Training in the Age of Hybrid Work by FT Works

Support organizations have traditionally relied on training strategies that rely heavily on face-to-face experiences. “Lunch and Learn” sessions, technical huddles, shadowing, group training sessions for new features all work best face to face. Sure, it’s possible to simply port them to a virtual environment, but engagement is much lower and results mediocre.

Here are seven strategies to make training work, and work well, in the new hybrid environment.

  1. Do less (formal) training

We tend to think of training as formal sessions led by a facilitator. That’s outmoded thinking: it’s expensive to create (and maintain!) high-quality curriculum materials, it’s difficult to gather a group while still maintaining queue coverage, and it’s hard to get active participation from virtual participants.


  • Use existing or easily-created documents such as knowledge base articles, short slide decks, and documentation. There’s no need to create custom learning materials to share straightforward factual information.
  • Use a flipped classroom Ask team members to read KB articles and others first, then gather for a Q&A session. This cuts down on training time while increasing active engagement with the materials.
  1. Chunk it out

There is no law that dictates that training must occur in hour-long (or hours-long segments. Actually, retention is better when training occurs in small increments, and short sessions are also easier to schedule. Chunking out the materials also helps identify the most critical learning points.

  1. Stop recording training sessions

No one watches recordings, and certainly not the longer ones! Instead, capture the gist of group Q&As and discussions into short written summaries. It’s a cheap and effective way to build the knowledge base.

  1. Create long-term training; improvise the short-term

Do you create bespoke training programs for new product rollouts? Stop doing it: it’s expensive and it only serves those people who can attend. Instead, create materials that can remain useful for months or years, maybe a handful of KB articles or a couple of slides to add to an onboarding program. Use them to meet the immediate need in lieu of a full, slick slide deck.

  1. Train late(r)

Many support organizations try to train everyone right at product release time. It’s a waste: knowledge fades if it’s not used actively and customers likely won’t adopt the new product for a while. Instead, train only a few team members and expand over time. A benefit of a slow rollout is that you will learn more about what’s really important to train on based on your early experience.

  1. Test for mastery

Gauging mastery is especially hard in hybrid environments, so create tests for every training session. Make them hard! It should not be solely about recall. And make them realistic, with an open-book policy and strict time limits. A great way to create training materials is to start by creating the test and then design the materials to cover what’s required to pass the test.

  1. Make training an office-day perk

Are you struggling attracting team members back to the office? A perfect perk for in-office days, on par with a good team lunch, is a great training session. In-person training led by a skilled facilitator is still the best way to learn: invest in a few memorable training experiences each year and team members will want to be in office for that.

What are you doing to make training work in a hybrid or remote work environment?

Since the COVID pandemic, support organizations have struggled with employee engagement, productivity, and retention. We believe that rethinking how and when team members get trained can turn around performance, engagement, and retention issues. In this post, we share strategies that successful organizations are using to make training successful in hybrid environment, and even contribute to back-to-office efforts.

Francoise Tourniaire is the author of The Art of Support and the founder of FT Works, a boutique consulting firm that helps technology companies improve their customer success and support organizations through targeted consulting and training solutions. You can reach her here.