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Since the COVID-19 outbreak hit the U.S., millions of Americans have suddenly found themselves completing all facets of work from their computer, from presentations to happy hours.

In fact, according to a Pew Research Center study, about seven-in-ten workers who say their jobs can mostly be done from home are teleworking all or most of the time, but only 20% of those workers telecommuted before the outbreak.

But with so much on workers’ plates and computer work at an all-time high, how do you and your employees stay engaged in digital training? 

Learn why it’s so important to keep your team’s attention and how you can more effectively train employees online.

Why it’s important for employees to be excited about online training

Training may not be the most exciting part of any job, but it’s one of the most important. Not only does it show employees what’s expected of them, but it also helps your business grow as new products, practices and staff become part of the company.

If you make a conscious effort to put on fun and collaborative trainings, your employees can learn faster and have the skills to contribute your business’s profitability.

What are common obstacles for digital trainings?

The COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent remote work environments pushed the need for digital means of communication to incredible levels. Millions of workers suddenly shifting to telecommuting revealed the difficulties that come with digital training, including:

  • Technical difficulties
  • Lack of resources
  • Lack of time in the workday
  • Little human connection
  • Employees feeling like the trainings aren’t a good use of time

For most employees who are already dealing with any or all of these problems, the last thing they need is a training that doesn’t keep their attention.

How to motivate your employees to complete online training

So, how do you engage your employees during digital training? This will require a little creativity, but with some thought, digital training can become a helpful tool instead of just a task.

Make digital trainings interactive

A new lack of social interaction has had a detrimental effect on many Americans’ mental health.

To help beat this, create a training that replicates emotional interaction as much as possible. Put together something that encourages employees to participate, not just sit and listen. There are different ways to do that, including:

  • Asking employees questions
  • Forming breakout groups
  • Making up games they can play
  • Awarding prizes to winners

Encourage collaboration

Harvard Business Review found that peer-to-peer learning is uniquely suited to the way we learn. “People gain new skills best in any situation that includes all four stages of what we call the ‘Learning Loop’: gain knowledge; practice by applying that knowledge; get feedback; and reflect on what has been learned. Peer-to-peer learning encompasses all of these.”

Take advantage of video conference features such as Zoom’s Breakout Rooms so employees can spend time collaborating in smaller groups.

Focus on what employees need

Whether it’s about onboarding or continuing education, make sure the digital training is beneficial to whomever is taking it. There’s no worse feeling than walking away from training, no matter how interesting, and not understanding how it was relevant to you.

Also, make sure everyone has the resources they need. Don’t schedule an interactive period and then find out that some of your team doesn’t have the right equipment or didn’t receive the materials.

Emphasize the possibility of career growth

Make it clear that attending these trainings can open new opportunities for advancement.

Employees might not see the relevance now, but when going for a promotion down the road, they can recall what they learned and talk about how they’ll use it to grow the company in the future.

Ensure trainings are convenient and accessible

Ask everyone when the best time for them is, and then schedule the training around their availability. Your employees are busy, and they never want to feel like their time isn’t valued.

Try to avoid times when people would be most inconvenienced, such as:

  • Before a holiday break where they’ll be finishing work
  • Early in the morning when some employees might have long commutes or childcare drop-off
  • At the end of the day where some employees may not be able to commit

Set expectations from the start

When you train employees online, clearly lay out your intentions and expectations from the start. Help attendees understand how the learnings will benefit them, and even spend a few moments helping them set goals. If you plan to have additional trainings, check in on their goal progress and support them in their journey.

Test and learn

Be open to feedback. Ask your employees how the training could improve to better fit your company and employee culture. Then act on the feedback for future digital trainings.

Start now

By following these steps, you can create engaging digital trainings that are both fun and educational. As always, be creative and think of new ways that your employees will enjoy the next virtual communication.

To learn more and see other resources to help you with your business, check out our Nationwide Business Solutions Center.

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The information included is designed for informational purposes only. It is not legal, tax, financial or any other sort of advice, nor is it a substitute for such advice. The information may not apply to your specific situation. We have tried to make sure the information is accurate, but it could be outdated or even inaccurate in parts. It is the reader’s responsibility to comply with any applicable local, state, or federal regulations and to make their own decisions about how to operate their business. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, its affiliates and their employees make no warranties about the information nor guarantee of results, and they assume no liability in connection with the information provided.