Business Support  

How to train and retain remote workers

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

Getting the format right

Is everything to be done over the internet - as so much of our lives has been the past few months? Gill White, learning and assessment director at the Chartered Insurance Institute, says this might sound like the answer, but it is not.

She comments: "A mistake that many organisations make is they simply try and deliver the classroom over the web. This has proven not to be effective, however."

Ms White explains that for the brain to engage properly, four factors need to be in play. These are those set out by David Rock of the Neuroleadership Institute, whose theory is known as the AGES model - attention, generation, emotion and spacing. 

She says: "The attendee needs to be attracted to the environment and to the subject they are learning, so they give it their full attention. 

"This means, for a virtual world, you need to create an exciting platform that is interactive and contains different elements, such as animation, cartoons, videos, etc."

But the 'emotional engagement' aspect is where many fall down, which means "dry, text-heavy e-learning fails to generate true learning", Ms White says. Therefore, being able to talk to colleagues and the training will "anchor" the learning process.

And this means trainers need to develop a virtual learning space, talking more slowly, engaging more with surveys, quizzes and break-out sessions.

Ms White adds: "Put all these things together and you'll have delighted, engaged customers who can learn effectively and apply the learning immediately."

Peer support

This reflects what the Human Givens Institute has described as the nine emotional needs that affect us psychologically; if one or more of these states are not met or have been stripped from us, then human beings are likely to struggle mentally and emotionally. 

When you consider these nine needs, and how Covid-19 has disrupted many of them, it is easy to see how the pandemic can affect staff members significantly. According to the Human Givens Institute, the nine needs are:

  • Security — safe territory and an environment which allows us to develop fully
  • Attention (to give and receive it) — a form of nutrition
  • Sense of autonomy and control — having volition to make responsible choices
  • Emotional intimacy — to know that at least one other person accepts us totally for who we are, warts and all
  • Feeling part of a wider community
  • Privacy — opportunity to reflect and consolidate experience
  • Sense of status within social groupings
  • Sense of competence and achievement
  • Meaning and purpose — which come from being stretched in what we do and think.

So to help new members of staff feel they have a sense of status, a sense of achievement, meaning and purpose, as well as forging relationships with other team members, the need for training that goes beyond a simple webinar is clear. 

The personal touch matters, remote or not. Foster Denovo's Ms Bogdanovski explains. This is why new advisers each have a business quality executive assigned to each one, to help them "through the suitability aspects of their new cases, while ensuring they are comfortable with, and working within, Foster Denovo's policies and procedures.