Agility is one of the most important keys to a business’s survival, and you cannot have an agile business without employees who are willing and able to adapt, develop, and grow their careers. It’s easy enough for HR to help employees develop their careers when they’re office-based. But what happens when it comes to remote workers?
As many businesses that have recently included remote workers among their workforce have discovered, it’s not always easy to develop relationships with employees and find out where and how they’d like to grow professionally. It can also be difficult to remain invested in employees who you don’t see in person regularly.
Keep reading if you’re wondering how HR can help employees grow their careers while working from home. We take a closer look at various ways that HR departments can offer career development opportunities to employees who work remotely.
Career Development Is Essential
Some managers and HR departments struggle to see the importance of helping employees to develop their careers. Their approach is one of wanting to keep employees they hired to fill specific roles in those roles.
Unfortunately, they have either forgotten or not realized that most people want to be challenged in their professional lives—and, along with that, they want to be mentored for skills development and growth in their careers. If your remote workers are not given opportunities to grow professionally, they will start feeling bored, stagnant, and discontented. If this happens, there’s a good chance they will start looking for another job elsewhere.
A high and expensive turnover rate isn’t the only negative effect of a lack of training in the workplace. Other potential negative effects include low production rates, higher business expenses, ineffective management, and struggles with customer retention.
By helping remote employees to grow their careers, HR departments can improve employee and customer retention, boost productivity, and support more effective business management. Investing in those workers can boost the value of the business too.
For example, if your business hires a graphic designer who works from home and you keep them in that position with no possibility of upskilling, they will remain a graphic designer and do what they always do, day after day. The only value they will add to your business is to fulfil the role that they were hired for; something that will eventually begin to frustrate them.
However, if you offer them the chance to take a UX certification course, they can help you grow the value of your business. They can then offer important insights and opinions on website layouts that can increase customer engagement and conversion, ultimately boosting your bottom line. Other potential positive effects of remote worker career development include enhanced productivity, burnout prevention, and culture retention.
What HR Can Do To Support Remote Worker Career Development
Working remotely is a relatively new experience for many businesses and employees, so it’s understandable if your HR department is struggling to support remote worker career development. It’s also understandable if your remote workers aren’t sure how to develop their skills.
Here are a few ideas on how HR can help employees grow their careers while working from home.
- Engage Employees and Plan a Development Path
Engage your remote workers to find out how they would like to develop their skills and grow their careers. When you have an idea of what they want, you can help them plan a development path that includes training courses, certifications, and other methods. Keep those plans on file so you can assess your remote employees’ progress from time to time.
- Strengthen Your Remote Company Culture
On-site learning is not a prerequisite for professional development. If your HR department focuses on that approach only, the department is not supporting your business’ agility and remote working culture. Use technology such as video chats and meetings, as well as teleconferencing, to encourage remote worker skills development.
- Offer Learning Opportunities Online
Use reputable online learning platforms like Udemy and Skillshare to offer digital learning opportunities to employees who work from home. Choose a platform that offers individualized learning plans that include gamification and incentivisation for enhanced employee engagement. Your HR department should adopt a creative approach to internal training.
A few ideas for that include cross-departmental training sessions, bridging courses, and lunch-and-learns. Offering online learning opportunities in real time lets your remote employees engage with the facilitator and ask questions.
- Set Up a Mentoring Program
Engage your remote employees and find out which of them would like to be mentored to develop their leadership skills. Next, find out which of your senior employees would be interested in mentoring those workers. Link up those individuals and encourage them to meet regularly over several months. Incorporate formalized feedback into this program.
- Create Opportunities For Networking
If possible, pay for your remote employees to attend on-site conferences for knowledge-building, skills development, and networking opportunities. Conferences are an excellent space in which to meet others within the relevant industry, and they can be sources of motivation for remote workers who might feel as though they are stagnating. Investing in your remote workers this way demonstrates that your business is invested in their future, which has the benefit of increasing employee loyalty.
- Reinforce a Company Learning Culture
Find different ways to reinforce a company learning culture. Gather learning resources in a single place that remote workers can access easily, invite remote workers to share their learning and development accomplishments with the rest of the team, and create time for your remote workers to learn on the job. The HR department should also encourage employees who work from home to find other learning opportunities.
- Give and Receive Feedback
Instil a company culture of feedback that is instant and relevant. Provide your remote workers with instant feedback in one-on-one meetings, through remote shadowing sessions, or via your team’s task management platform. Encourage an open-door policy and reinforce that by regularly asking your remote team for feedback to find out what’s working and where there is room for improvement.
By supporting your remote workers in growing their careers you’re ensuring your business stays engaged and continues to evolve. This, in turn, gives your business a much better chance of thriving and enjoying higher staff retention rates.