After a year of profound change in our professional landscape, many organizations are still adjusting to new operating procedures. Thankfully, the new year is an opportune time to identify the lessons we’ve learned during the previous year and, in this case, evaluate how we can more effectively support a remote workforce.

Remote employees and employers reap many benefits, such as significantly lowered overhead and travel expenses and improved employee satisfaction and productivity. However, managing remote employees and ensuring they’re engaged, motivated and satisfied in their work life can be challenging. Lack of motivation and structure, time management or communication difficulties, and loneliness and boredom can impact employee performance and company morale.

With a solid learning and development (L&D) program in place that supports employee growth and evolution, it’s possible to create learning opportunities that better engage, connect and empower remote employees for the long term.

Your L&D Program: Why Is It Important for a Remote Workforce?

Whether an organization recently shifted to a partial or fully remote business model or has been conducting business virtually from the start, L&D is a key business function that’s crucial for meeting and supporting evolving employee needs in a remote environment.

More than just initial employee onboarding, continuous L&D is valuable for professionals in every industry. Many managers are reluctant to prioritize L&D, fearing it will take time away from other projects and responsibilities. However, the impact and benefits that professional development produces for employees and the bottom line far outweighs the costs. Here are a few ways digital L&D is transforming remote workforce management.

Connecting Teams

It can be challenging to find ways to connect teams and create collaborative experiences at a distance. Remote employees often miss out on the interactions that occur within a shared workspace, even if they’re just passing conversations or friendly greetings.

Remote L&D can present opportunities for collaboration and interaction among learners across different roles and departments. With company-wide L&D initiatives in place, different departments can conduct training sessions and educational “job shadowing” experiences to help employees better understand roles across the business. Ultimately, these programs help establish and nurture common goals.

Streamlining Company Communications

Ensuring learners are aware of new policies, practices, and training programs or certifications can be challenging. Emails are often lost in the shuffle, and it’s easy to forget about “housekeeping” items among other responsibilities.

A learning platform can provide a centralized hub for learners to access all resources and announcements. With functionalities for each employee to quickly check or confirm he or she has read announcements or completed recent training courses, forums to ask questions and provide feedback, and web-conferencing capabilities for live discussion, employees have an organized and streamlined place for communications, resources and support. Additionally, most learning platforms have the ability to push email notifications and reminders to keep important announcements and training programs top of mind.

Building Company Culture

Besides increasing learner engagement and ensuring an easily accessible solution for information and resources, a successful digital learning program serves as a key component in fostering company culture in a remote workforce.

When managers approach learning and development as an ongoing company initiative rather than just initial or sporadic training, it can ensure that employees are continuously supported and able to connect with each other for resources and information. Engaging learning content and easy access to company resources, updates and other support items encourage learners to immerse themselves within their role and continuously reach new levels of professional growth.

This continuous learning culture builds happier, more productive and successful remote professionals and creates a clear vision of the organization’s mission.

Revolutionizing Professional Development

When employees become stagnant, company growth and progress often follow suit. Conversely, an engaged, empowered and knowledgeable team that continues to innovate can withstand evolving industry changes and needs. Learning can be more convenient, interactive and impactful through the modernized tools that continue to emerge within the education technology industry, such as mobile learning applications, learning experience design (LXD) and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered technology and programs, a variety of media and microcontent, and much more.

By incorporating a flexible, scalable and customized digital learning solution, you can continue to adapt to employee needs, creating a sustainable and future-proof training program. Digital L&D is transforming remote workforce management by enabling engaging initiatives that connect learners and empower them to keep the organization moving on the right path — to sustained performance and success.