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4 considerations to make when training a virtual team

Layla Fenston
October 25, 2016

Training a virtual team can be tough. When you can’t get everyone together in the same room, there are always going to be difficulties, and this problem worsens when you have team members in different time zones or who speak different languages. With these tips, however, you can make it a success even with these barriers.

1. Ensure compatibility

When your team members are working from home, they may be using all kinds of different devices from different brands. Therefore, never use an app or software which requires a certain operating system or device, as it may not be possible for all of your staff to use it fully. Make sure that everything can be used across different makes and models, and double check with each of your team members that they can access everything properly. Don’t centre your training around one device, either, give instructions based on whatever device the person in question is using. This will help the training to go more smoothly.

2. Choose multilingual software

Make sure that your software can be accessed in the languages of your team. It’s a good idea to look at other languages too in case of future hires. Be sure to include tutorials in their own language. If you can’t source these, then try to arrange for a representative of the software manufacturers to come on board during the training. This will really help to ensure that they understand everything perfectly.

If you really can’t manage it to have the training in their own language, it’s important to double check everything is understood and to give them a little extra time for comprehension.

3. Ask for feedback

During and after the training, make sure you ask for feedback from your employees. You can’t be there with them to assess how well the training has really gone, so you need to rely on their responses and their reactions. You can make sure to test them with a sample assignment after their training if they report that they understand everything. Continue the training for as long as is necessary, since you cannot easily measure their abilities from a distance without putting them into real action situations.

4. Be aware of differences

Try to be aware during the training that not everyone will see things the same way. Cultural differences are a huge issue, but there are also individual differences in the way we work and the way we learn. Bear this in mind and try to allow some flexibility which makes it easier for everyone to be trained successfully.

You should do some study into the different cultures of your team members to help with this. Is there a term or saying that they won’t understand? Or that they would find offensive? Don’t rely on stereotypes, and make it clear that you want your team to talk openly and honestly with you. If they struggle with something, they should be able to come to you and get it resolved, especially during something as important as training.

While you seek to train a potentially global team, there are many tools at your disposal. Whether you send training files over the internet, use screen sharing to remotely access their computer, or video call them to get the main message across, it’s important to do so mindfully. Keep the above tips in your head while setting up your training to get the best possible results.

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Layla Fenston
Layla Fenston writes for eVoice Australia, which provides virtual telecommunications solutions in Australia. She is passionate about helping others achieve success in their careers and regularly writes about small business and entrepreneurship.
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