How to Offer Training & Development for Remote Workers

HR Question:

At a time when we have so much of our workforce working remotely, we want to ensure that we’re keeping them engaged and moving our business forward. We want to offer training and development options, but we have a limited budget and we’re not sure where to start. Can you help?

HR Answer:

With the recent dramatic rise in remote workers, many organizations are grappling with how to engage and continue to develop their workforce. There are several good options- even with a small budget. To get started, you will need to determine what training and development are needed. Conducting a training needs analysis can identify gaps.  According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), a training needs analysis, “involves collecting information to determine if a training need exists and, if so, what kind of training is required to meet this need.” Through your analysis, you should seek to understand why the need exists. Sometimes, the problem may not lie in a lack of training provided, but it could shine a light on ineffectiveness in your training. Or, you might learn that a worker has indeed received training, but they haven’t put the training into practice. In that case, you may want to consider tying training completion and new skill implementation to compensation and/or performance management.

As you identify development needs, be sure that they align with organizational goals. This typically involves reviewing each employee to assess any gaps in skills and knowledge. It’s important to consider organizational goals as well as employee goals and any potential succession plans when conducting this review.

Once you have identified training needs, then you will focus on how to meet those needs. This can be accomplished in many ways, but here are suggestions for a few places to start:

  • Lunch and Learns – Is there someone on the team with the knowledge you need that can conduct a training session for the team? This can prove to have value in a number of ways. The employees needing training will gain knowledge and feel valued that your company cares enough about them and their professional development to provide the training. The employee who conducts the training gains valuable experience presenting effectively and also feels recognized for having that knowledge. Best of all, this can be conducted remotely on a web conference system like Zoom or GoToMeeting.
  • Mentoring and Shadowing – This option again leverages the existing knowledge of your current employees. It is important to set expectations for both the mentor and the mentee to obtain buy-in and establish lines of communication. For the individual being mentored or who is shadowing, this option provides very specific job and company-related training they may not get through an outside source. This is also a chance for the mentor to be seen as a leader and to further develop their coaching and communication skills. Encouraging the mentor/mentee to connect weekly using web conference tools will help build the relationship and the benefits.
  • Professional Organizations – Industry or occupation related professional organizations can be a great resource for information, resources, and training. Many organizations offer live training sessions or webinars that are often included in a membership, in addition to online resources and newsletters/publications. Many organizations are offering a mix of live webinars and online programs.
  • E-Learning – E-learning can be another cost-effective training option. E-learning can be a great tool because the employee can often complete it at their own convenience. Most virtual platforms offer cell phone applications that allow the employee to complete training from all locations.
  • On-the-job Training – Look for organic opportunities within the organization to use a project as a learning opportunity for employees. Again, you can leverage email, text, phone calls, and web conference tools.
  • Cross Training – Cross training has numerous benefits for the organization. Individuals seeking professional development are gaining knowledge. Those who serve as trainers are recognized for their knowledge on the team. Also, employees feel valued that the company is willing to invest in them.  On an organizational level, having employees cross-trained provides value and flexibility based on workload and needs.

For additional low-cost training and development options, check out this Forbes article. Keep in mind as you research and explore training options, it is always essential to consider the return on investment. While it may seem that there are minimal out of pocket expenses, there is still the investment of your employees’ time.

In today’s workforce, the opportunity to learn is essential to maintaining and retaining an engaged workforce. With a little creativity and a close look at the knowledge base available, any size company can provide effective and remote professional development.


Whether you are looking for e-learning opportunities or live training provided in-person and/or virtually, strategic HR inc. can help!  We offer e-learning and online training helping you to create a safe and respectful workplace. In addition, we provide customized training to support and develop supervisors/managers, organizational culture, and emerging issues in the workplace – each designed to meet your desired goals and outcomes. If you would like more information, please contact us for customized training.