Business Support  

How to train and retain remote workers

This article is part of
Guide to hiring in a post-Covid world

How to train and retain remote workers

Remote working has become part and parcel of our 2020 lockdown life, but as the economy opens up, so must business.

Even though the economy has slumped to its lowest level in living memory, contracting more than 20 per cent quarter-on-quarter, this does not mean Britain has shut up shop completely; quite the opposite.

To survive and to thrive, businesses are open and looking for ways to compete and, even in an economic downturn, competing often means getting the right people in place to drive that much-needed growth.

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And that means being prepared to hire, train, retain and engage employees - even if they are not returning to an office environment this year. 

There are many businesses who have hired during the lockdown - and some members of the team may have never met their new colleagues in person. 

So how can companies put structures and training schedules in place to keep employees feeling engaged and part of a team, given the usual ways have to be adapted for a remote working environment?

St James's Place is one of the companies which have continued to hire during the first half of 2020 and according to Shaun Godfrey, head of academy marketing and engagement, much of the blended format of training St James's Place Academy had been doing before was "fast tracked" to meet the needs of a lockdown world.

He says: "Covid-19 prompted many businesses to integrate technology to upscale and accelerate learning and continue to deliver training sessions.

"The Academy had already been delivering training on a blended basis before Covid-19, so we decided to fast track this style of learning and quickly invested in commercial Zoom and GoToWebinar licences, to enable us to upscale our training."

He says one upside of the crisis was that people had more time to dedicate to their own training and development, so the virtual sessions and webinars had been "well attended". 

Moreover the training was not just on the technical aspects of the job but also on soft skills and transferrable skills.

Mr Godfrey explains: "St James's Place Academy has run a series of nearly 45 webinars on a range of subjects from networking to develop clients in a virtual world, to running a virtual meeting successfully."

Similarly, Foster Denovo's bespoke training academy for junior advisers took the training tools online to help all new advisers, regardless of their experience or level. 

Helen Bogdanovski, head of talent acquisition for Foster Denovo, says: "As we entered the market downturn, we have continued to use training tools to ensure all new advisers are equipped adequately to continue giving a positive service in the current environment."

Foster Denovo's training programme, called Quantum Leap, has been running twice a week virtually; the company also started a forum for its mortgage advisers to discuss the fast-paced movements in the market.