Developers are a unique group of employees, with some of the most demanding jobs in the office. Not to mention, these highly-skilled workers are always looking for ways to improve their skills to keep up with current trends and advance their careers.
According to DevelopIntelligence’s 2017 DI Developer Survey, developers spend seven hours per week of their own time learning new skills necessary to do their jobs. What’s more, over 55 percent of respondents seek training in order to meet current or upcoming needs, or to advance their careers, according to the survey.
This presents you with an opportunity to provide learning in-house, so developers don’t have to use their own time and money to expand their skillset. What may be challenging, however, is finding a way to effectively deploy this training to remote developers.
The good news is — it’s not impossible. Use the following tips to bring training to your remote employees as a perk that may boost their loyalty and value to the company.
1. Use an eLearning Platform
Distance can make it hard to keep up with the needs of your remote employees during training—if they’re in a different time zone, and want to move on to something new—but when you’re sleeping—they’re stuck with where they’re at.
An eLearning platform helps you avoid this issue, allowing remote developers to do various courses, exercises or readings anytime, anywhere. In many cases, they’ll also receive real-time insights, assessments and feedback, meaning there’s one less thing on your plate.
What’s more, many eLearning platforms allow organizations to use simulations where tasks are completed in “life-like” situations. Don’t forget to build rewards and milestones into the process as well, all of which ensures that your remote employees are being engaged the same as in-house employees.
2. Implement Video Training
According to the same Develop Intelligence survey, 22 percent of senior developers and 21 percent of junior developers said that video is one of the most preferred methods of training.
For remote employees, this can lead to higher levels of retention because they can access and watch on-demand training modules at their own pace, on their own time. It’s also engaging and can include custom videos from team members, improving overall culture and connectedness among the development team.
3. Offer Peer-to-Peer Coaching
Sometimes, the best learning happens when two employees chat on their way to the coffee machine. “While formal training programs are an essential part of onboarding and development, informal learning can comprise up to 75 percent of total learning, often taking the form of casual interactions among colleagues who pass along tips for handling specific challenges,” says Tricia Sciortino, with TLNT.
Remote employees don’t have this luxury; bringing conversation via peer-to-peer training into the mix can be a valuable addition to your remote training program. To facilitate this, Sciortino suggests, “Create private groups where employees can seek out new information, share best practices, and share the kinds of conversations and encouragement that would typically happen in the hallway and around the break room.”
You can do this using a tool like Hubgets for online collaboration, or create private groups using Telegram. Developers can use these tools to communicate freely, share ideas, ask questions, and more.
4. Instructor Led Training
Instructor led training can make the experience feel more personal for remote employees. Instead of logging onto a training platform or asking questions via chat, they can have an in-person learning experience, giving them a chance to ask real-time questions, get hands-on and more.
While this instructor led training can be costly and time consuming, especially when you’re hiring someone from far away, it’s proven to be effective. The same survey found that 90 percent of respondents said instructor-led training helped them do their job better. The key: do your research to make sure the instructor and their philosophy fits with that of your organization.
Deploy Training to Remote Developers
Help your developers reach the next level with these tips and ideas. They’ll learn new skills and feel empowered to bring greater value to the company, whether you use instructor-led training or connect employees for peer-to-peer learning. Regardless of the method, your developers want this training; provide it to them and you’ll boost both their loyalty and significance to the organization.