A survey conducted by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) revealed that 76% of employees want to stay with a company that offers continuous learning and development opportunities.
If you want to increase employee loyalty, particularly as the leader of a remote team with employees worldwide, start focusing on helping them learn and expand their skills.
In this post, we’ll explore the importance of professional development for remote employees and provide some strategies you can use to help your team members grow.
Why professional development matters
When you invest in your employees — specifically their learning and growth — they’ll invest in you in the form of increased loyalty and better performance. If you need more reasons to offer your employees remote learning and development opportunities, here are some other benefits to consider:
Attract better talent
If you increase employee loyalty by offering more training opportunities, you won’t have to worry as much about finding new people to join your team. At the same time, when you do need to hire a new employee, you’ll find that it’s easier to attract top-tier talent if your company is known for supporting and promoting employee development.
When asked about their priorities as job seekers, 86% of people said that job training is important to them. Eighty percent of millennials, specifically, also said that they saw personal growth within a company as the most critical aspect of its culture.
Increase employee engagement
Improving and maintaining employee engagement can be difficult when running a remote team. However, one of the best ways to keep your employees engaged and motivated is to provide opportunities to learn and develop new skills.
The results of this report show that organizations with a strong learning culture have 30-50% higher engagement rates. These companies are also 92% more likely to create new products and processes and are 52% more productive.
Keep up with industry trends
It doesn’t matter what kind of remote team you’re leading. It will be stronger if employees have regular opportunities to learn about trending topics and develop new skills that help them provide clients or customers with better service.
It’s unfair to expect your employees to stay in the loop without giving them time to learn and research. If you want to keep up with industry trends and gain a competitive advantage, ensure you give your team time and resources for professional development.
7 remote professional development strategies
When managing virtual teams, finding effective ways to support ongoing learning and development can be tricky — even if you understand its value. Here are seven specific strategies you can implement to start investing in your employees:
1. Speak to your employees directly
How do you know if you’re offering employees the right kind of learning and development opportunities? Speak to them directly.
Arrange a video meeting with your team, or organize one-on-one meetings with individual employees and ask them what training they’d like to receive. Consulting employees helps you ensure you offer the most suitable learning materials and give them the tools they need to succeed.
2. Look for virtual learning resources
If you have a global team, it’s not possible (or at least, it’s very difficult) to bring everyone together at the same time to attend a conference or seminar.
Virtual learning resources like online courses and webinars are excellent alternatives. Your employees can access these tools anywhere and at any time, making it easier to learn at their own pace and ensuring they retain the information delivered.
3. Offer financial assistance
Don’t make your employees foot the bill for training that will make them better at their jobs (and ultimately benefit your company).
Offer financial assistance, such as stipends or reimbursement, to help employees invest in courses and learning materials that align with their interests and goals. For example, pay for an employee to attend a conference in their city or reimburse them if they buy and complete an online course to develop a new skill.
4. Help employees set specific goals
Proper goal-setting can help your employees get more out of their professional development. It also allows you to track progress and measure the benefits of investing in learning opportunities.
Encourage employees to set specific goals related to developing a new skill, gaining a certification, etc. Make sure they set deadlines to complete these goals, too.
5. Create a mentorship program
Mentorship is a fantastic way to build employee connections and strengthen your team. Even if your employees don’t work in the same office, they can still act as mentors to each other.
If you know that one employee has a specific skill that another employee wants to develop, pair them up and give them time to work together regularly via chat, phone or video conference.
6. Check in regularly
Regular check-ins help you keep an eye on how well your employees are progressing toward their goals. They also keep your employees motivated and push them to stick with their training.
Schedule check-ins every month or so to talk to your employees about their goals, rework them if necessary, and offer support as needed.
7. Celebrate achievements
When your employees achieve their professional development goals or even make meaningful progress toward them (such as getting halfway through a course), celebrate them.
Give them a shout-out in the employee newsletter or group chat. You could even offer a reward, like a gift card, to show your support.
Celebrations show appreciation and motivate other employees to continue prioritizing their professional growth.
Encourage professional development in your remote team
If you invest in your employees by providing regular professional development opportunities, you’ll see increased loyalty, better recruitment efforts, more engagement and an advantage over your competitors. Use the strategies above to create a training plan that works for you and your remote team.
Here at Outstaffer, we make it simple and easy to find, hire, onboard and manage employees around the world in just a couple of clicks. Plus, our #WorkFromAnywhere platform helps your remote team thrive with solutions like Managed Devices, Real-Time Employee Monitoring, VR Workplaces and more.