual work environment. For team leaders, this means being adaptive to the needs of each employee without the convenience of a physical office for in-person communication. Learning and development managers who spearhead workplace training programs will see challenges without precedent. Yet, successfully leading and keeping an entire team engaged while being remote is achievable. While leadership styles vary, these time-tested tips will help managers keep their training programs working effectively.

Keep Communication Consistent
Consistent communication establishes trust and structure, all while creating a positive work environment. Many managers are skilled communicators, but when all employees are working from home, keeping communication consistent can be challenging. To combat challenges that lead to ineffective communication, be cognizant of tone and delivery. For instance, an employee who is struggling to meet predetermined goals in your training program may be extra sensitive to feedback in an email that is presumed harsh. Without the support of non-verbal communication like a smile to soften the blow of bad news, a simple email may seem like a diatribe, leading to employee strife and roadblocks to productivity later. Instead, have consistent (and empathetic) check-ins with employees via video-conferencing to keep communication consistent and clear. 

Nurture Morale then Nurture Engagement
Put yourself in your employees’ shoes for a moment. Many now have children at home they will need to tend to, spouses who may be sharing their home office space, and many are isolated. Adjusting strict policies and allowing for flexibility in work and training schedules will give your employees the time and space to thrive. Continuing with business as usual during a crisis is never easy, so consider encouraging employees to take care of their emotional and mental health. Then and only then will employees have the spirit-restoring morale to be more engaged and productive at work. So nurture morale then nurture engagement. When we get through this (and we will get through this) your employees will remember your strategy of leading from the head and from the heart.

Collaborate with Employees Who Have Work From Home Experience
Some of your employees may be a gold mine of information and can share valuable insight based years of experience working from home. Collaborate with these employees for ways to help those who are transitioning to home offices for the first time. For instance, you and your team can collaborate and offer advice on structuring the work day and setting aside designated space to study to reach learning and development goals. Sustained engagement in language learning programs happens when employees are supported from managers and peers alike. 

If you are transitioning your workplace learning program to a completely virtual environment, you may be confused about next steps.

Have questions about keeping employees engaged in your language training? Voxy can help.