The rise of the virtual team
Your graphic designer is in Israel, your coder is in Russia, your customer support team is in Costa Rica, your sales team is in Utah, and you are in Toronto. The internet has obviously paved the way for a new world which does not require bricks and mortar, or for you to even have been face to face with your team members, be they employees or contractors.
Although the barrier to doing business globally is quickly falling, the challenge of training a global team is unique, and one that ProProfs.com CEO, Sameer Bhatia is familiar with. Bhatia says that managers who understand the potential pitfalls can avoid making mistakes when working with geographically dispersed groups.
These seven tips from Bhatia can help ensure your global virtual team training program runs smoothly – some are common sense, but hopefully you will read this and take away at least one action you can take back to your company and improve your virtual team efforts, or begin them if you have been waiting for that push to get started.
1. Ensure Cross-Device, Operating System and Browser Compliance
Your global employees will likely use different devices, operating systems and browsers to access your learning content. Devices can include cellphones, tablets, laptops or desktops – all with different screen sizes and running various operating systems, such as those powered by Windows, Apple, Android or Blackberry.
Your team will probably also use different browsers, including Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari. Ensuring compliance across all these devices, systems and browsers is not an easy task; make sure your learning management solution works in all operating environments.
2. Use Training Software that Supports Multiple Languages
With a global workforce spread across many different countries, you may be required to provide your training content in multiple languages and translate existing courses. Ensure that you use training software that supports this requirement.
3. Give and Get Immediate and Detailed Feedback on Training
Before, during and after your training, you’ll want to solicit feedback from your team. Asking questions, doing surveys and getting individual team member’s thoughts about the training materials will help you to revise and improve your training program. Feedback from training is an essential element for continual improvement of your global team. Make sure your online training system integrates surveys and feedback with the content you produce.
4. Be Mindful of Time Differences
Remember that if you have team members in China, Brazil, Uruguay, Germany and Kenya, for example, you’ll have to work across multiple time zones. Consider using asynchronous training – training that can be accessed 24/7/365 by your team, on their schedule, and delivered through a content management system.
As trainer, keep in mind that your team is working through your content at all times, which means you’ll need to keep up with feedback, sending detailed responses promptly. Select a training tool that allows you to set up notifications and group level reporting to stay up to date.
5. Be Aware of Cultural Differences
As a global training leader, you’ll need to study the cultures of the people you are working with to be effective. Some words have different meanings in other cultures, and it’s important to avoid misunderstandings. Also make sure that your team understands the importance of cultural differences, and take steps to ensure that they can work with other people in an environment of trust and respect.
6. Make Testing an Integral Part of Your Training
Training without testing is incomplete. Remember that all training is designed to get your team to perform certain tasks in a certain way, so it’s important to make sure learners understand training goals and how you are going to measure what they learn. Include tests and quizzes to ensure learners are meeting your training objectives. If your company’s human resources department requires certifications, consider a training system that automatically issues certificates of completion if a trainee passes the final test with a minimum score.
7. Understand Organizational Reporting Requirements
Depending on organizational requirements, a global workforce may require a way for many managers to view and share reports for their business units. It is essential that you understand and plan for reporting requirements to effectively manage the trainings you conduct. Ensure that you use a training tool that will meet these requirements so you can share the reports effortlessly across the organization.
Managing a global training program is a challenging task, but it can be highly rewarding when you improve organizational skill levels with an effective training strategy. With these small steps, you will go a long way toward ensuring that your team is productive, happy and ready to work together on many future projects.
About:”ProProfs (www.ProProfs.com) is the leading provider of comprehensive online tools for building, testing and applying knowledge. Through its Quiz, Survey and Online Training products,ProProfs offers trainers, marketers and educators powerfully-simple features without requiring users to download or learn expensive software. With the largest library of public quizzes and assessment tools on the Web, as well as a powerful tracking and measurement dashboard, ProProfs empowers users with a valuable feedback engine to apply knowledge, helping them increase productivity, efficiency and profitability. ProProfs is a privately-held company based in Santa Monica, Calif.”