Training PMs Virtually
What is the most frequent excuse given for NOT training your project managers (PMs) virtually? Here are a few:
“Upskilling in turbulent times is too difficult. We’re too busy trying to stay afloat. We just don’t have the technology. We have to undertake reductions in force, so we really don’t know right now who should be trained.”
We will concede that if your organization hasn’t kept up with instructional technology, when turbulence hits, it may seem too difficult. Advancements in digital technology may be outpacing your ability to convert existing training programs to new platforms or your ability to design for the virtual world.
No matter if your organization is keeping up, or seems behind the digital curve, here are some tips for training project managers when face-to-face training is not feasible.
Use existing technology. Most organizations have some type of remote meeting technology. Find a tech savvy instructional designer and let them use some creativity to repurpose meeting technology for delivery of awareness and knowledge transfer training. Skill-building training may be difficult, unless the trainer/instructor can use video to observe a learner demonstrate the new skill. Alternatively, skills can be developed if the trainer can examine a deliverable the learner produces. Many polls and studies reveal that lack of training is a major reason for employee flight. Show your PMs you care about keeping them up to date and are willing to invest, even though virtual training may have to start out on a shoestring budget.
Invest in instructional technology. Upskilling your PMs is a bona fide way to improve project performance. Don’t let your PMs repeat the same mistakes on their projects because there’s nothing going on to advance their careers. Try some of these suggestions: 1) If you have a learning management system, seek out existing courses or catalogues that you can purchase and “push” to your PMs. 2) Consider using virtual reality as a training delivery mechanism. Virtual reality hardware is much more affordable and transportable these days. 3) Leverage features on existing platforms such as chat, virtual labs, screen sharing. 4) Consider using open source software to deliver training remotely. Investment can be minimal and incremental. If you don’t already have one, there’s no need to roll out an upscale, enterprise-wide technology suite.
Leverage micro learning. Designing and developing a 5 to 7-minute mini tutorial is low effort and high return. PMs can access a relevant lesson on demand that is focused on one topic only, and available though a good search engine. For awareness training (you want the PMs to recall a few key concepts) podcasts are a good way to engage learners. Gather up a decent microphone and user-friendly recording hardware with audio editing software. Install them in a small room with some sound-proofing, add a knowledgeable expert willing to share, and you have a recipe for fast development of PM training. Be creative with the scope and scale of virtual training.
We’re not recommending you interrupt what your business needs to be doing to weather turbulent times, but GBMC is suggesting that training your PMs virtually can be a modest investment with a good return. You will see benefits in employee retention and satisfaction. Now, more than ever, employees need to know you value their skills and career advancement.
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